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Bacalhau a Bras

Easter Comfort Food

plate of bacalhau a bras, a Brazilian dish made with egg and salt cod

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If you like seafood, this Bacalhau à Brás recipe is for you. This traditional dish ties together savory cod with warm, comforting potatoes, often served with any variety of Brazilian sides and garnished with fresh parsley and olives. While the recipe requires significant preparation, this meal is well worth the wait. Bacalhau à Brás is a long-standing tradition in Brazilian culture for Easter brunch, lunch, or dinner. It actually originated in Lisbon in the late 19th century; its founder, of the last name Braz, deserves a round of applause for his accessible, affordable, and delectable invention. 

What is Bacalhau à Brás?

Bacalhau à Brás is a creative and inexpensive recipe: it is a meal anyone can make while still having fun with it. It is a simple dish made with rehydrated salt cod, eggs, potatoes, aromatics, and olives.

Historically, Bacalhau à Brás is remarkable: in an effort to reduce food waste, it is said that chef Braz would use the less meaty parts of the cod which one would usually toss. After deboning the cod, the skin would be removed and the remaining fish shredded. As such, all parts of the fish were put to use. Even the potatoes – traditionally cut in long thin slices – could be made from scraps. 

A household staple, eggs are a perfectly wholesome addition to this lovely Spring meal. The eggs are optional, but they lend a creamy, buttery texture that also binds the fish and potatoes together. 

When Do Brazilians Eat Salt Cod?

Brazilians eat bacalhau all year long, but it is most commonly prepared during the week of Easter, namely on Good Friday. If you are in search of a variation of this recipe but still want the flavor of salted cod, salt cod in cream is a similar dish that is also common during this time of year. 

Bacalhau à Brás is also prepared in countries other than Portugal and Brazil. In historically Roman Catholic countries, recipes with salted cod as the star ingredient gained popularity as the Church forbade the consumption of red meat on all Fridays during Lent, Ash Wednesday, and Good Friday. 

Many cultures have developed their own unique take on meals incorporating the foods they have access to when red meat is not an option, and Bacalhau à Brás is an ideal example of that. 

For those anxiously awaiting the days when red meat is back on the menu, be sure to stock up with one of our butcher boxes: premium cuts of beef, pork, and lamb delivered right to your door in time for Easter dinner and the start of grilling season.

Preparing Bacalhau 

Bacalhau à Brás requires some special considerations, mostly to do with preparing the salt cod. You do not want to use it straight out of the package, unless you enjoy a mouthful of straight salt. Prior to use, salt cod needs to be soaked in water for an extended amount of time. This “de-brines” it and also rehydrates it somewhat for better texture.

We recommend soaking your salt cod overnight, but you can get away with a few hours in a pinch. Ideally, you should also change out the water at least once during soaking. Give the fish one final rinse with fresh water before you add it to your bacalhau a bras dish. 

Can You Use Fresh or Frozen Cod for Bacalhau à Brás?

Bacalhau à Brás can be made with fresh or frozen cod, too. If you plan to cook with fresh cod, though, you will need to account for longer cooking time. Salted cod is preserved, which means that it is actually already “cooked” and ready to be thrown into the mixture of flavors as soon as some of the salt has been removed during the soaking process. 

If you are looking for a healthier alternative, using fresh cod will significantly reduce the amount of sodium in the dish. Of course, fresh cod is always preferred, but buying it frozen will do the trick just as well. Just be sure to prepare it according to package ingredients. 

What Do You Serve With Bacalhau à Brás?

Bacalhau à Brás is plenty hearty on its own, but you won’t often find a meal in Brazil without the ubiquitous, aromatic white rice and feijao with farofa. Bursting with flavor, both of these sides are great options if you are looking to fill a hungry belly. 

Traditional Brazilian white rice calls for lots of garlic paired with onion and some oil to keep the rice loose. Brazilians cook it so often they often prepare a jar of the aromatics ahead of time. This is called “refogado. 

Feijao refers to another traditional and unique side dish which combines black beans simmered with meat trimmings of choice and topped with crisp farofa, a garnish made from nutty, toasted cassava flour. The meat can vary greatly according to taste and region. Brazilian cuisine really allows for creative autonomy; you can add any meat that sounds good to you, be it bacon, Brazilian sausage, beef short ribs, or even pig’s feet. The options with this side dish are endless. 

