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Lamb Loin Chops Recipe

Pan Seared Lamb Loin with Garlic and Rosemary

lamb loin chops in skillet with garlic and rosemary

The Brazilian Steakhouse tends to be synonymous with one word: beef. From the signature picanha to more mainstream cuts like filet mignon, the churrascaria is a steak-lovers paradise. But Brazilians also enjoy plenty of other types of meat, including lamb. Like Americans, Brazilians often consider lamb to be a meat reserved for special occasions. Today’s recipe for lamb loin chops is ideal for the upcoming Holidays: pain seared with plenty of garlic and rosemary, it is deceptively simple and packed with flavor. 

Lamb Chops vs Lamb Loin Chops

Lamb chops are harvested from the ribs of the lamb. They can be sold separately or in a rack to be carved after cooking. This cut of lamb may also be served “frenched,” with a length of rib bone polished and protruding from the meat to form a handle. Chops presented in this way are sometimes referred to as “lamb lollipops.” They tend to be the most expensive of all the cuts of lamb and are prized for their tenderness and depth of flavor. 

Lamb loin chops, by contrast, are derived from the area just behind the rib cage, between the tenderloin and the flank. Loin chops can be bone-in or boneless and contain a large medallion of the adjacent tenderloin, giving them the appearance of a smaller t-bone steak. They can be slightly tougher than lamb chops since they are leaner. This means their flavor and texture are best at rare or medium rare temperatures. 

What Does Lamb Taste Like?

Lamb has a similar texture to beef, but it has a slightly stronger, gamey flavor. The overall taste of the meat will vary slightly depending on where the lamb was reared and what its diet consisted of. Grass-fed lambs, for example, have a more distinct flavor that is somewhat earthy and smokey. 

Is Lamb Better for You Than Beef?

Like beef, lamb is considered a red meat. As such, it is an excellent source of protein and certain vitamins and minerals, including zinc, selenium, and iron. Lamb may offer additional health benefits compared to beef, especially if it has been grass fed. This diet infuses the meat with beneficial Omega 3 fatty acids, which have been shown to prevent heart disease and aid in bone and joint health. 

Lamb does have higher levels of saturated fat than beef, which means it can be somewhat higher in calories (3 oz of lamb loin has about 282 calories, compared to 3 oz of beef top loin, which has 224). However, the meat generally has less marbling, which means most of the fat is in one area that can be discarded. 

How to Cook Lamb Loin Chops

Lamb loin chops are at their tastiest when cooked rare or medium rare. They do well with almost any cooking method, but especially pan searing and grilling. To get the most out of your loin chops, keep the following tips in mind before you cook them:

  1. Let the chops come to room temperature before cooking. This ensures a more even sear and reduces the chance of overcooking.
  2. Use bone-in chops. While they may not be as convenient to cut or eat as the boneless version, bones in meat act as a temperature insulator. This, again, makes for more even cooking and slows down the cooking process slightly, giving you a little wiggle room for temperature. 
  3. Use a cast iron skillet or dutch oven. These heavy bottomed pans are ideally suited to searing meat, since they maintain a perfectly even temperature and form a beautiful crust. 
  4. Cook in batches. You may be tempted to get all your chops into the pan at once, but you will have a much more difficult time getting that beautiful brown crust to form if the pan is too crowded. Cook your chops in batches to give them enough space to cook evenly and seal in those juices. They need to rest anyway, so don’t rush it!

Lamb Loin Chops Recipe 

Ingredients:

3 pounds lamb loin chops (bone in)
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp butter, unsalted
6 cloves garlic, smashed*
1/2 tbsp fresh rosemary (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1 tbsp fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)

Directions:

  1. Allow your lamb loin chops to come to room temperature (about 20 minutes should do). 
  2. Preheat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.
  3. Season the lamb loin chops liberally on both sides with salt and black pepper.
  4. Add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to the preheated skillet (about a tablespoon). 
  5. Add chops and brown on each side until a golden crust forms. This should take about 3 minutes per side.
  6. Remove the chops to a separate dish and lower the heat of your pan to medium. When the pan has cooled to medium, add the butter, rosemary, thyme, and smashed garlic to the pan. 
  7. Let the butter melt and the garlic become fragrant (don’t let it burn!).
  8. When the butter is melted, add the chops back to the pan and cook them for another 10-15 minutes until the internal temperature is 125** degrees (medium rare). 
  9. Serve with any remaining pan juices and fresh herbs. 

*We recommend smashing or slicing the garlic to infuse its flavor into the butter without burning. If you want to mince your garlic, you will want to add it later in the cooking process (1-3 minutes before chops are done). 

