Grace's Mosaic Moments

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Spain & Portugal 4

Before we finish off our trip to the Iberian Peninsula, here is a recipe which deserves to be passed along. Every year I put half a pound of Jimmy Dean sausage into my turkey stuffing for Thanksgiving and freeze the rest for cassoulet. Cassoulet might be called France's downhome recipe for everyday eating with delight. I've had this particular recipe for more years than I care to remember, and its piquant taste never fails. I've also added a few of my "extras" to an addendum at the end. 


½ lb. bulk pork sausage
1 small onion, sliced (½ cup)
1 clove garlic, minced
½ lb. (1½ cups) cooked ham, cubed
2 tablespoons snipped parsley
1 bay leaf
2 15-oz. cans navy beans
¼ cup dry white wine
Dash ground cloves [don't overdo it!]

In skillet, cook sausage [breaking it into small pieces], onion, and garlic till meat is lightly browned and vegetables are tender; drain off excess fat. Add ham, parsley, and bay leaf; mix well. Stir in undrained beans, wine, and cloves. Pour into 1½-qt casserole.* Bake, covered, in 325° oven for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 40 to 45 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaf. Serve in bowls. Makes 6 servings.

*I use a 2-2½-qt casserole.
I also add 4 or 5 whole green peppercorns and fresh garden herbs.
If desired, a drained can of chick peas may be substituted for one of the cans of beans. (Add a bit more wine.)
For the ham, I usually get a single slice of Black Forest ham, a half-inch thick, at the Publix Deli.

~ * ~

And now to finish off the travels of Tina, Nicki, and Grace through the Iberian Peninsula . . .

We crossed the border back into Portugal at its southern coast. Below, a look at the cliffs at Sagres.

We arrived at Villamouro, a coastal resort full of fancy hotels, beaches, boutiques, restaurants, and expensive boats in a U-shaped harbor.

The beach in front of our hotel

Our hotel's indoor pools

We decided to take a boat trip to see something called "the grottoes." One of our party took one look at the boat, started humming the theme from Gilligan's Island, and walked back down the dock. The rest of us decided it wasn't the Minnow and stayed on board. Ours is the one with brown stripe toward the back of the line-up below, a power boat, not sail.

A portion of the harbor - Villamouro, Portugal

Perched on a clifftop

Some people live really well, but swimming - not so much. Even if a small sand beach could be found, the climb down & back up would be daunting. One presumes that's a pool at the front of this mansion. The view, however, must be spectacular.

After many minutes of spectacular cliffs, an occasional town, and numerous resorts and private residences, we arrived at "the grottoes," where our boat plunged through humungous waves in order for us to get a good look at what we'd paid to see. Thoughts of S. S. Minnow chased through our heads. It seemed only splinters would be left if we got any closer.

One of several "grottoes"

Grotto close-up - note pass-thru to sandy beach

When we returned to Villamouro harbor at dusk, a fisherman had just laid out his catch for the day, a small shark.


And, finally, as our group headed back toward Lisbon and our flight home, we got to see cork trees. They can only be harvested every nine years. Below, an unharvested branch. And a harvested trunk.

Branch of a cork tree

Cork tree - bare
All I can say after our tour of Spain and Portugal is to urge more people to visit. The Iberian Peninsula is full of history, wondrous sights, and friendly people. Consider it for your next vacation.

Thanks for stopping by,


Coming soon: The Challenges of World Building

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