Bacalhau à Brás Recipe

Ingredients:

3 lbs salt cod, soaked in cold water overnight
2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced in rings or half moons
1 clove garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
2 oz white wine (dry, not sweet)
2 lbs golden potatoes
8 large eggs
¼ cup whole, pitted olives
Extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt, to taste
½ cup fresh parsley + more for garnish

Directions: 

  1. Rinse the pieces of cod with cold water after overnight soaking. Then, place the cod in a large pot with enough water to completely submerge it.
  2. Bring the water to a boil over high heat and reduce the temperature to medium. Let the cod cook for 8-12 minutes, or until the fish is flaky and tender.
  3. Reserve 1 cup of water from the pot and discard the rest. Let the cod cool.
  4. While the cod cools, preheat your oven to 450 F/230 C. Cut your golden potatoes into very thin slices, like matchsticks or shoestring fries. You can leave the skin on or off, depending on your preference.
  5. Put the potatoes on a baking sheet and toss in a little extra virgin olive oil. Season liberally with black pepper and a little salt. Roast until they are golden and crisp (about 25-35 minutes).
  6. While the potato sticks roast, return to the cod. Remove any bones you find along with skin. Carefully shred the cod with your fingers or two forks, then set it aside.
  7. Mix the eggs, some black pepper, and a pinch of salt with a whisk, or beater.
  8. In the same pot you used to cook the cod, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the onions in the hot oil for 4-5 minutes, or until they are translucent. Then add in the garlic and cook for a further 30 seconds or so. 
  9. Add the wine, reserved fish stock, and bay leaves and cook until the mixture has reduced, or for about 2 minutes.
  10. Remove the bay leaves, then add the shredded cod and parsley to the pot, stirring well to combine. 
  11. Add the beaten eggs, stir and cook until they are set, but not scrambled. It should have the appearance of a uniform sauce. 
  12. Combine the fish mixture with your roasted shoestring fries. Transfer it to a serving dish and dot the top with olives and fresh parsley. 

Enjoy!

Easter Brunch Made Easy 

Bacalhau à Brás can just as easily be served for Easter Brunch. After all, it is essentially fish with hashbrowns and eggs! Of course, you can make things even easier on yourself this Easter by visiting one of Texas de Brazil’s 50+ locations. Enjoy our famous salad bar and delectable sides, along with our mouth watering churrasco favorites sliced tableside. Take a look at our menu for more ideas to get busy in the kitchen. 

 

Bolo Rei

bolo rei with one slice on a plate in front

Brazilian Kings Cake

The Kings Cake is a traditional dessert associated with Epiphany, also known as Three Kings Day. This is a Catholic observance to commemorate the biblical visitation of Jesus by the Three Wise Men. There are variations around the world, including Brazil, where it is known as bolo rei. It is a simple yet impressive looking cake, with decorations added specifically for their symbolism. 

Bolo Rei History

Although the Catholic Church declared Epiphany a holy day in around 325 AD, the first King Cake is thought to have originated in France much later in the 13th or 14th century. Today, there are two primary versions of French bolo rei: the first is an almond frangipane wrapped in crisp puff pastry; the second, which is more popular in Southern France, is an orange-flavored brioche studded with candied fruits.  

The bolo rei has since made its way to a large part of the Western Christian world, and it is not limited to Epiphany. In New Orleans, for example, it is heavily associated with Mardi Gras and appears on tables throughout the month of January and up to the day before Lent (Ash Wednesday). 

What to Hide in Bolo Rei?

One of the traditions associated with the king cake is a hidden trinket. In most cases, it is a fava bean and/or a small toy. The person who has the slice with the bean must host the celebration the following year. The small toy is for one of the younger guests, who is then crowned  “king” for the day. 

In the past, the bean and toy were baked into the bolo rei. Today, it is best practice to insert them after the cake is baked to avoid surprise melting or unpleasant tastes. Just frost over the spot where you put them or cover them with the dried fruit. 

What is in Bolo Rei?