**The USDA recommends cooking lamb to a temperature of at least 145 degrees for food safety. However, most chefs agree that the high heat when searing will eliminate surface bacteria and other worrisome pathogens. This does not apply to ground lamb, of course, which will need to be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees to eliminate food borne pathogens on and within the meat. 

Try Your Lamb Loin Chops With These Great Side Dishes:

Premium Lamb Chops Delivered to Your Door

The best tasting meat starts with quality. At Texas de Brazil, we source only the highest rated, USDA choice meats for both our restaurant and our delivery service. Visit Texas de Brazil’s online butcher shop to have premium cuts of lamb, beef, chicken, pork, and sausage delivered right to your door. Go online to select your hand curated grill package, or choose from a la carte options (including our signature spicy rub for picanha). 

Brazilian Style Shepherd’s Pie (Escondidinho de Frango)

brazilian shepherd's pie with yuca

Escondidinho is popular all over Brazil as an inexpensive yet tasty comfort dish. It is, essentially, a shepherd’s pie, with a few classic Brazilian twists. The most important difference between shepherd’s pie and escondidinho is the topping: instead of the mashed potato layer of a traditional cottage pie, escondidinho substitutes whipped yuca root (or cassava).  

The meat layer of escondidinho is also subject to variation depending on the region and personal preferences. While traditional shepherd’s pie tends to favor ground beef, pork, or lamb, escondidinho can incorporate a wide array of proteins. 

The original Brazilian shepherd’s pies used dried and salted meat as the bottom layer. Today, escondidinho can be made with whatever meat you choose, from shrimp to beef. We will be using shredded chicken, which pairs beautifully with the sauteed vegetables and creamy yuca topping. It is also a bit lighter than ground beef or pork, but feel free to substitute whichever meat you like. 

What is Yuca?

Yuca, also known as manioc or cassava, is a shrub native to South America. It is cultivated predominantly for its root, which is starchy and a good source of carbohydrates. The root is eaten in much the same way as a potato, usually boiled, baked or fried. Like the potato, a powdered starch is also processed from the root and used in place of wheat flour in many parts of the world, including Brazil. You may also know this flour by the name, “tapioca starch.” 

Can You Make Vegan Escondidinho?

Of course! For the vegan “meat” layer, you could easily substitute some hearty roast vegetables and a nutritious legume, like lentils. This recipe for stewed lentils with eggplant would make a perfect vegan base for your Brazilian shepherd’s pie.

For a vegan version of your whipped yuca, swap out the butter for cashew butter and substitute a nut milk of your choice, preferably plain soy or cashew. 

Mashed Potatoes vs Yuca for Brazilian Shepherd’s Pie

Although the yuca is a decidedly Brazilian component of this dish, you can certainly substitute potatoes if you wish. Many Brazilians also use mashed potatoes for their escondidinho casserole. Yukon gold and russet potatoes make for the creamiest topping, but you can use any potatoes you like. Again, you can keep it dairy free by using cashew butter and milk. Use the same volume of potatoes as you would yuca. 

Brazilian Style Shepherd’s Pie (Escondidinho de Frango)

Ingredients:

For the Yuca Mash

2 lbs yuca root, peeled and cubed
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup whole milk (you can use skim, if you want)
½ tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

For the Chicken

1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup chopped collard greens or kale
1 tablespoon tomato paste
½ cup chicken stock
½ cup white wine (not sweet)
1/4 cup shredded carrots
¼ cup sweet green peas
Kosher salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. Cook the chicken. Put the chicken breasts in a large stock pot and cover with water completely. Add 2 tsp of salt to the water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium. Cover, and simmer until chicken is cooked through (about 20 minutes).
  3. Shred the chicken on a plate with two forks. Set aside. 
  4. In another pot, put your diced yuca root and cover with more salted water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium and cook the yuca until fork tender (20-25 minutes).
  5. While the yuca simmers, melt the butter and warm the whole milk in the microwave for about 1 minute. 
  6. When the yuca is finished, pour in the melted butter and warmed milk. Add in your cracked black pepper and whip with a hand mixer until creamy and uniform. Taste for salt and add more if needed. Set your mashed yuca aside. 
  7. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Pour in a drizzle of oil, and add in your diced onion and carrots. Cook until softened, about 2 minutes. 
  8. Now add in the garlic and cook for another thirty seconds until just fragrant. 
  9. Add the shredded chicken, collard greens, and peas to the pot. Mix in the tablespoon of tomato paste. 
  10. Cover with the white wine and chicken stock. 
  11. Simmer your chicken mixture over medium heat until the liquid has mostly evaporated.  Taste for salt and add more as needed.
  12. Layer your chicken mixture in the bottom of a non-stick casserole dish. 
  13. Spread the whipped yuca mash over the top of the chicken. Top with cheese.
  14. Bake your casserole until the cheese is melted and the yuca is golden brown around the edges (40 minutes). 

