A Love of Tomatoes

The versatility and ease of growing is why the tomato is in residence in 90% of home gardens.

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Ana Patuleia Ortins

Cookbook author Ana Patuleia Ortins is a first-generation descendant of Portuguese immigrants.

Sweet Tomato Preserves

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1. Remove the stems from the tomatoes. Using a sharp knife, score a slight cross hatch at the base of the tomatoes. Plunge the tomatoes in boiling water for 1 minute. Remove the tomatoes (skin should be starting to separate) and plunge into ice water. Peel off the skins, remove the seeds and coarsely chop the tomatoes. Let the tomatoes sit in a sieve set over a bowl several hours or overnight to drain excess juice.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine the tomatoes with the sugar, cinnamon stick, lemon peel and salt. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 to 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring frequently, until thickened and reduced by about two thirds, 45 minutes to one hour. You should be able to see the bottom of the pot when you draw a flat-sided wooden spatula through the jam.

3. Remove and discard the lemon peel and cinnamon stick. Pack in small jars and store refrigerated, using within 3 weeks.
* The jam will thicken as it cools. Spread on toast, crackers, or use as a filling for cakes.
*This jam can also be canned.

Tomato Rice

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1. Heat the oil or bacon in a 2.3 liter (2-1/2 quart) saucepan over medium heat. (If using bacon, remove crisp bits after fat is rendered.) Add the onion and sauté until lightly colored. Reduce the heat to low, and stir in the tomatoes and garlic. Cover and cook until the tomatoes are soft and partially dissolved, about 15 minutes. If using tomato paste make sure it is well-blended.

2. Add the broth or water and bring to a boil. Add the salt and rice, stir and cover. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer for about 15 minutes.

3. Stir in the parsley and continue cooking until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 5 to 10 minutes more depending on the variety of rice you use.

4. Lightly oil and fill a 118 ml (1/2 cup) custard cup firmly, and immediately invert onto serving plates. Remove the cup mold, center a black olive on top of the rice, and serve.

Portuguese Stewed Chicken

Portuguese Stewed Chicken Photo credit: Eva Baughman
“The combination of tomatoes cooked with onions and garlic in olive oil in this one pot dish is an aromatic marriage that entices the palate.”


1. Heat the oil in a 4.7 liter (5-quart) Dutch oven. Add the onions and sauté until lightly golden, 10 to 15 minutes.

2. Stir in tomato, paprika, garlic, and bay leaf. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the tomatoes are soft and partially dissolved, about 15 minutes.

3. Pour in the wine, if using, and simmer for 2 more minutes. Add the chicken and 828 ml (3 1/2 cups) water, or as needed to just cover the chicken. Cover the pot tightly and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes.

4. Add the rice, salt, and pepper. Stir, cover, and continue to simmer for another 20 minutes. Stir in the peas and 15 ml (1 tablespoon) of the parsley. Simmer until the chicken is nearly falling-off-the-bone tender, about 5 more minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Let the stew rest for 10 minutes before serving. The rice should be tender, and the liquid should be almost absorbed. Garnish with remaining 15 ml (1 tablespoon) parsley, and serve.