Alcatra da Terra Chá
Alcatra da Terra Chá is a traditional dish from the island of Terceira in the Azores, Portugal. It is a slow-cooked beef stew made with a variety of spices and cooked in a clay pot, which is an important part of the dish’s flavor. The beef is layered with bones and sprinkled with salt, bay leaves, and allspice. Butter, water, and white wine are added to the pot, and the dish is then slow-cooked until the meat is tender and falls off the bone.
The dish is typically served with white rice or boiled potatoes, and it is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Alcatra da Terra Chá has its origins in the rural areas of Terceira, where it was a staple of family meals and community gatherings. The dish is now considered a symbol of the island’s culture and heritage, and it is a must-try for anyone visiting the Azores.
3 shank steaks
1 7 bone steak
1 lb smoked pork belly
2 cups white wine
1 cup water
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 chopped onion
5–6 cloves chopped garlic
1–2 tbsp allspice
1–2 bay leaves
Cut your 7 bone steak into small pieces and rinse all the beef thoroughly. Next, you will begin
your layering process. Start the layering process with some chopped up pork belly, onions, garlic,
shank bones (only bottom layer), a sprinkle of salt, another layer of meat, and repeat until it
reaches the top! This process is done until the pot is full. Throw in your bay leaf and allspice.
Top it off with butter, a cup of water, and white wine. Cover the pot with tin foil and cook for at
least 3 hours at 325°F. Feel free to uncover the alcatra and let cook for additional hour if desired.
Serve the alcatra with a side of sweet bread and enjoy!
- Choose the right cut of beef: Traditional alcatra is made with a cut of beef known as “vaca-loura,” which is a tough and lean cut of meat that becomes tender and flavorful when slow-cooked.
- Marinate the meat: To infuse the meat with flavor, marinate it for at least 24 hours before cooking. A typical marinade might include red wine, garlic, bay leaves, and allspice.
- Use a clay pot: Alcatra is traditionally cooked in a clay pot, which helps to retain the moisture and flavor of the meat. If you don’t have a clay pot, a Dutch oven or slow cooker can work as well.
- Layer the ingredients: To ensure that the meat cooks evenly and stays moist, layer it with vegetables like onions, carrots, and potatoes. Add a sprinkle of sea salt and black pepper between each layer.
- Cook low and slow: Alcatra is a slow-cooked dish, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time. The meat should be cooked at a low temperature (around 300°F) for at least 3-4 hours, or until it is tender and falling off the bone.
- Don’t overcook the meat: While you want the meat to be tender, you don’t want it to be mushy or overcooked. Check it periodically to make sure it is not drying out or becoming overcooked.
- Let it rest: Once the alcatra is finished cooking, remove it from the heat and let it rest for at least 10-15 minutes before serving. This will help to redistribute the juices and make the meat even more tender.
- Serve with a side dish: Alcatra is typically served with a side dish of massa sovada (sweet bread), rice, or beans.
- Enjoy with friends and family: Alcatra is a dish that is meant to be shared with loved ones. Invite friends and family over and enjoy this delicious and hearty meal together.
- Experiment with flavors: While traditional alcatra is made with specific ingredients, feel free to experiment with different spices and flavors to make the dish your own.
Keywords: Traditional Slow-cooked Beef Azores Clay pot Bay leaves Allspice Wine Butter Comfort food