Portuguese cooking does not shy away from spice – Clarion Herald

Earlier mentioned: Betty-Ann Hickey, associate director of the Office of Worship for the Archdiocese of New Orleans, displays two content articles that discuss to her Portuguese heritage: a shawl meant to be worn on pilgrimage, given to her by Cardinal Sean O’Malley and a dove-emblazoned Holy Ghost flag, a reminder of Portugal’s jubilant celebration of Pentecost. (Pics by Beth Donze, Clarion Herald)

Clarion Herald

A convenience food items manufactured by her Portuguese paternal grandmother is something Betty-Ann Hickey replicates for her possess household to this day: Slice some pink potatoes a little much more than midway as a result of and boil them right until fork tender with salt and a clove of crushed garlic. Just after the potatoes amazing, things them with lashings of Portuguese red pepper sauce to make a nutritious, satisfying snack.

“I try to remember my (late) grandmother generating these and literally just holding them in a bowl on the eating place table,” said Hickey,  a Portuguese-fluent, initially-era American born and elevated in Slide River, Massachusetts. “The closest matter I can assess them to is crab boil potatoes – the red pepper sauce permeates the potato and adds spice.”

Happy Azorean heritage

Hickey, who has served the Archdiocese of New Orleans since 2011 as the associate director of the Office of Worship, traces her roots to the Azores, a group of 9 mountainous, volcanic islands in the Atlantic Ocean, some 850 miles off the coast of Portugal.

“The Azores have a romantic relationship with Portugal a large amount like Puerto Rico has with the United States – they are section of Portugal, but they also have an  independent authorities,” Hickey defined. “They have their possess president they have their own flag – whilst they also fly the Portuguese flag – and use Portuguese dollars.”

During World War II, Hickey’s grandparents sent Hickey’s 8-yr-aged father and his siblings to The us on a banana boat. The Azores had been a refueling location for plane crossing the Atlantic.

“My grandfather considered the Azores ended up a prime target,” she relates. “If the Azores have been bombed, that would cripple the Allies’ potential to fly to Europe.”

The relatives ultimately settled in Tumble River, an recognized hub of Portuguese immigration given that the late 19th century because of to alternatives in the fishing and textile industries.

Encouraged by the outreach of St. Elizabeth of Portugal, Hickey’s grandmother, who operated a Tumble River bakery and restaurant, would feed any hungry little one in her community. Youthful Hickey and her multitude of cousins ended up the recipients of Portuguese sweet bread at Easter, beautifully stuffed turkeys, roasted chestnuts and huge vats of a hearty soup of collard greens, cabbage, potatoes, sweet potatoes and onions, designed with small ribs and homemade beef broth.

“The smells from my grandmother’s kitchen area were being generally wonderful. There was generally anything on the stove,” Hickey remembers. “She would inform us: ‘If you don’t take in, you are gonna die.’”

Lent in New England

Significantly eliminated from the fish fries and extravagant meatless dishes she would uncover in Louisiana were being the straightforward Lenten meals Hickey grew up with: “cheese and a hunk of bread” for lunch, and a supper of fish sticks, filet of fish or “Fall River Chow Mein” – chow mein strained of its meat.

“Once in a though on a Friday, you could go to the community fish location,” she mentioned. “Every community had a fish cafe for fish and chips or fried cod, scallops, shrimp and clams,” reported Hickey, giving her spicy potatoes recipe and two other meatless options to audience of Holy Smoke (all of Hickey’s recipes are printed at the base of this tale):

• Shrimp Mozambique, well prepared with beer and Portugal’s ubiquitous purple pepper sauce, is the Portuguese model of barbecued shrimp and is served on unique instances such as saints’ feasts and Sunday dinner. 

• Papas – a sweet, clean-textured porridge – solutions the age-outdated problem: “What can I make inexpensively and with products I previously have in the pantry?”

“Papas is what (Portuguese kids) grew up on – it is what you ate for breakfast in the morning,” explained Hickey, noting that it also is “the ultimate” nighttime consolation meals.

Animated by church work

When Hickey relocated to Louisiana with her partner Dennis – a deacon assigned to St. Anselm Church in Madisonville – and their son James, her tradition shock was lessened by the various similarities to Tumble River: the area’s Catholicity, like for rice and bread, and the equivalent journey carried out by Emeril Lagasse, Hickey’s fellow Portuguese-American and Drop River native. 