Bolo rei is more similar to the southern French version. You leaven the cake with yeast and decorate it with candied fruits that are soaked in copious amounts of port wine. Traditional fruits include candied red and green cherries, pineapple rings, and orange peels. Mixed nuts are also added for crunch. The toppings are meant to represent the gifts brought by the Magi to the infant Jesus: the golden crust is for gold, the candied fruit for the sticky myrrh resin, and the spicy aroma to mimic the scent of frankincense. 

Do You Have to Use Fruit in Bolo Rei?

Fruit is not everyone’s cup of tea, especially the dried and candied variety. You can omit the fruit entirely or exchange it for orange extract or cognac to get that citrusy flavor. There are also variations that use chocolate in place of the nuts (yum) and dust the topping with shaved chocolate and powdered sugar. Really, you can customize it however you like. Just don’t forget the fava bean and a little toy. 

Bolo Roi Recipe

Ingredients:

3 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp active dry yeast
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2.5 oz butter, softened
3 eggs
½ tsp salt
Zest from one orange
4 oz warm milk
4 oz port wine or brandy
¼ cup mixed candied fruits, chopped ( cherries, apricots, and citrus are good)
1 oz mixed nuts, chopped into small pieces
Whole pieces of dried fruit for the top
Whole nuts, like almonds, walnuts, and pecans, to decorate the top
Confectioner’s sugar

Directions: How to Make Bolo Rei

1: Activate the yeast

  • Heat the milk until lukewarm and dissolve a teaspoon of sugar in it.
  • Add the yeast to the milk-sugar mixture, stir gently, and set it aside for about 10-15 minutes until it becomes frothy.

2: Prepare the filling and topping

  • Soak the chopped candied fruit in a bowl with the port or brandy while you wait for the dough to rise. After 30 minutes, strain the infused fruit and mix in the chopped nuts. 

3: Prepare the dough

  • In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and orange zest.
  • Add the activated yeast mixture, 2 eggs, softened butter, and fruit-and-nut mixture to the dry ingredients.
  • Knead the mixture until it forms a smooth and elastic dough. Cover the bowl with a cloth and let the dough rise in a warm place for about 1-2 hours, or until it doubles in size.

 4: Assemble the Bolo Rei

  • Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F).
  • Punch down the risen dough and shape it into a ring, leaving a hole in the center.
  • Place the dough ring on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Brush the surface of the dough with 1 tbsp water mixed with the remaining egg. Arrange the whole candied fruits and nuts mixture on top, pressing them gently into the dough.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 25-30 minutes or until the cake is golden brown.

 5: Serve and Enjoy

  • Once baked, remove the Bolo Rei from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack. Before serving, dust the cake with powdered sugar for an extra touch of sweetness. Alternatively, you can mix a couple tablespoons of strawberry jam with a little water to make a syrup to provide both sweetness and shine. 

More Great Brazilian Recipes to Try

New Year’s Eve in Brazil

fireworks at Copacabana Beach for New Year's Eve in Brazil

As the clock ticks down to midnight on December 31st, people around the world eagerly anticipate the arrival of the New Year, each culture bringing its unique traditions and customs to the festivities. In Brazil, New Year’s Eve is a vibrant and lively celebration, marked by a fusion of cultural influences that make it truly one-of-a-kind. Let’s take a look at some of the quintessential traditions of New Year’s Eve in Brazil. Maybe you’ll adopt one or two for your own celebration! 

How Brazilians Ring in the New Year

New Year’s is called Reveillon in Brazil. The word comes from the word “reveiller” in French, which means “to waken.” It describes a feast held until morning. 

There are a few key traditions associated with New Year’s Eve in Brazil, all designed to encourage prosperity and peace over the next 365 days:

Wearing White

Many of the New Year’s Eve traditions in Brazil are derived from the Afro-Brazilian religions of Candomble and Umbanda. Candomble incorporates aspects of many of the religions of West Africa, which is where a majority of Brazilian slaves came from. Meanwhile, Umbanda is a medley of Afro-Brazilian and certain Roman Catholic traditions. 

