The Francesinha

So since Portugal won the euros (something I knew a lot about living opposite a Portuguese restaurant!) I felt it only appropriate to try their national sandwich. Which brings us to the Francesinha. It’s name, meaning frenchie in Portuguese, is inspired by the french croque-monsieur; I imagine someone looked at it’s meat and cheese and realised, you know what’s missing here? Alcohol. And more meat for good luck. So yeah it’s basically croque-monsieur on steroids. And delicious!

2 slices of white bread
1 egg
4 cooked chipolatas
5 slices of cheddar cheese
2 slices of ham

For the sauce:
Small knob of butter
1 small carrot, grated
1 small onion, thinly chopped
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp tomato paste
15ml whisky
100ml beer
120ml milk
1tsp tobasco sauce
2tsp cornflour mixed with 1tbsp water

Method: (found on

1. For the sauce, heat the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over high heat and add the carrot, onion and salt and cook, stirring regularly, for five minutes until the vegetables are caramelised and fragrant. Stir through the tomato paste and cook a further minute, then add the bay leaf, port, beer and milk, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes, then stir through the cornflour and piri-piri until the sauce is thickened. The sauce should be the consistency of thin gravy. Strain the sauce to remove any solids, adjust for seasoning and keep hot until ready to serve.

2. For the sandwich, toast the bread and butter it lightly. Fill the sandwich with the cooked meats and top with another slice of bread. Lie the cheese slices over the top slice of bread so they overhang the sides of the sandwich. Grill the sandwich so the melted cheese wraps the bread.

3. To serve, top the sandwich with a fried egg and place it in a deep dish. Pour over the hot Francesinha sauce or serve in a small jug to add as desired.



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