“(As in Louisiana) most Portuguese dishes begin out with the Holy Trinity – environmentally friendly pepper, onion, celery and lots of garlic,” she explained.

A gifted cantor and organist from the time she was a teenager, Hickey now is new music director, cantor and organist at Most Holy Trinity Church in Covington. In her main work in the Business of Worship, she gives liturgical guidance to clergy and laity across the archdiocese.

“Liturgical procedures are not all located in one particular ebook they are in hundreds of files,” she reported, noting that the latest queries concerned no matter whether distribution of Communion to the sick on Holy Thursday is permitted (sure) and wherever to get leftover paschal candles. (“I’ve come to know distinctive destinations that will recycle wax.”)

Hickey frequently can be found working as a powering-the-scenes coordinator of diocesan events, these as ordination Masses. A person of her beloved celebrations is the dedication of a new church.

“There are so several features that have to occur – concerning the sprinkling of the h2o, the spraying of the oil, the vesting of the altar – that when timed ideal, are so stunning,” Hickey mentioned.

“Since I was a small woman, I have always been fascinated by what occurred on the altar,” Hickey added. “Seeing the splendor and the secret all around it – and being capable to be that near to God, to be that close to where heaven and Earth meet up with – was always this genuinely intriguing, fascinating matter!”

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Portuguese Spicy Potatoes

For the potatoes:


8  medium-dimensions red potatoes

½ cup Portuguese crushed crimson pepper sauce (see recipe under)

1  clove garlic, crushed

Water for boiling potatoes 



Clean the potatoes. With a knife, slice a small extra than halfway by way of every potato. Fill pot with sufficient drinking water to address the potatoes. Increase potatoes, salt and garlic. Boil potatoes until finally fork tender. When the potatoes begin to split, they are likely all set. Remove from drinking water and enable to cool. When nonetheless heat, stuff potatoes with Pimenta Moída (crushed red pepper sauce).

For the Pimenta Moída (Portuguese crushed purple pepper sauce)

1 bushel purple peppers (Poblano or Fresno)

1  heaping cup kosher salt, as well as much more for topping

½  cup preserving powder


Cut peppers in 50 % lengthwise and clear away the stem and most of the seeds. Grind pepper applying a meat grinder (or the grinder attachment of a stand mixer). Add salt and stir. Protect and enable sit for up to 72 hours. The peppers will have a lot of liquid. They will start off to ferment and bubble. When you see that the effervescent is slowing down, the fermentation is ending. Increase the preserving powder. Depart on the counter for one more 24 several hours. Stir and location mixture into 3 to 4 large, sanitized canning jars. Prime with salt. Location lids on loosely, as fermentation may possibly continue on. Maintain the lids on loosely for about 3 times to allow the excess gasoline designed by the fermentation to escape. Soon after a few times you can properly tighten the lids. Refrigerate immediately after opening. This recipe tends to make 3 to 4 significant jars. Pimenta Moída can also be purchased on the internet and can be made use of in stews, marinades and as a spicy condiment on sandwiches.


Shrimp Mozambique (Camarão Moçambique)

2  pounds shrimp (do not get rid of peel)

1 stick butter

½ significant onion, finely diced

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 heaping tablespoon Portuguese crushed red pepper (can substitute Louisiana scorching sauce)

1 (12-ounce can) beer

2 packets Goya Azafran Seasoning

Salt to flavor


In a medium pot, soften a person adhere of butter. Incorporate onions. Sauté for about 5 minutes. Insert garlic. Sauté an added 5 minutes. Incorporate in a pinch of salt, Goya seasoning and crushed crimson pepper. Stir to blend all components. Add shrimp and beer. Make sure shrimp are included with the sauce. Protect and bring to a boil. As soon as boiling, reduce to a simmer till shrimp are performed. Incorporate salt as needed. Provide above white rice. Serves 4.


Papas (Portuguese Porridge)

2  cups complete milk

½  cup flour

¼   cup sugar

Pinch of salt



Mix flour, sugar and salt. Simmer milk in a pot. Do not let milk to boil. Little by little insert flour, sugar and salt to milk. Whisk to keep away from lumps. Proceed stirring, right until porridge arrives to a reduced boil. Plate porridge straight away and leading with a sprinkle of cinnamon. 


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