One of the Afro-Brazilian traditions adopted for New Year’s is dressing in white from head to toe. In Candomble and Umbanda, the color white symbolizes purity, peace, and renewal. Remember that Brazilians do not merely say “Happy New Year” on New Year’s Eve. They say, “New Year, New Life.” Wearing white symbolizes this expression. 

Offerings to Yemanjá

Along the coast, particularly in Rio de Janeiro and Bahia, worshippers and revelers alike participate in the traditional offering of white flowers, soaps, necklaces, hair combs, and other small trinkets to Yemanja. Yemanja, also spelled Lemanja, is the Candomble and Umbanda goddess of the sea. The items are placed in small boats and gently pushed out to sea. In return for their offerings, Brazilians request protection and good luck for the year.  

Feasting on Lentils and Pomegranates

New Year’s Eve in Brazil also involves the consumption of pomegranates and lentils. The way you eat the pomegranate is important: you eat the flesh but save the seeds. You then wrap seven of the seeds in paper and put them in your wallet to attract wealth. (Don’t worry, they don’t have to stay there all year–just until January 6.)

Meanwhile, lentils are a popular meal at family gatherings for New Year’s Eve in Brazil. Lentilha da sorte, a stew of lentils, veggies, and pork sausage, is a particular favorite. Like the pomegranate, there are rules for making the most out of your lentils at New Year’s:  stand on a chair, table, or other high place and take seven even bites of lentils to attract luck and prosperity in the coming year. 

Fireworks and Street Parties

New Year’s Eve in Brazil is renowned for its spectacular fireworks displays and lively street parties. Major cities like Rio de Janeiro host enormous gatherings, with music, dancing, and a contagious energy that fills the air. The iconic Copacabana Beach in Rio is a focal point for millions of revelers, as they gather to witness breathtaking fireworks and take part in the largest New Year’s Eve party in the world

Jumping Over Seven Waves

Another tradition for New Year’s Eve in Brazil involves jumping over seven waves at midnight, making wishes with each leap. Even non-coastal citizens travel hours to the sea so they can complete this ritual. The number seven holds special significance in Afro Brazilian culture. In this case, successfully leaping over seven successive waves means you will overcome obstacles in the New Year.

Wearing Colorful Undergarments

While many Brazilians choose to wear white clothing on the outside, under the clothing is a different story. Most are wearing brightly colored undergarments, the color carefully selected to represent individual desires. Yellow, for example, symbolizes money and success; red can ignite passion and love, and orange may stimulate creativity.

Bay Leaves for Wealth

If pomegranate seeds aren’t your thing, you can also put a bay leaf in your wallet with some cash. Unlike the seeds, however, you must leave the bay leaf in the wallet for the whole year, then donate the money to charity on December 31. The bay leaf must then be discarded in a running water source, like a stream or the ocean. 

Easy New Year’s Eve Dinner 

Brazilian New Year’s Eve celebrations are a captivating blend of cultural diversity, spirituality, and exuberance. The customs and traditions reflect the nation’s rich history and the resilience of its people. Among other traditions, good food is a part of any Brazilian celebration. 

Make it easy on yourself this year and pre-order Texas de Brazil’s Beef Ribs Holiday Feast for your New Year’s Eve Celebration. This ready-to-eat kit feeds up to eight people. Tender, fall-of-the-bone ribs are accompanied with your choice of two sides, like our garlic mashed potatoes or feijoada black beans with crispy farofa topping. You’ll also receive a dozen Brazilian cheese bread rolls and a side of chimichurri for the ribs. Make sure you get your order in today before we sell out! 

 

Easy Side Dishes for Ham

sliced ham

While turkey continues to be the favored holiday dinner protein, many Americans also choose ham as their main dish. In fact, around 318 million pounds of ham was eaten for Christmas in 2022. These days, ham is more expensive than many other meats, thanks to rising labor and food production costs. You may be looking to offset your pricey porcine with a few easy and pocket-friendly accompaniments. We’ve got you covered. Here are a few ideas for easy side dishes for ham that are fast, cheap, but still delicious.  

