For many years I believed the clay dishes sold by the Artesanos in Portugal (Pottery shops) were toast racks. Yes, toast racks! I pondered over the design of these strange dishes, as you would, and decided Portuguese “toast racks” were extremely impractical as they would not hold many slices of toast.
Well what else could they be?
Several years later, my friend whose husband is Portuguese, laughed when I shared my thoughts. She then looked at me in sheer disbelief when she realized I was actually serious…
Like an adult to a child she kindly explained – they are a special clay dish to BBQ Chouriço Sausage.
All you need are some Chouriço Sausages (Portuguese) - (Chorizo Sausage is a Spanish sausage) – another lesson learned and some Aguardente - Portuguese grape brandy or Bagaço which is the homebrewed Aguardente.
How to use the Assador de Barro
* Pour some Aguardente or Bagaço into the bottom of the Assador de Barro
* Prick the Chouriço Sausage with a fork and place on dish.
* Set light to the Aguardente and cook chouriço sausage for a couple of minutes each side.
Apparently, Aguardente is used instead of Medronho because Medronho affects the taste of the sausage.
You can buy Chouriço Sausage from Supermarkets, local markets, butchers etc
To be honest, I won’t be rushing out to buy an Assador de Barro as I am not keen on the taste of the Chouriço Sausage which seems to be a common ingredient in several traditional Portuguese recipes.
Armed with the name of the clay dish I tried to research its history on the internet but nada – the most useful or unuseful information was the translation which was “Roaster from Clay” and “Meat grills of mud”.
I am curious to learn more about the history of the Assador de Barro - how they came to be invented, by whom and why.