Enjoy!

Other Great Recipes to Try:

 

Brazilian Pico de Gallo (Vinagrete)

vinagrete Brazilian pico de gallo on checkered napking

While flame-grilled churrasco meats are delicious on their own, Brazilians like to pair them with a variety of sauces and dips. From chimichurri for a perfect flank steak, to a garlicky mayonnaise for veggies and chicken, there are many fresh and delicious options to choose from. One you may not have heard of is vinagrete. Also known as molho campanha, this condiment is similar to Mexican pico de gallo. It makes a refreshing and zesty topping for chicken, fish, and beef dishes. 

Why is Brazilian Salsa Called “Vinagrete”?

In America and many other parts of the world, “vinaigrette” is synonymous with a kind of dressing that incorporates vinegar and oil. This is precisely why Brazilians call their salsa dip “vinagrete.” 

Unlike salsa or pico de gallo, which use lime juice as a binder, Brazilians use white wine vinegar and olive oil. As a rule, Brazilians have a tendency to name their salads based off of the main binding ingredient. For example, “maionese” is a broad category of salads using mayo as the binder. 

Do You Have to Eat Vinagrete With Meat?

Certainly not! In fact, vinagrete is often eaten with crusty french bread or crackers, similar to Italian bruschetta. It is also commonly paired with feijoada, a black bean stew. The stew is traditionally made with a variety of meats, but you can just as easily exclude these in favor of vegan sausages or more vegetables to bulk it out. 

Is Vinagrete Salsa Spicy?

Brazilian pico de gallo uses bell peppers, so it is not spicy at all! If you prefer a little more heat, you can certainly add a teaspoon or two of minced jalapeno or serranos, or a dash of cayenne. Overall, though, the flavors of vinagrete are meant to be mild, zesty, and crisp. It is often thought of as a tomato “coleslaw,” since it is cooling, crunchy, and a little tangy. 

Cilantro vs Parsley for Brazilian Vinagrete

Traditional vinagrete calls for parsley rather than cilantro. Brazilians use parsley in quite a few recipes, since it has a mild yet noticeably herbaceous flavor. But you can certainly substitute the parsley in this recipe for an equal amount of fresh or dried cilantro. 

Brazilian Pico de Gallo Recipe (Vinagrete)

Ingredients:

3 large tomatoes
1 large white onion
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
¼ cup whole green olives (optional)
1 tsp garlic powder
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley (or 1 tablespoon dried)
¼ cup white wine vinegar
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp salt (or more, to taste)
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Dice your onion, tomatoes, and peppers and place in a medium bowl. Add in the parsley.
  2. In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together your white wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. 
  3. Drizzle your dressing over the vegetables and stir thoroughly to combine.
  4. Pour in a serving dish and top with fresh parsley and a few whole green olives.
  5. Serve at room temperature or chilled. 

Enjoy!

Other Delicious Summer Brazilian Recipes to Try:

Where to Find Churrasco Near You

You can now have premium churrasco meats delivered right to your door. Visit Texas de Brazil’s online Butcher Shop to select your hand-curated box or choose from a la carte options. Or, you can visit one of our 50+ locations nationwide and let our professional gaucho chefs do the cooking for you. 

Brazilian Chicken and Saffron Rice (Galinhada)

Brazilian galinhada made with saffron rice and chicken thighs

Galinhada is a chicken and saffron rice dish from Brazil. This one-pot meal is healthy, delicious, and comes together in less than thirty minutes. Add in the fact that it is gluten-free, and galinhada is sure to become your next go-to meal for a busy weeknight. 

Galinhada comes from the portuguese word “galinha,” which simply means “chicken.” Chicken thighs form the protein of this meal, which is essentially a casserole. Bone-in chicken thighs are seared to crisp the skin, then braised in a fragrant liquid of broth, white wine, saffron, vegetables. Rice is added to the braising liquid and cooks along with the chicken, absorbing the flavorful broth. 

Galinhada Mineira vs Galinhada Goiana

Like many, many dishes in Brazil, there are variations of galinhada depending on which region you are in. The two most prevalent versions are mineira and goiana. The main difference tends to be in the preparation of the chicken. Galinhada mineira uses chunks of chicken, while the goiana recipe calls for whole, bone-in pieces. 

Galinhada goiana also incorporates regional flavors, such as heart of palm, that give it a unique flavor. Today, we are making a mixture of the two recipes. We will be using the traditional mineira ingredients but adding a goiana touch by with whole, bone-in chicken thighs (with the skin).

