Alheira, or Stuffing Sausage, was invented by the Jewish people in Portugal during the inquisition in order to prevent detection during the period, as traditional Portuguese sausages were filled with pork. The sausages were so good that they eventually stuck and are now a part of traditional Portuguese cuisine. The most typical way to enjoy alheiras are deep-fried and served with potato chips and a fried egg. Although typically associated with the city of Mirandela, the regions of Beira Alta and Trás-os-Montes are also famous for their alheira sausages. They can be made with any type of meat, but we will use chicken, veal, and ground beef.
*Makes about 5-6 sausages*
3 pounds ground beef
1.5 pounds veal
1 pound shredded chicken
1.5 pounds wheat bread, thinly sliced
10 garlic cloves
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 oz. pork drippings
2 teaspoons paprika
Salt, pepper, and piripiri to taste
6 feet of sausage casing
1) Cook the meats together in a pan with some water until they are done. Reserve the resulting broth and set the meats aside.
2) In a large bowl place the thinly sliced bread and add the reserved broth.
3) Cover with a towel and, as soon as the bread is soft enough, mash it with an wooden spoon.
4) Mash the garlic cloves and add them to the bowl along with the piripiri, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste.
5) Cut the meats into very small pieces and add to the bowl. Mix it thoroughly. When everything is completely mixed add the olive oil and the pork drippings.
6) Fill the casing using a suitable funnel.
7) Tie each alheira sausage so that it’s about 8 inches long, with the filling concentrated in the middle section, leaving the ends almost empty.
8) Once they are ready, deep fry them in a deep frying pan with vegetable oil.
9) Serve while hot with a fried egg and potato chips on the side.