Portuguese Alcatra Pot Roast

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Traditional and indigenous cuisine is usually healthier, cheaper and tastier.  Portuguese Alcatra Pot Roast is an excellent choice.  While some of the spices in my recipe may seem exotic, keep in mind the Portuguese sailed far and wide and also traded with others who stopped at their ports for supplies.  If you want to learn the real history of the world, you should study the history of cuisine.  Food and drink have changed the world more than governments, wars or politics.  My research on this recipe indicates, Alcatra was originally roasted low and slow, usually underground, wrapped in burlap and or leaves, or in unglazed clay terracotta pots.  The meat was beef, pork, lamb or goat.  The cut was usually rump, but shoulder, chuck, or any of the tough roast cuts can work.  The meat benefited from the low slow roasting, and the wine base marinate.  Sopas, another pot roast traditionally served for Portuguese Pentecost is “IMHO” an entirely different recipe, I’ll be working on that later.  The bread here is Portuguese flat bread, (not tortilla, or fried bread) recipe to be added later.  In one picture you can see, I’ve added vegetables (mushrooms, squash, cabbage) when the roast was a couple of hours from being done.  An excellent restaurant in my area, “Bauer’s 66 1/2 Skillet & Grill”  occasionally serves Alcatra Sliders on Portuguese Sweet Bread buns, and Alcatra Nachos. Have fun and come up with your own ideas for Alcatra.  Although the roast cooks for a very long time, it’s simple to make.  The flavors are incredibly bold. the roast is juicy, melt in your mouth tender and sits in its own rich intense reduction sauce.

Pam’s Portuguese Alcatra Pot Roast

This recipe is for each 1 lb. of  roast.  Simply multiply by roast size. Best to use grass-fed, farmstead bone-in roast.

  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 stick cinnamon
  • 1/2  teaspoon nutmeg *grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon black cardamom *grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste best home-made
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 strips farmstead bacon
  • 1 medium onion
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If spices are whole, grind them in a spice girder.  I use a dedicated coffee girder for this. Nutmeg and cardamom need to be grated if whole.  Start by pouring the wine into a sealable bag and, or a dish large enough to hold the roast.  Add spices.  Do not add tomato paste, cinnamon stick, garlic and bay leaf, until roasting begins, and remove cinnamon stick and bay leaf before serving.  Add roast to wine spice mixture. Turn over so spice and wine cover well.  A bit more wine can be added if needed. Seal or cover and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.  It’s a good idea to turn the roast over every 12 or so hours.

Remove roast, but let it drain into marinate.  Cook bacon and remove. Chop onion and brown in the drippings and remove. Brown meat on all sides in bacon drippings.  Move to roasting pan.  Add bacon, onion and marinate to roast.  Add tomato paste and mix in. Add cinnamon stick and garlic, place bay leaf on top.  Roast covered at 225-250 degrees for 9 to 12 hours.  How long depends on the thickness of the roast and the oven.  After 4-5 hours check and turn over.  If the marinate has not reduced down by around 1/2, then continue to roast uncovered until that occurs.  The sauce is fabulous over the meat and with home-made bread.

Later I’ll be adding an under ground variation of this recipe, and an in-between method in the Webber.


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