Quick Side Dishes for Ham Dinner

Brazilian Cheese Bread

a basket of Brazilian cheese bread

First on the list of our easy side dishes for ham: Brazilian cheese bread. Instead of the traditional yeast roll, why not try your hand at some gooey, cheesy pao de queijo? Made from tapioca starch, these bite-sized morsels are nutty, chewy, and absolutely addictive. Bonus: they are completely gluten free and made with ingredients you likely already have on hand (aside from the tapioca flour). Try stuffing them with sausage if you really want to wow your guests. 

Spicy Cranberry Sauce

cranberries in a white serviing bowl

Our recipe for boozy cranberry sauce with a little heat revs up this traditional holiday favorite. We use vanilla, cinnamon, clove, and a big pinch of cayenne pepper to cut through the sweetness of the dish, adding a healthy splash of aged cachaca for even more flavor. The cachaca is by far the priciest part of this recipe; you can replace it with water or a little rum, if you already have that on hand. 

Couve Mineira (Brazilian Collard Greens)

Brazilian finely sliced collards with bacon

You may not think of collard greens when you are in the market for “easy” ham side dishes. That is because traditional Southern recipes often take hours to stew the greens until they are tender. Brazilian collards cook up quickly since they are sliced into uber-thin strips and sauteed in oil. Add a little garlic, onion, and bacon, and you have a delicious accompaniment for your holiday ham. 

Brazilian Rice

Brazilian long grain rice with mint garnish

Next up on our list of easy side dishes for ham: rice. No holiday meal in Brazil (or any meal, really) is complete without the ubiquitous arroz Brasileiro: basmati rice toasted in oil then slow-simmered with refogado, a puree of garlic and onions. If you don’t have the refogado mix, don’t worry about it: finely minced garlic and onions will work just as well. The only thing left is olive oil and white rice–doesn’t get much cheaper than that!

Steakhouse Garlic Mashed Potatoes

a bowl of garlic mashed potatoes

If you’d rather stick with potatoes for your starch fix, we totally understand. Mashed potatoes are a classic and easy side dish for ham for a reason: they are inexpensive, filling, and so delicious. They are basically comfort food at its finest. You simply can’t go wrong by punching up the flavor with a little (or a lot) of garlic, like we do in our steakhouse inspired mashed potato recipe

Burgundy Mushrooms

burgundy mushrooms in a black castiron skillet

Here’s another cheap and easy side dish for ham this holiday. Our take on Burgundy mushrooms slowly simmers them in red wine, stock, garlic, Dijon mustard, and fresh herbs. The sauce alone is delicious, especially spooned over those garlic mashed potatoes we mentioned. 

Caramelized Leeks

braised leeks in a pan

Leeks don’t often make it to the holiday table as a stand-alone side dish, and we think that’s rather tragic. When prepared with the right ingredients, they become buttery, caramelized, and absolutely delicious. In our braised leeks recipe, we take the sweetness up a notch with a balsamic reduction. Heap some on top of your slice of ham so you can have some with every bite. 

Christmas Dinner Catered

If all else fails, you can always host the perfect holiday meal with Texas de Brazil’s takeout options. Right now, you can pre-order our Beef Ribs Holiday Feast: fall-of-the-bone ribs served with your choice of two side dishes, a mess of Brazilian cheese bread, and zesty chimichurri sauce for dipping. The kit feeds 6-8 people and comes hot and ready to eat. Order yours for pick up on 12/24, 12/25, and 12/31 between the hours of 1pm and 5pm. 

Spiked Eggnog (Licor de Ovos)

two glasses of eggnog garnished with cinnamon sticks

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Ah, eggnog: you either love it or you hate it. It is sweet, spiced, creamy, and, well, eggy. For many, the holiday season isn’t complete without a chilled glass of this unusual concoction. We certainly don’t mind a sip or two, especially when spiked with aged cachaca. Keep reading for a little eggnog trivia and our spiked eggnog recipe (or just jump to the recipe, you won’t hurt our feelings). 

Where Does Eggnog Come From?

Most historians agree that the roots of eggnog can be traced back to medieval Britain, where a beverage known as “posset” was popular. Posset was made with milk curdled with wine or beer and often flavored with spices. It was meant to be drunk hot and often used as a treatment for cold and flu. 

