A Very Merry Portuguese Christmas from 5ive Dollar Feasts- Vinha d’Alhos and Linguica

I may have mentioned that my wife (and blog photographer) Jodie Younse is hawaiian. Well, that’s true, but she’s a mix of Pacific Islander & Chinese Hawaiian, but she is half Portuguese Hawaiian. This is why no one can ever figure out what ethnicity she is.

I know you’re thinking, Portuguese Hawaiian? Huh? Yeah, apparently, many Portuguese immigrants to the United States came here via a few generations in Hawaii. Jodie’s family was no exception. Her Grandmother was the first of her family actual born on the mainland.

While we tend to think of places like France, Italy, and Spain for European culinary traditions, Portuguese culture is very rich with amazing food. Ever heard of Port wine, for instance? Hawaiian sweet bread is a good example of the influence of the Portuguese through the islands as comes directly from Portuguese sweet bread.

The Portuguese culinary culture in Jodie’s family is brought the most out around Christmas. Every year, the Younses throw a Christmas with a very elegant spread. The delicacies of this party every year are Vinha d’Alhos, Linguica, and Portuguese sweet bread.  This is a very traditional holiday meal in Portugal. Vinha d’Alhos is pronounced more like Vinga Dosh and it is pickled pork shoulder or pork butt. (I know that sounds strange, but ignore the “pickling” term, and it just means meat marinated in vinegar. It’s no different than “corned” meat really.)

To most of us, the smell of the Christmas tree and the feel of a warm fire make it feel like Christmas is eminent, but for Jodie it’s the smell of pork marinating in red wine vinegar and allspice that make her start counting the days to Christmas. The pork starts marinating (or pickling) 3 days before it is cooked up and served, and the smell permeates the entire kitchen. And now I crave it every holiday season as much as she does.

It’s taken me a while to perfect the recipe, but I finally got it exactly right.

So for your Christmas Eve party, impress the guests with this exotic and great delicacy from one of the most underrated culinary regions of the world. (It should be mentioned that the woman pictured on the right is my mother, not Jodie’s grandmother.)

Vinha d’Alhos

One 4 pound pork butt or shoulder, boneless, cut into 3 inch pieces

1 ½ cup red wine vinegar

1 cup water

6 cloves garlic, mince or pressed

1 Tablespoon allspice

2 Bay Leaves

2 teaspoons red pepper flake (or 1 teaspoon cayenne, or three dried red peppers, chopped)

2 teaspoons paprika

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and marinate in the refrigerator at least 24 hours, but preferably 2 to 3 days. Turn of mix meat once a day.
  2. Add the pork and marinade in a large pot. Add another cup of water. Steam the pork for 20 minutes.
  3. After steaming, heat a small amount of oil to a pan or skillet. Add steamed pork to the pan and brown on all sides, about 2 minutes per side for a total of 8 minutes.
  4. Serve immediately with Linguica chopped into large pieces and browned in oil and Portuguese Sweet Bread. Eat the Vinha d’Alhos with a chunk of sweet bread around it.
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2 responses to “A Very Merry Portuguese Christmas from 5ive Dollar Feasts- Vinha d’Alhos and Linguica

  1. Love this! You made memories flood my mind and heart! Thanks! And just a mention or two…. my portuguese grandmother 1st generation American was born in the fields of Hawaii 😉

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have been craving this for years and have told people about it. I finally had to call an old boyfriend to remind me of what it was called, and we laughed that it was our favorite always (he’s Norwegian/I’m Irish). Anyway, thank you for posting this. I plan on making it this holiday season!

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