A Note on Saffron

Saffron is expensive, so you want to get the most flavor and color you can from it. In order to do this, you will need to bloom your saffron in a little hot water for twenty minutes or so before you use it. Simply add your saffron threads to about 2 tablespoons of hot water (hot to the touch, but not boiling). Steep for twenty minutes or until the water takes on a beautiful orange color. 

Many methods for blooming saffron require you to grind the threads beforehand. However, since we are only using a few threads, you can steep them whole and add this liquid to the broth. In the end, your rice will be flavorful and a gorgeous yellow color. 

Saffron Substitutes

If you do not have saffron or do not wish to spend the money on it, turmeric is a worthy substitute. It also has many health benefits, including clinically documented anti-inflammatory properties. The taste is somewhat different, but you will achieve an overall earthy flavor and a comparable yellow color. If you are substituting turmeric in this recipe, use about ¼ to ½ tsp. 

Can I Use Chicken Breast for Galinhada?

Yes, you can use chicken breast or boneless, skinless chicken thighs in this recipe. However, you will want to skip the step where you pan sear the meat to avoid over-cooking. You can also cube the meat beforehand, and your dish will come together even more quickly.

Brazilian Saffron Chicken and Rice (Galinhada)

Ingredients:

5 chicken thighs, skin on and bone in
2 cups of short grain rice
½ large yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large bell pepper, diced (you can substitute a jalapeno or two for some heat)
6-7 saffron threads
¾ tsp ground cumin
¾ cup dry white wine
2.5 cups chicken stock
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 can diced, stewed tomatoes
2 tsp kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ cup green peas (fresh or frozen)
½ cup fresh or frozen corn
Extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

  1. Put your saffron threads in two tablespoons of hot water and let them steep. Meanwhile, heat a large saucepan over medium heat. 
  2. Season your chicken thighs with salt, pepper, and a little cumin. 
  3. Add a drizzle of oil to the pot and sear the chicken skin-side down for 2-3 minutes, until golden and crisp. Sear the other side for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  4. Transfer the seared chicken to a plate. In the same pan, add a little more olive oil and cook your diced onion and bell pepper until softened.
  5. Add in the minced garlic and cook just until you start to smell it (under 1 minute).
  6. Add in the rice and toast with the vegetables for another 2 minutes.
  7. Now, add in the white wine and stir until it reduces by at least half. 
  8. Pour in your chicken stock, bloomed saffron, salt, pepper, tomatoes, and tomato paste and stir to combine. Add the chicken back to the pan, and bring the liquid to a boil.
  9. Once the liquid comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. 
  10. Let the mixture simmer and reduce for thirty minutes, until the rice is tender and has absorbed all the liquid. A few minutes before it is finished, stir in the green peas and corn.

Enjoy!

More Recipes Like This:

 

Homemade Cream Cheese Recipe (Requeijao from Brazil)

Brazilian Cheese Spread is Delicious and Easy to Make

Brazilian cream cheese in glass bowl with wooden spoon

Requeijao is a famous cheese spread in Brazil similar to American cream cheese. Like cream cheese, it has a wide variety of applications, from sweet to savory. It is commonly used in pasta sauces, for example, or spread on top of crusty french bread for an afternoon snack.

Requeijo originated in Minas Girais, a state in Brazil that continues to be the highest producer of milk in the country. In 2015, it is estimated that the state produced over 9 billion liters of milk! Unsurprisingly, many other famous Brazilian milk and cheese dishes have their roots in Minas Girais, including the ubiquitous pão de queijo.

While requeijao is likened in taste to cream cheese, the name is actually Portuguese for “ricotta.” In fact, many homemade recipes for requeijo call for some amount of ricotta. 

The texture of requeijao, however, is unlike either cream cheese or ricotta. It is generally much softer, sometimes even approaching a liquid-like state. In this way, it might be compared to a creme fraiche or thinner sour cream. 

Whatever you compare it to, it is distinctly Brazilian and very delicious. Requeijao is sold in stores and online in a signature pot with a plastic lid. Brazilians eat so much of it that you can find loads of sites dedicated to reusing requeijao pots in craft or DIY projects around the house. 

Luckily, you can avoid a back-log of plastic requeijao containers by making your own Brazilian cream cheese at home. It is extremely simple to make and will keep for up to 10 days in the refrigerator. 

Requeijão Cremoso vs. Requeijão de Corte

Today we are making requeijao cremoso, the creamy spread that cannot be sliced like a hardened cheese.There is another dish in Brazil called requeijao de corte. This is a regional cheese that is mild, yellow in color, and hard enough to cut into slices. 