Eggs and egg yolks were incorporated into posset by at least the 13th century. Monks were known to consume a version that included both eggs, wine, and figs. The wealthy elite adopted this custom and added a bit of sherry, which was more expensive at the time. Posset soon became a symbol of good health and prosperity. 

Posset was not called “eggnog” until the 17th century, when the drink made its way to the American Colonies. Sherry and wine were exchanged for rum, which was plentiful and cheap. Heaps of sugar were also added to the already-rich drink. George Washington himself had a recipe for eggnog that called for “one dozen tablespoons of sugar.” That might explain the unfortunate teeth situation. The first president’s recipe also had rum, rye whiskey, and sherry. Small wonder he forgot to specify how many eggs to use. 

Why is Eggnog Called Eggnog?

The egg part is obvious, but where did the “nog” come from in eggnog? We’ll never know for sure, but many historians posit (that’s a pun) that the term comes from “noggin,” a Gaelic word for a wooden cup. 

Why Do We Drink Eggnog at Christmas?

From its early iterations as posset to the time it was drunk in the colonies, eggnog ingredients were considered a luxury. It was thought that toasting a beverage with expensive eggs, cream, sugar, alcohol, and spices would usher in prosperity for the new year. Eggnog is also high in calories, which may have been beneficial to those with otherwise meager holiday rations. 

Today, eggnog is less about prosperity and more about festivity. We tend to give ourselves a pass at Christmas to indulge a bit, and eggnog fits the bill: it is creamy, decadent, and a little bit naughty with all those calories. 

Do Brazilians Drink Eggnog?

Yes! Eggnog is called “licor de ovos” in Brazil and is made in much the same way as American eggnog. The main difference is the liquor. Brazilians, of course, use cachaca in their eggnog in place of rum. Nutmeg is also not typically used in licor de ovo, which is flavored with pure vanilla extract instead. 

Licor de ovo is especially popular in Minas Gerais and other southern regions of Brazil, where it can get quite chilly in the Autumn and Winter months. This means it is not necessarily consumed as a holiday beverage, since Brazilian autumn begins in March. 

What is In Eggnog?

Eggs: the star ingredient, eggs provide the rich and velvety texture to eggnog. Raw eggs were historically used, but most modern recipes heat the eggs to a safe temperature before chilling.

Dairy: whole milk and heavy cream contribute to the luscious creaminess of eggnog. Some recipes may use a combination of milk and cream to balance the richness.

Sweeteners: sugar is a crucial component to sweeten the eggnog, providing a counterbalance to the richness of the eggs and dairy. Some variations might also include sweetened condensed milk or even maple syrup.

Flavorings: nutmeg is the traditional spice that gives eggnog its distinctive flavor. Other spices like cinnamon, vanilla, and cloves may also be added for complexity.

Spirits: the addition of alcoholic spirits, such as rum, cachaca, brandy, whiskey, or bourbon, is optional but adds warmth and depth to the flavor profile. Non-alcoholic versions are also popular, ensuring that everyone can enjoy this festive beverage.

What Does Eggnog Taste Like?

Eggnog is a harmonious blend of sweet, creamy, and warmly spiced flavors. The texture is velvety and thick, almost syrupy but not sticky. It is not dissimilar to a glass of melted ice cream spiced heavily with nutmeg, which gives it a distinctly peppery flavor. 

Homemade Eggnog Recipe (Licor de Ovos)

Ingredients:

6 egg yolks
½  cup white sugar
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
4 oz aged cachaca or spiced rum

Directions:

  1. Whisk together the egg yolks, then add the sugar and mix until light and frothy. 
  2. Heat the milk, cream, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt in a saucepan over medium high heat.
  3. Temper the egg mixture: when the cream mixture reaches a simmer, add about 2 tablespoons to the egg mixture and stir to combine. Repeat this process until most of the cream mixture has been added to the egg mixture, then return everything to the saucepan.
  4. Whisk constantly over medium high heat for a few more minutes. Check the temperature with a thermometer: it should be 160 degrees fahrenheit or higher. 
  5. Remove the mixture from the heat and add your vanilla extract and cachaca. 
  6. Chill thoroughly, then serve in glass cups with a cinnamon stick and freshly grated nutmeg. 

