The Azorean Cozido – An Island Dish

Travelling around the world, I can discover dishes that I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. While I’m lucky to be living in the diverse nation of Canada which grants me access to plenty of culinary delights, there are still so many dishes out there to discover. Recently, I was in Sao Miguel in the Azores, Portugal. It’s a beautiful island and also the biggest of the nine.

Sao Miguel Island, Azores, Portugal

There were lots of things to see on the island, but what I was highly anticipating during this tour was a dish they specialize in called cozido. It’s a dish that is cooked underground with the help of heat from active volcanoes.

The size of the pot depends on amount of food you want to cook. They just add the ingredients into the pot and place a lid on with a cloth tied on top. The pan is lowered about 1 1/2 metres underground with a wooden cover and dirt is put on top of it, leaving a small mound on top to seal the hole (and probably help point out where it is).

Cozida_cooking_equipment
Cozido cooking equipment

The pot stays on average between 6 1/2-7 hours underground during the cooking process. You can say it’s like the original version of a slow cooker. So what exactly are the ingredients of a typical Azorean cozido?

An Azorean Cozido

A cozido consists of different meats like chicken, pork and beef. In addition, there is a range of vegetables, like white potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, cabbage, onions (it cooks so long it just melts into the dish) and a local vegetable called inhames that looks and tastes similar to a taro root (it’s also known as “elephant ears”). The dish also includes chorizo pork sausage and blood pudding sausage and is seasoned with salt and red pepper paste. Restaurants just take a few pieces of everything from the pot and plate it for diners to enjoy with a plate of rice.

Interestingly enough, no liquid is added into the pot during the cooking process. However, because of the fresh and natural juices from the ingredients, a beautiful broth is created. Most restaurants don’t offer this broth because the amount extracted from all the meats and veggies is limited, but I was fortunate my guide knows the secrets of a cozido.

Broth_soup_cozida_pot
Broth from a cozido pot

The soupy broth can be placed on top of the meats, vegetables and rice and is a tasty addition to the meal. In the event you try a cozido yourself, you can ask for this broth if you call the restaurant ahead to reserve it. It’s quite the journey to learn how a cozido is made, let alone seeing where it is cooked and then having the dish plated in front of you. This style of cooking is simply done with the help of mother nature, but it’s a delicious experience too!

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16 Comments Add yours

  1. Such an amazing tradition. The food looks so good! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rini says:

      Thanks Ronit! It was definitely tasty! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sean JS Chen says:

    Huuuge fan of cocido! Never had the Portuguese version but it looks absolutely delicious!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rini says:

      Thanks Sean! And thanks for subtly highlighting the spelling difference. I originally put an “a” at the end rather than an “o” (though the Portuguese spell it with a “z” as opposed to a “c”). I’m blaming jetlag on my spelling error. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sean JS Chen says:

        Haha you got me 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. That is so interesting, Rini. In New Zealand the Maori people also have a tradition of cooking underground with heated stones. I would love to go to Portugal and I would definitely want to experience this. I love food traditions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rini says:

      Me too! I never knew that about New Zealand, Tracey. More food explorations for me to add to the list. Thanks for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. cookingflip says:

    I’m swooning over this meal!!!!! On a different note, except for a possible volcanic eruption, how convenient it would be to have such a natural energy saving device in one’s back yard, lol 🙂 Great to know you had a lovely holiday in Europe 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rini says:

      Thank you! I did indeed. More to come 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. annika says:

    What an interesting post Rini. Isn’t it amazing how many different cooking techniques there are around the world?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rini says:

      Definitely. 🙂 And like any cooking technique, this one could be dangerous. There are times when the floor can get too soft and will cave in. Talk about a cooking adventure. :O

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I would love to taste it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rini says:

      It was a neat experience to see how it was made and then be able to eat it. I’d do it again. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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