Questions About Making Brazilian Cream Cheese at Home

Do I have to use whole milk?

No, you can substitute 2 percent milk in place of whole milk. It is not recommended that you use anything leaner than that, though, or you will have a hard time attaining the desired consistency.

What if I don’t have lemon juice?

You can substitute the lemon juice in this recipe for another mild acid, like white vinegar.

Do I have to add parmesan and mozzarella?

No, the addition of these cheeses is completely optional. If you choose to omit them, you will not need as much liquid milk when you blend the ingredients, and you may want to add some additional salt. 

Can I freeze Brazilian cream cheese?

Unfortunately, this recipe does not freeze well. The mixture tends to separate or develop a granular texture. 

Homemade Cream Cheese Recipe (Requeijao from Brazil)

Ingredients:

7.5 cups (60 oz) whole milk
½ cups heavy cream
2 oz lemon juice or vinegar
½ tsp salt
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1.5 tablespoons butter 

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, bring milk to a boil. Remove from heat and add vinegar or lemon juice. Stir until curds begin to form.
  2. Line a colander with cheese cloth and place over a large bowl. Ladle the curds into the colander and press to strain any excess liquid. Rinse curds with cold water to remove any additional vinegar or lemon juice.
  3. Squeeze curds in cheese cloth to remove as much liquid as possible.
  4. Place curds in a blender with salt, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, butter, and half of the whipping cream. Blend until smooth, adding more heavy cream as needed to attain a smooth, spreadable texture. It should be fairly runny (it will thicken as it cools).
  5. Pour cheese mixture into a clean, sealable container. 
  6. Refrigerate for four hours or overnight before using. Store in the fridge for up to 10 days. 

How to Eat Requeijao

There really is no limit on what you can pair with your Brazilian cream cheese. It can be used as a substitute in any recipe that calls for ricotta, as well as a filling for sandwiches, Brazilian cheese bread, and crepes. It makes a delicious sauce for pasta, either mixed with tomato sauce or on its own in macaroni and cheese. 

Brazilian Potato Salad (Maionese de Batata)

brazilian potato salad in a white bowl with fork

Memorial Day Recipes

Memorial Day weekend is the traditional way Americans welcome Summer. Most children are out of school, pools and water parks open, and it is officially backyard barbecue season. 

Brazilians are famous for their barbecue, which substitutes flame-grilled beef, chicken, and sausages for the American burgers and brats. Many of the side dishes are similar to those found at a stateside cookout or potluck, with plenty of mayo-based salads, rolls, and chips and dip

Salads incorporating mayonnaise are so popular in Brazil that they are simply called “maionese.” One of the maionese you are likely to find at a Brazilian barbecue is the maionese de batata-literally, the “mayonnaise salad of potato.” 

The base of the Brazilian version of potato salad will sound very familiar: boiled potatoes, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper. Instead of boiled eggs or green onion, which are popular in the American version, Brazilians add a little sweetness with diced carrots. 

In maionese de batata, the carrots and potatoes are chopped to the same size and boiled together. Finished with a little parsley and plenty of mayonnaise, and you have a basic Brazilian potato salad. 

Many Brazilians like to dress up their salads with additional ingredients. During the holidays, for example, potato salad is served with raisins and sliced apples. You may also find other typical Brazilian additives, like peas, corn, sliced green olives, diced ham, and chopped onion. If you want to be really decadent, top your salad with some crispy batata palha-the ubiquitous Brazilian potato sticks.

In other words, like many Brazilian dishes, this one is highly customizable. Add whatever you like! Just don’t skip the carrots if you want a salad that is uniquely Brazilian. 

Recipe for Brazilian Potato Salad (Maionese de Batata)

Ingredients:

6 medium golden potatoes
4 large carrots
4 oz mayonnaise
¼ cup fresh parsley (or 1 tablespoon dried parsley)
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Peel carrots and potatoes. Dice in about half inch cubes so they are roughly uniform.
  2. Bring a large stock pot to a boil. Add your diced vegetables and cook until the potatoes are fork tender and the carrots have softened. The potatoes will cook faster than the carrots. This means your carrots will still have a little bite to them, and that is exactly what you want.
  3. When your potatoes are tender, remove the vegetables from the heat and strain in a colander. Run cold water over the vegetables to keep them from overcooking. 
  4. Allow your veggies to cool completely before you add your mayonnaise. The texture may be curdled or otherwise unpleasant if the mayo is added when the potatoes and carrots are too warm.
  5. Once cooled, add your mayonnaise, parsley, salt, and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Top with additional fresh parsley. Serve chilled. 