Spend the Holidays with Us

Texas de Brazil is a unique and delicious fine dining destination during the holidays and all year round. Visit one of our 50+ locations this year to treat  your loved ones to a truly special meal. Also, be sure to take advantage of our current Texas de Brazil gift card deals–perfect to add to a stocking or a christmas gift basket. 

 

Spicy Cranberry Sauce

cranberry sauce in a white serving dish

A Classic Holiday Side with a Spicy and Boozy Twist

Cranberry sauce is ubiquitous at the American holiday table. It is deliciously sweet and tart, perfect with a bite of tender turkey meat. It is also a festive red color, which helps brighten up a plate full of brown gravy, brown stuffing, and brown rolls. But not all cranberry sauce is created equal. Everyone seems to have their own recipe they claim is the best one. We’ll happily hop on that bandwagon and present you with our recipe for spicy cranberry sauce: sweet, sour, hot, and boozy, this is something a little special. 

Brazilian Cranberry Sauce 

You may remember from our recent Thanksgiving in Brazil blog that cranberry sauce is not eaten much in Brazil. This isn’t because Brazilians don’t like it, it is simply that cranberries do not grow there. While tinned options may be available online, most holiday dinners in Brazil omit the cranberries or swap it with a chutney or sauce made from jabuticaba, which are also known as Brazilian grapes. They have a similar taste and texture to cranberries, but with a hint of blueberry. 

Good luck finding jabuticabas in the US, though. They can be grown in tropical areas like Florida, but they are definitely an exotic item around here. So we will stick with the cranberries but with a decidedly Brazilian twist: cachaca and red pepper. The resulting spicy cranberry sauce is unlike any you’ve tasted. 

What Cachaca to Use for Spicy Cranberry Sauce?

You have a couple options when it comes to choosing a cachaca for your spicy cranberry sauce. You could go for a newer, small batch variety, which will have a simpler flavor profile. Young cachaca has a distinctive grassy flavor, courtesy of the fresh sugar cane juice from which it is made. Also known as prata, unaged cachaca is famous as the alcoholic component of a refreshing caipirinha. 

Aged cachaca (“envelhecida”), on the other hand, takes on a more complex flavor. It can taste oaky, like the barrels it is stored in, along with the spice and vanilla flavors of the wood. It maintains that signature grassy flavor, but it is often more mellow. 

In order to be legally designated as cachaca envelhecida, at least half of the liquor volume must have been aged for one year or more in a wooden barrel with a capacity of no more than 700 liters (around 185 gallons). Strict regulations apply to the unaged cachaca as well. 

For this spicy cranberry sauce recipe, we like aged cachaca. Really, though, it is your choice. In a pinch, you can use spiced rum. Just be aware that no Brazilian will agree with you that cachaca and rum are the same thing. 

Other Spicy Cranberry Sauce Ingredients

Obviously, you’ll need cranberries! Fresh is best, but frozen will work as well. You will also need some warming spices: cinnamon sticks and one or two whole cloves. They pair beautifully with the aged cachaca, which has a rich herby flavor and spiciness all its own. 

We couldn’t call this “spicy cranberry sauce” without the other star ingredient: cayenne. We are using a half teaspoon, but you can add more or less depending on your desired level of spice. It will be complemented by the sweetness of orange juice and sugar, and a kiss of vanilla extract for one final note. 

Can You Make Spicy Cranberry Sauce Ahead of Time?

Yes. In fact, it is best if you do make it at least a day ahead so it has time to set. It will keep in the fridge for up to a week before serving. If you wish to make it earlier than that, you can freeze it just as well. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, then transfer the sauce to a freezer safe container or gallon bag and freeze until you are ready to use.

Spicy Cranberry Sauce Recipe with Cachaca

Ingredients:

12 oz fresh cranberries (one pack)
1 cup of orange juice (with or without pulp)
1 ¼ cups white sugar
8 oz aged cachaca or spiced rum
1 tsp real vanilla extract
2 cinnamon sticks
2 whole cloves
½ tsp cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. Add the sugar, cachaca, and orange juice to a saucepan over medium high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. 
  2. Reduce the heat to low and add in the cinnamon sticks and cloves. Cover the saucepan and let the spices infuse for 5-10 minutes, then remove them.
  3. Add in your cranberries, vanilla extract, and cayenne pepper. Stir to combine the ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to medium low. 
  4. Simmer the spicy cranberry sauce uncovered until the berries begin to pop. Yes, some of them will actually pop open! Let the mixture continue to simmer until the sauce thickens. 
  5. Transfer the sauce to a container and let it cool and set in the refrigerator for at least six hours, preferably overnight. 

