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Vinha De Alhos (How to prepare turkey in the Portuguese style)

Vinha De Alhos (How to prepare turkey in the Portuguese style)

Vinha De Alhos

On Maui, when Amaryllis met her Portuguese boyfriend she was introduced to the world of Portuguese cooking. His father loved to cook Vinha De Alhos! (pronounced vinga doyzh.) The vinha is the vinegar brine used to soak the meat or fish before they’re roasted. Four days before Thanksgiving, Richard takes a cleaned, thawed bird and places it in the roasting pan. He pours ½ gallon of apple cider vinegar over it and adds spices like garlic powder, onion flakes, allspice and a few cups of water. He places it inside a large plastic bag. It goes back into the refrigerator to marinate in the vinegar bath. He turns it several times over the next three days to distribute the brine.

Somehow, by osmosis, the turkey takes in the juices and flavor. He drains off all the vinegar and returns it to the pan. Under the skin of the bird he stuffs pieces of butter.The skin is rubbed with vegetable oil, sprinkled with salt, covered with foil and baked at 350 degrees for the first half hour, then lowered to 325 degrees, as instructed (20 minutes per pound).The foil is removed the last hour to brown the skin. Pierce the skin and the juices just flow! They fill the pan with wonderful juice like never before. The turkey is removed to the side to cool and all the meat is removed by shredding or pulling it off the bones. The dark and light meats are combined together onto a large platter.

The juices are reheated to pour over the turkey!

Ingredients for Vinha De Alhos

1/2 gallon apple cider vinegar

used for turkey, chicken, pork, or fish

1 part water

3 parts vinegar

onion powder, salt and pepper


garlic flakes

1 bay leaf


Rinse meat and dry with paper towels, then add the brine,
soak overnight up to 3 days for turkey; turn each day, and baste in the fridge. Drain off the liquid, place in the roasting pan, salt inside and outside of the bird. Stuff butter under the skin of the breasts and rub with oil, then put into preheated 350 degree oven for first half-hour. Lower heat to 325 degrees and cook as instructed, 20 minutes per pound. Remove foil for the last hour, so the bird can brown.

Richard prepares his dressing outside of the bird. (It would get too wet inside this type of preparation.)

The family can’t wait to taste the Vinha De Alhos (vingadoyzh).
People seem to love their own parents’ style at the holidays, because that is what made their memories so rich. Amaryllis likes to please all, so she prepares two turkeys now.

She prepares a turkey the night before, in the Vingadoyzh style, and, on Thanksgiving Day, another, stuffed with her favorite style of bread stuffing with sage, apples, walnuts, raisins, celery, onions, and sausage.

She does a whole-cranberry sauce using the fresh juice of an orange that is bright and delicious. Her family loves the canned, jellied kind but this new version was so well received.

Boil together 1 cup of sugar , 1 cup of water , the juice of 1 orange, and 1 bag of cranberries til they pop!

Next see how to make stuffings (From the Book Amaryllis of Hawaii Loves to Cook “Recipes for Life.”