What to Eat With Brazilian Potato Salad

Maionese de batata is designed to pair with grilled meats, like picanha, spicy sausage, or smoky chicken. Texas de Brazil now offers hand-curated butcher boxes with the best cuts of meat delivered right to your door. Try serving home-grilled picanha, Brazilian potato salad, and creamy, refreshing Brazilian lemonade at your next cookout. We guarantee you’ll win barbecue season.

Other Brazilian recipes to try for Memorial Day:

Brazilian Coconut Custards (Quindim)

Bright yellow Brazilian quindim custards

Quindim are a favorite dessert in Brazil, especially in Salvador de Bahia. They are vibrant yellow in color and have a signature shine that make for an enticing little treat. Their texture is cooling and creamy, perfect for the warm summer months. 

Like many of the beautiful dishes in Bahia, quindim are a blend of African and Portuguese traditions. Egg yolks feature heavily in many Portuguese desserts, while the coconut crust in these sweets is of African influence. 

What Does Quindim Mean in English?

The word quindim is also of African origin. It is derived from dikende, a word from the African Kikongo language that means, roughly, “to act like a young girl.”

While it is uncertain why that particular name was chosen for this dessert, we might assume that it has to do with the quindims’ sweetness. There is an old American nursery rhyme that suggests that girls are made of “sugar and spice and everything nice.” Perhaps there is something similar in the folklore of the Kikongo-speaking nations. 

Making Brazilian Quindim

Whatever the reason, one thing is certain: quindim are delicious. And what’s more, they require only a few ingredients and are quite simple to make. They are traditionally served in individual portions from a ramekin or small ring mold, similar mini flan. Occasionally, you will find them in a full-size cake called a quindão, which is offered in slices. 

The quindim get their vibrant yellow color from egg yolks, of which there are quite a few in this recipe. They also incorporate a good deal of sugar and a flavorful coconut crust. Like many custards, the ingredients are mixed together and baked in a bain marie. 

The bain-marie allows heat to be transferred to the custards slowly, letting them cook through before the crust forms and maintaining a creamy, non-grainy texture. It is a technique applied to many baked custards, like creme brulee. 

Quindim are naturally gluten free, and can also be amended to suit a keto diet (see notes below). 

Brazilian Quindim Recipe

Ingredients:

12 egg yolks, strained through a mesh sieve
1 ¼ cup sweetened coconut flakes
¾ cups coconut milk, unsweetened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp real vanilla extract or almond extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Grease a standard muffin tin, mini flan tin, or 12 ramekins with unsalted butter or nonstick spray. Add sugar in each container to coat and then a little extra in the bottoms.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the coconut flakes and coconut milk. Let stand while you proceed to the next step.
  4. Put the sieved egg yolks, vanilla extract, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium speed until the mixture is pale yellow and foamy in texture.
  5. Now add your coconut flakes and coconut milk and mix on low speed to combine.
  6. Pour mixture into prepared muffin tin, mini flan tin, or ramekins. Fill each to about ¾ full.
  7. Place your muffin tin or ramekin in a bain-marie. This is, essentially, a hot water bath. Find a large casserole that your tin or ramekins can fit inside and fill it with water about halfway up the custards.
  8. Bake the coconut custards in the bain marie for 30 minutes. Insert a toothpick or sharp knife in the center of one to check for doneness. If the custard is still liquid, bake for an additional ten minutes.
  9. Remove the quindim from the oven and let it cool. You can serve it directly from the ramekins, but it is better to invert them onto a plate to show off that glossy, sugary topping. Use a cookie sheet to flip your muffin or flan tins before transferring to individual plates.

Recipe Notes:

To make keto-friendly quindim, replace the sweetened coconut flakes with unsweetened shredded coconut. Substitute monk fruit sweetener for the granulated sugar, and you’ll be good to go! 

Other sweet Brazilian recipes to try:

Visit Texas de Brazil for Authentic Brazilian Cuisine

Stop by one of our 50+ locations to sample authentic Brazilian churrasco dishes, from spit-grilled picanha to our melt-in-your-mouth Brazilian cheese bread. Or, go online to our Butcher Shop to get our signature meats delivered right to your door. 

Brazilian Sweet Corn Pudding (Curau de Milho)

Corn Pudding from Brazil

Brazilian sweet corn pudding in red dish with cinnamon stick

The Festas Juninas are fast approaching, and no celebration would be complete without curau. Creamy, sweet, and refreshing, this corn pudding is both delicious and very simple to make. 

Like many festivals in Brazil, the Festas Juninas have their roots in Catholicism. Also known as the Festas de São João, the celebrations are meant to honor John the Baptist and thank him for the rainy season. The festas are likewise an homage to rural traditions and incorporate various costumes, food, and music. 

