Pig in a boat. Assador de barro

"....They dined on mince and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon....."
You might well be forgiven for thinking so but an assador de barro is NOT a Portuguese Toast Rack.
If you’ve ever been to Portugal, you may have seen a lot of clay articles on display in souvenir shops which look pretty, but you’re not really sure what they’re for. Point in case: the images below.

You might wonder why you’d want a little clay boat thingamajig with some pretty paintings on it. Trust
me, you do want it! It’s called an assador and I’m going to explain exactly what its for.
Assador in Portuguese means ‘spit’, as in rotisserie, and barro means clay, so this is a spit made of clay. Grilling it on the assador de barro is great fun, and the most unadulterated way to enjoy this taste of
Portugal, and its really easy.
Portuguese chourico is extremely flavoursome and has just the right degree of spice. Grilled Chourico, or Chouriço Assado, is a very traditional technique of flame grilling this delicious sausage. It utilizes a signature ceramic bowl called a assador de barro for cooking the chourico along with some aguardente or bagaceira, high content alcohol, to flame grill the chourico in an easy and quick way.
This is at the perfect snack to enjoy in the summer alongside a cold drink like a Portuguese beer.
Find yourself some best quality artisan Portuguese chouriço, and remove the packaging. Add some pure alcohol to the bottom of the assador ( you can add some medronho to the mix, to add flavour if you want but apparently, Aguardente is used instead of Medronho because Medronho affects the taste of the sausage.). Make small incisions or poke the chouriço with the tines of a fork or a skewer and place it on the slats.

Chouriço assado
Serves 2-3
2 chourico links
1 cup “aguardente” high percentage clear alcohol
1 “assador de barro” ceramic cooking bowl (any medium sized bowl will do as long as the chourico can rest above the alcoholic liquid below)

1) Lay the chourico out on a cutting board.
2) With a knife, make small cuts along the length of the chourico link in order to allow the insides of the sausage to be cooked as well.

3) Lay the chourico out over the assador de barro ceramic bowl.
4) Pour the cup of high content alcohol over the chourico and into the below bowl.
5) Be careful to let the alcohol drip out of the bowl in order to not burn anything but the chourico.
6) Now use a long lighter to light the liquid below and begin flame grilling the chourico.
7) Let the chourico flame grill until the alcohol runs out and the outside of the chourico should be well burned and crispy.
8)) Once done, slice and serve immediately while hot.

The number of shapes of assadores you can find in Portugal are almost as many as the varieties of chouriços and enchidos (sausages). A common shape for an assador is a pig. But I was rather drawn to this more unusual one I found online.It is a black clay one from Molelos (below)  Molelos is known for its unusual black clay pottery (pots, pans and kitchenware). It’s a rather stylish item for a modern kitchen or if you just prefer the simplicity of the solid black colour.


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