Sunday, January 2, 2011

Portuguese New England Boiled Dinner

A traditional New England Boiled dinner calls for a smoked ham shoulder with carrots, potatoes, cabbage, onions and sometimes other root vegetables such as rutabaga, parsnips or turnip. A lot of cooks substitute a corned beef brisket for the meat, and then the dish becomes Corned Beef and Cabbage.

This is called Portuguese New England Boiled Dinner because for the meat portion, linguica, a Portuguese spicy pork sausage, is used. This is what I grew up eating and it's pure comfort food for me.

It's amazing that just cooking these ingredients in a pan of water comes out so flavorful. Served with mustard and horseradish on the side and some good bread to sop up the juice, this meal is perfect for dinner on a cold winter day.

This dish takes some timing and careful attention. After the water is brought to a boil, the heat should be reduced to achieve a gentle simmer throughout. This will assure the vegetables end up tender, but not falling apart. 

I hope you'll give this a try! Any other favorite sausage would work well with this recipe, too.


Portuguese New England Boiled Dinner
1 Bay leaf
2 whole onions
5 carrots, cut into 2-inch sections
4 whole potatoes, peeled
1# linguica (or sausage of your choice)
1/2 head cabbage, cut into 2 pieces from the root
Coarse grain mustard

Peel onions. Keep whole, but using a knife, make a slice half-way down the center of the onion.

Do not cut through root end.

Peel carrots and cut into 2-inch lengths.

Peel potatoes. Keep whole.

Cut linguica (or other sausage) into 2-inch lengths.

Cut ½ head of cabbage in half through the root.

Place a gallon of water in a stock pot. Add bay leaf and bring to a boil.

Place onions in the stock pot and reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Cook until onions are almost tender, about 20 minutes. Be sure to keep water at a gentle simmer so vegetables don’t fall apart.

Add potatoes to the stock pot and cook about 15 minutes. Add more water if necessary, to cover vegetables.

Add carrots and cabbage and cook about 10 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, put vegetables on a platter.  Transfer vegetables to individual large soup bowls and pour some brother over vegetables.

Serve with butter, horseradish and coarse-grain mustard, along with crusty bread.