What to Eat with Spicy Cranberry Sauce

Of course, turkey is delicious with this spicy, boozy cranberry sauce. But we have some other ideas:

Gift Card Specials at Texas de Brazil

Be sure to take advantage of our gift card specials at Texas de Brazil. For a limited time only, receive a $25 gift card for every $100 you purchase, and a bonus $10 gift card for every $50. Perfect for tucking into stockings and Christmas gift baskets, you’ll be sure to please everyone on your list!

 

Christmas Gift Basket Ideas

christmas gifts viewed from above

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Family, food, gratitude, and gift-giving are traditions we all look forward to. But sometimes, finding the perfect gift can be a little difficult, if not downright anxiety-inducing. We’ve made it easy for you with our list of unique and beautiful Christmas gift basket ideas, all courtesy of Texas de Brazil!

The Best Christmas Gift Basket Ideas for 2023

Artisanal Olive Oil

Tuck a beautiful bottle of Texas de Brazil’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil into your Christmas gift basket this year. Made from 100% Manzanilla Cacerena olives grown in Extremadura, Spain, this fruity and slightly smoky oil is perfect for cooking or dipping with crusty French bread.

Beef Jerky

Beef jerky is a universal crowd pleaser, and Texas de Brazil has two delectable versions: original and spicy. Both pack a smoky, flavorful punch-perfect for elevated snacking. 

Texas de Brazil original beef jerky in clear packet
TDB Original Beef Jerky 3 oz, $6.00

Spice Rub

Adding to our yummy list of Christmas gift basket ideas is our spicy grilling rub. A delicious blend of earthy spices and a good kiss of heat bring any cut of meat to the next level. It is the very same rub we use on our spicy picanha in the restaurant, so you know it’s good. 

Crossback Apron

For the dedicated chef or grill master, a beautiful and durable apron is in order. Roll up one of our Texas de Brazil aprons  to add to your Christmas gift basket. Crafted by renowned apron makers Hedley & Bennett, the signature crossback style is comfortable and helps the apron stay put for consistent coverage. Even better: it’s machine washable and one size fits all! 

Wine Tumbler

As far as Christmas gift basket ideas go, this one is always a crowd pleaser. Our woodgrain pattern stainless steel wine tumbler is not only gorgeous to look at, but keeps your beverage cold for up to sixteen hours and hot for eight! We can think of a few ways to test this, but we might start with a Brazilian mulled wine, followed by a chilled passion fruit caipirinha. Hey, it’s for science!

Texas de Brazil wine tumbler with wood grain pattern
TDB Wine Tumbler, $21.99

Gaucho Knife

This actually makes for a great gift all on its own, not just as a Christmas gift basket idea. A beautiful carving knife with a 10” stainless steel blade and a genuine leather sheath. Made in Brazil in the authentic facon style, you have your choice of a polished wood handle or a traditional horn style. It is presented in a wooden box for easy wrapping.  

Texas de Brazil gaucho knife in wooden box

TDB Gaucho Knife with wooden handle, $95

Christmas Gift Card

You can’t go wrong with a Texas de Brazil gift card, which can be used at any of our fine dining establishments or for more treats from our online shop. Choose an increment that suits your budget and give the fantastic gift of churrasco this season. To sweeten the deal, we’re giving you a $25 bonus card for every $100 you spend, and a $10 bonus for every $50 you spend on a gift card. 

What About a Christmas Box?

If putting together a Christmas basket isn’t your thing, what about having us put together a box for you? A box of meat, that is. In our online butcher shop, you can choose from hand curated collections or choose your own items a la cart to have delivered to a special someone. Or, send a box to yourself and be the star of Christmas dinner with a roast picanha or perfect rack of lamb. 

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