Portuguese Feast to Honor Our Lady of Fatima

Today marks the Feast Day of Our Lady of Fatima. For those who are Catholics, this is a familiar story taught in Catechism to strengthen our devotion to the Rosary. For those less familiar, let me take a moment to give you a little background. Our Lady of Fatima is a beautiful story of faith. As with all appearances of Our Lady, it is only faith that lets one believe.

Between May 13 and October 13, 1917, Our Lady appeared to three shepherd children near Fatima, a city 110 miles north of Lisbon. Our Lady let her presence be knows to the Portuguese children, Francisco (age 9) and Jacinta (age 7), and their cousin Lucia (age 10). While all three children experienced these visitations, Our Lady spoke directly to Lucia, the eldest child, during each of her six monthly appearances.

Jacinta and Francisco Marto are pictured with their cousin Lucia dos Santos (right) in a photo taken around the time of the 1917 apparitions of Mary at Fatima, Portugal.

The children had asked during one of Mary’s visits that they be taken to heaven to be with Our Lord. Mary told them that the day would come soon for Jacinta and Francisco. However, Lucia would remain longer to spread her message. Saint Francisco dies in 1919; and Saint Jacinta died the following year. Lucia went on to become a nun, and died on February 13, 2005 at the age of 97.

Sister Lucia
A meeting between Pope John Paul II and Sister Lucia in Fatima May 13. 2000

The Feast of Our Lady of Fatima is in remembrance of her first appearance to the three shepherd children. While some have distorted the revelations of Our Lady of Fatima, the message is not one of an apocalyptic event, but rather a message of peace through prayer, love and understanding. If you would like to learn more, there are a number of sites dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima.

The recipes for this feast are arranged in the logical order of serving, and not in the order prepared. The Pork Roast needs to marinate at least two days, but could marinate as long as three weeks. I let mine marinate for three days at the most, simply because it takes up valuable refrigerator space.  Once ready to cook, the roast is almost three hours from oven to table. If you only have one oven, it would be best to bake the Tartlets in the morning, and the roast later in the day. Also, you should bake the dinner rolls the day before. These can be served room temperature or warmed just before serving.

Portuguese Feast to Honor Our Lady of Fatima
Tomato, Avocado and Corn Salad
Marinated Pork Roast with Carrots and Potatoes
Warm Portuguese Dinner Rolls
Portuguese Custard Tartlets

Tomato, Avocado and Corn Salad
1/2 cup Grape Tomatoes
1 Red onion chopped
1/2 cup Corn
1 tablespoon Cilantro, chopped
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Avocado
1/2 Lime, juice only

Cut tomatoes in half and place in a large mixing bowl.

Peel and chop red onion, add to the tomatoes.

Rinse corn, add to the tomato mixture.

Chop a little cilantro, sprinkle over the salad.

Toss with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

Just before serving, peel and cut the avocado into bite size pieces. Squeeze the juice of half a lime over the avocado. Toss to incorporate. Serve at once and enjoy.

Marinated Garlic Pork Roast
5 lb fresh Pork Shoulder Roast
1 small Potato, washed
Kosher salt
20 Black Peppercorns
10 Garlic Cloves, chopped
4 whole Bay Leaves, broken in half
1 tablespoon Ground Cumin
1 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 cup Red Wine
1 1/2 lbs Carrots, peeled
4 lbs whole White Potatoes, peeled

Place the roast in a large roasting pan. Disposable foil pan would work. It must fit in the refrigerator, covered for several day or longer.

Pour in cold water until the meat is totally under water, and then remove the meat to make the brine.

Place the potato into the pan of water and slowly add kosher salt as you constantly stir. Once the potato starts to rise off the bottom of the pan, you have enough salt. Remove the potato. Then add the peppercorns, garlic, bay leaves, cumin, vinegar and wine and stir. Return the meat to the pan with the skin side up. Marinate in the refrigerator for 2 days or up to 3 weeks.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Peel carrots and potatoes. Set aside.

Remove the pork from the brine and place in a 6-inch-high roasting pan. Strain the brine and set aside. Add the carrots and potatoes to the pan. Pour 2 to 3 cups brine over the meat and cover the pan with aluminum foil. Roast for 2 hours, basting every 30 minutes.

When the skin starts to separate from the pork, turn the oven to 450 degrees and roast until the skin is crispy, another 30 minutes.

Pull the pork from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes. Slice and serve with the carrots, potatoes and crispy skin.

Portuguese Dinner Rolls
2 Teaspoons Sugar
2 Cups lukewarm Water
1 Package of Dry Yeast
5 Cups Flour
2 tablespoon Butter, softened
1 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoons Shortening
Flour as needed for kneading

Dissolve the sugar in 1/2 cup of the lukewarm water. Sprinkle the yeast into this mixture and stir slightly. Set aside for 10 minutes.

Measure 5 cups of flour into a large bowl. Add the slightly softened butter. Add the yeast mixture to the flour. Stir using a hand-held bread hook or large fork.

Gradually add the remainder 1 1/2 cups of the water, while stirring. The dough will become sticky. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface for kneading.

Have extra flour close by for your hands and the surface. Knead the dough for 10 minutes. Dust hand and board as needed with flour to keep the dough from sticking. Add the salt with the final knead. After the kneading is complete, form the dough in a smooth ball. Grease a bowl large enough for the dough to double in size. Grease hands with the shortening and rub gently over the dough surface.

Once the dough has doubled in size, punch down. Form the dough into a round flat disk and cut like a pie into 16 pieces. Roll each of the 16 pieces into a ball and then flatten to approximately 3 inches in diameter.

For each pop form a 3 inch diameter disk. Use the side of your hand to make an impression down the center.

Fold the pop in half and pinch the edges together. You can have the seam along the side as I do here or the seam can be right down the center of the top. Pinch the ends to a slight point. Place these formed pops about 2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Cover and let rise 50 minutes in a draft free area. I used parchment paper. At 450 degrees F the parchment paper could burn, and is not recommended.

These are ready to bake. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. The top rack is recommended to avoid burning the bottom of the pop.

Portuguese Custard Tartlets
3 Egg Yolks
1/2 cup Sugar, ground superfine
2 tablespoons Cornstarch
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
2/3 cup Milk
2 teaspoons pure Vanilla extract
2 refrigerated Pie Crusts
Nutmeg for sprinkling

Separate the eggs, placing the yolks in a saucepan off heat.

If using superfine sugar, add to the yolks. If using regular sugar, grind superfine using a small food processor fitted with a blade. In a pinch, regular sugar will work fine.

Add cornstarch to the eggs, whisking everything together.

Gradually beat in the cream and milk until smooth.

Place the pan over medium heat, and stirring constantly, cook until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil.

Remove from the heat, and stir in the vanilla extract.

Transfer the custard to a bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming, and leave out to cool.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease two 24 count mini muffin pans. Set aside.

Remove pie crust from refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. Unroll dough one crust at a time on a lightly floured board.

Using a biscuit cutter, cut rounds from them.

Gather the left-over pastry scraps and re-roll, cutting more rounds as needed.

Press one round into each mini muffin hole.

Spoon the cooled custard into the pastry cases, sprinkle with nutmeg and bake until the pastry and custards are golden, about 20 minutes.

Leave the tarts in the pan for 5 minutes, and then remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in the refrigerator.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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