The Festas coincide with Brazil’s second harvest of sweet corn, so it is no surprise that corn-based dishes feature heavily during the celebrations. Popcorn, cornmeal cakes, and sweet corn pudding are especial favorites and pair beautifully with a warm glass of spiced quentao (Brazilian mulled wine). 

Corn in Brazil

Along with products like coffee, beef, rice, and sugar, corn is one of Brazil’s most important crops in terms of exports. In fact, after the US and China, it is the third largest producer of sweet corn in the world.

Most producers of corn, including the US, have one main crop per season. Brazil, however, is able to harvest three separate crops in different regions and at different times of the year. 

  • The first crop is planted in the Southern region of Brazil between September and October. It is harvested between February and May. This crop is the highest yielding of the three, producing about 100 bushels per acre on average. Once the corn of the first crop has been harvested, it is typically rotated with wheat. 
  • The second corn crop in Brazil is called safrinha, meaning “little harvest” in Portuguese. This is planted in the Midwest after the soybeans have been processed, usually between the months of January and April. It is harvested between June and August and constitutes Brazil’s largest crop in terms of exports, although overall yields are typically smaller than the first crop. 
  • The third Brazilian corn crop was not officially recognized until 2018. There is a smaller but appreciable yield in the North and Northeast region of the country, which is planted from April to September and harvested between October and December. 

Unsurprisingly, corn is a key ingredient in many traditional Brazilian dishes, from cornmeal cake at breakfast to savory pamonhas stuffed with sausage or beef. This corn pudding recipe also incorporates another favorite Brazilian ingredient: sweetened condensed milk

How to Make Brazilian Sweet Corn Pudding (Curau de Milho)

Ingredients:

12 oz fresh corn kernels* (about 8 medium-sized ears)
4 cups whole milk
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1.5 tablespoons butter
¼ tsp salt
Ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Put the fresh corn kernels and whole milk in a blender and blend until well combined. 
  2. Pass the blended corn and milk mixture through a large sieve to remove any pulp.
  3. Heat a saucepan over medium high heat. Put your corn and milk mixture into the pot, along with your butter, condensed milk, and salt. 
  4. Cook over medium heat (stirring occasionally) until the mixture is thickened, with a creamy, pudding-like consistency. This should take 20-30 minutes.
  5. Pour the corn pudding into serving cups and chill for at least one hour.
  6. Dust with ground cinnamon before serving. 

Celebrate with Texas de Brazil

Bring the Festas Juninas right to your door with one of Texas de Brazil’s hand-curated butcher boxes. Our online Grill Packages feature premium cuts of picanha, pork chops, rack of lamb, spicy Brazilian sausage, and more. Upgrade your barbecue game and visit our Butcher Shop to see what we have available for your next cookout. 

Easy Picnic Food Ideas

Brazilian Chicken Salad (Salpicão de Frango)

Brazilian-style chicken salad over lettuce and topped with potato sticks

Brazilians love their mayonnaise, and it features heavily in a variety of dishes and dips. In the summer, salads made using mayo are an especial favorite at barbecues, potlucks, and picnics. They are cooling, but satisfying, and can be made well ahead of time. 

This chicken salad recipe is similar to American versions, but with a few classic Brazilian twists. Corn, shredded carrots, and raisins add sweetness and crunch, and green olives lend a tangy, earthy flavor. And, of course, we top it off with batata palha, the crispy potato sticks Brazilians adore and put on everything from hot dogs to rice. 

If you don’t have the potato sticks, you can get a similar effect by crumbling some ridged potato chips on top. The effect is crunchy, salty, and delicious. 

What is Salpicão in English?

The word salpicao is a Portuguese derivative of the Spanish word salpicon. A salpicon in Spain refers to any number of salad-like dishes combining meat, vegetables, and dressing. It translates most closely in English to a “medley.” 

A similar dish in the UK is referred to as “salmagundi,” a word that is also used in general to describe a medley or hodgepodge of things. 

Healthy Chicken Salad Options

Mayonnaise-based salads are not at the top of the list for diet friendly meals, but you can make a few simple tweaks to this recipe for a chicken salad that is actually quite healthy. For example, you can skip the potato sticks topping all together if you are looking for a healthier version. 

Another way to cut calories in chicken salad is to substitute half of the mayonnaise with nonfat Greek yogurt. (You can replace the mayo entirely with yogurt, but the dressing will not be as creamy.) 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise has a whopping 90 calories. By comparison, 1 tablespoon of nonfat Greek yogurt has about 10 calories, much less fat, and a considerable amount of protein. 

In addition, if you are planning to use your salpicao as a sandwich filling, you can use lettuce cups in place of bread. 

