Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The name of this main course starts with the letter 'X"

Louise at the blog Months of Edible Celebrations is hosting a picnic. I am a late comer to the game. 

When I wrote to Louise to ask her if I can join in the fun and asked if I could take the letter V, she reverted and said there is only one letter left and that was the X.  Without wasting time, I quickly googled for recipes that start with an X. I was surprised to find a Portuguese dish called “Xerem”. I immediately wrote back to confirmed that I would take the letter X and "bring" Xerem to the picnic party.

Xerem is a traditional stew from the Algarve region of Portugal with ingredients that reflect the region's seaside location and fishing and farming traditions. There is no single list of ingredients but all that I have read list start with a thick porridge made with coarse-ground yellow maize (corn) meal as the base. From that base, there is a departure into many variations that feature combinations of  clams, bacon, sausage and ham.  This was the first time I had heard of this dish and after looking through the ingredients, I suspected it would be a hearty, simple food, that would taste good. After assembling and cooking the stew according to the recipe, I submitted a sample to my Quay Lo for a quick taste test. He suggested that I enhance the flavors by adding garlic, onion and some spices which I did. True enough the dish was considerably more tasty after modification. I served this with crusty whole grain bread and green peas sauteed with butter for lunch. Pei-Lin of Dodol Mochi joined us for lunch and she brought with her a decadent pumpkin pie, which we enjoyed with a large dollop of freshly whipped cream.  I am sure she will soon be sharing with you the recipe. 

Adapted from Celtnet recipes with modification
Ingredients with corn meal soaked in water

4 cloves chopped garlic
1 medium chopped onion
1kg fresh white clams
100g fried bacon
100g chiriso sausage, sliced
100g ham, sliced into strips
200g coarse-ground yellow corn meal
150ml white wine
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp sea salt
1 tbs ground black pepper
1 tsp paprika

Wash the clams thoroughly then leave in a large pan of salted water for at least 2 hours to clean. Mix the maize meal with 250ml water and set aside. Sautee garlic and onion till fragrance and add to the corn mixture. Fry bacon and place on paper towels to absorb the oil and set aside. Add a little butter to a sausage and ham for a few minutes. Add half the wine and continue cooking until the wine has evaporated then take off the heat and set aside. In the meantime, drain the clams and add to a second pan along with the remaining wine and a little water. Cover and steam the clams for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until opened. Remove the clams and extract the meat from the shells (discard any unopened clams). Strain the cooking liquid and retain. Add the clam meat and cooking liquid to a pan and bring to a simmer. Stir-in the soaked maize meal (with the soaking water) and bring to a simmer. Continue cooking, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the maize meal has swelled and is cooked through (the consistency should be that of a thick porridge). Add salt, ground pepper, cardomom and paprika. Transfer to a serving dish, arrange the fried sausage and bacon mix over the top and serve.


  1. got the letter 'X'!!!! It's an Xtreme work on it and I'm glad youve done it proudly. I've never heard of the title before and I've just learnt something new today. Thanks so much for sharing, Veron. This is is already 29th! haha...
    Have fun!

  2. You got the letter X? Your dish looks amazing and you had quite a challenge, but you nailed it! Thanks for sharing.

  3. looks wonderful, as always

  4. Wow. I don't think I would have even attempted anything with the letter X. Way to go!

  5. What a creative "X" dish!

  6. I have just learned a new word...and a new dish:) you take lovely photos!

  7. Quay Po absolutely delicious picnic recipe!!You are so creative, I use Y (he,he) xxgloria

  8. Hey, Veron and Gary. Ah, now that I know why you chose to make Xerém. It was delicious, and I enjoyed it. Thank you so much for the good food, company, and the support and wisdom you've given me. I need anger management. Hahaha!

    Take care. Stay in touch.


  9. Just fabulous Veronica!!!

    I can't believe you actually searched for a recipe that began with the letter X and, went right ahead and whipped it up for our picnic. Amazing!!!

    Thank you so much for playing the Picnic Game. Wait until you see the basket of goodies we'll be feasting on Friday. Bring your appetite!!!

  10. Wow! You sure made the most of a difficult letter! Good for you. This is a marvelous picnic take-along!

  11. Hi Quay Po, This Xerem looks terrific! Thank you for sharing the recipe, its history and origin. One of the few universal languages is food and you so wonderfully display this here...what a fun picnic idea!

  12. Yours was the first I looked at because I was so intrigued by a dish that truly starts with "X" -- and it sounds quite delicious.

    best... mae

  13. I am so impressed that you found a dish that started with X! And it sounds and looks amazing, too...lovely :D

  14. Kudos to you Veronica for not running away having given the letter x. I've never heard of this dish before and was very intrigued reading through your post. You did a fantastic job! The dish looks so yummy and well presented. Thanks for introducing me to this dish.

  15. You are such a good sport! Finding a dish starting with X? I'm in awe...and it looks great!

  16. Glad you found something that starts with the letter 'X'! I bet it tasted great!

  17. @Gstaples Yes, I was lucky, it did not take me long to find it and I managed to submit the recipe in time for the picnic party.

    @Lizzy thanks so much.

    @LeQuan Me too, I never heard of it before, let alone tasted it but I am glad after some modification suggested by my Quay Lo, it taste delicious.

    @girlchef hanks, yes, this turned out to be a tasty dish.

    @Mae thanks for dropping by and if I see a dish start with X, I will be curious to see what it is too. Hope to see you around.

    @Brooks Many thanks for visiting my blog and take time to comment. It is greatly appreciated. I agree with you, food like music is a Universal Language. These two things can bring people together.

    @Barbara Welcome to my blog and appreciate your visit. X is truly the most difficult letter to find a dish that I can make hehe but I am so glad I made it.

    @louise A big thank you for being such a fantastic host! I had so much fun being part of the picnic game. Looking forward to next year and hope this time I will get a letter that has more recipes to select on.

    @Pet-Lin We are always happy to have you. Will buzz you when I cook or bake something nice so that you can drop by after work to share with us. Love to you too my dear.

    @Gloria thanks, I saw your Y dish, you did well too.

    @ Jeannie, same here:D

    @yummychunklet thanks, I saw your Ruguh-Love dessert and I have adapted the idea. I will share the recipe soon.

    @Bare feet in the kitchen Thanks , I was quite nervous when I take on the X and not sure if this Xerem will come out okay. Haha, but you don't try, you don't know right?

    @David Thanks, you are such a good friend to always leaving encouraging words.

    @Betty hehe I did, I did!

    @Kristy I took your advice, I made myself a cup of coffee and take my time to fill in the name of recipes and links for all the letters before me. Hey, thanks for all the help dear.

  18. I bet your additions really made the dish!

  19. Hi Veronica!
    I was just preparing an update post for the Picnic Game this year and I remembered what a champ you were coming up with this dish. I'm referring to this link as an example for this year's Picnic Game so I thought I would pop by and say hi! Louise

    P.S. I'm so sorry I haven't had a chance to come by and personally invite you this year but it's been rather hectic. You are of course more than welcome to join in again. I do understand though, it is rather late but it doesn't end until June 29th and there are still 4 letters left including the letter X lol...

    Thanks again, Veronica..drop by when you have minute:)


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