How to Make Brazilian Chicken Salad (Salpicao de Frango)

Makes about 8 servings

Ingredients:

For the Salad:
4  boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 6 oz each)
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
Half of one medium yellow onion, diced (about ¼ cup)
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup sweet corn
½ cup raisins, brown or golden
¼ cup diced green onion
½ cup whole green olives
Brazilian potato sticks or crushed potato chips

For the Dressing:
½ cup of mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin olive oil
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1.5 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil saute your chopped yellow onions until softened (2 minutes or so). Add in the garlic and cook until just fragrant, about 1 minute more.
  2. Place the chicken breasts in with the cooked garlic and onions. Cover with just enough water to fully submerge. 
  3. Add in 2 teaspoons of salt and bring to a boil.
  4. Once the water is boiling, reduce heat to a medium simmer and cook until chicken has reached an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit (about 25 minutes). 
  5. When the chicken is cooked through, remove it and shred it on a plate using two forks. Discard the water in your stock pot. 
  6. While the chicken cools, prepare your dressing. Add mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons olive oil, dijon mustard, and apple cider vinegar to a large bowl and whisk together. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  7. When chicken has cooled to room temperature, add it to the bowl with the dressing. Combine with your carrots, yellow corn, raisins, olives, and green onions and mix until all ingredients are evenly coated with the dressing. 
  8. Top with the batata palha or crushed potato chips.

Pair your chicken salad with a refreshing class of Brazilian lemonade and you have a simple but delicious summer meal. Enjoy!

Brazilian Caldo Verde Recipe (Green Soup)

How to Make Portuguese Green Soupbowl of caldo verde with spoon on table with orange tiles

Caldo verde (“green soup”) is a northern Portuguese dish that is also very popular in Brazil. It is a perfect Springtime dish, being lighter but still satisfying. It gets its name from one of its primary ingredients: collard greens. 

Like other dishes such as corn cakes, peanut toffee, and mulled wine, caldo verde is an especial favorite during the Festivas Juninas, also known as the Festas de São João. This Catholic summer festival honors John the Baptist and is also a celebration of Brazilian rural life.

The soup incorporates many flavors reminiscent of the American South: smoked sausage, collard greens, onions, and garlic. While a Southern soup might call for beans or rice, this recipe uses potatoes for a bit of starch. The potatoes act as a naturally thickener and give the soup a satisfying texture. 

We will be using smoked Brazilian sausage (also known as linguica calabresa), which has a lightly spiced and garlicky flavor. If you do not have smoked linguica, you can substitute with any smoked sausage. Chorizo and andouille are especially good, since they have a similar taste and texture to the linguica. 

You can further customize your soup however you like. Some recipes call for kale in place of collard greens, for example. You could omit the greens entirely, but then it wouldn’t really be a “caldo verde!” If you don’t care for collards or kale, try spinach, Swiss chard, or even bok choi. All have a mild, sweet flavor when they are stewed and lend to the heartiness of this soup.

Brazilian Caldo Verde Recipe (Green Soup)

Ingredients:

6 yellow potatoes, such as Yukon Gold
7 Texas de Brazil hickory smoked sausages, sliced
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 pound collard greens
2-3 tbsp olive oil
8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Remove the stems from your collard greens and slice it into thin strips. You can do this by stacking a few leaves on top of each other, rolling them up, and then slicing them. This is called a “chiffonade.”
  2. Heat a large stock pot over medium heat. Add in 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.
  3. Add the sausage and cook until evenly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the sausage and allow it to drain on a plate lined with paper towels.
  4. Add another drizzle of olive oil to your pot. Put the onions in the pot and cook them until they are softened and translucent, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the minced garlic and cook until just fragrant, about 1 minute.
  6. Add all the potatoes and cover with chicken or vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a medium simmer. Allow to cook until potatoes are fork tender (about 20-25 minutes).
  7. When the potatoes are cooked, remove half of them and set them aside with the sausages.
  8. Using an immersion blender, blend the remaining ingredients in the stock pot until they are smooth and fully incorporated.
  9. Now add the rest of the potatoes, smoked sausage, and collard greens to the pot. Let the greens simmer for a minute or two, until their color brightens and they are slightly softened.
  10. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.

Serve piping hot with a little drizzle of olive oil and some red pepper flakes. Pair your caldo verde with crusty bread or pao de queijo for dipping. 

Visit Texas de Brazil for Your Next Night Out

Texas de Brazil has over 50 locations in the US and internationally. Visit your local restaurant for a truly unique and delicious dining experience. Or, bring the taste of churrasco right to your door with one of our beautifully curated grill packages. Go online to order premium lamb, pork, and sausages-and don’t forget to try our new spiced picanha.

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