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What is Linguiça?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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Linguiça is a type of sausage which comes from Portugal. It is also known as linguica or linguisa. The sausage is distinguished by a mildly spicy flavor tempered with a smoking process which makes the sausage flavorful and tender. Linguiça can be found in soups and breads, and it is also used for things like sandwich fillings.

There are a number of ways to obtain linguiça. Many grocery stores carry it, especially in regions with a sizable Portuguese community. A specialty butcher may also make linguiça, along with an assortment of other cured and smoked meats. Finally, linguiça can be ordered from a company which specializes in traditional Portuguese foods. Some companies import linguiça for their customers, while others make it on site, along with other Portuguese sausage favorites like Chourico.

The primary ingredient of linguiça is pork butt, which is cut into rough pieces and mixed with spices. Pork butt tends to be lean, resulting in a leaner sausage with a more meaty flavor. Common spices in linguiça include oregano, paprika, garlic, pepper, cumin, and sometimes cinnamon. These spices are mixed thoroughly with the uncooked meat, which is allowed to rest before being forced into sausage cases.

Some cooks brine their linguiça in a vinegar and salt mixture overnight before smoking it, while others mix the brine in with the meat before making the sausages. In either case, the brine mellows the flavor of the sausage and adds a distinct flavor. The resulting sausage can be eaten fresh, but it is more often smoked to make it more durable. Usually, linguiça needs to be stored under refrigeration or frozen, and it will need to be cooked before being eaten.

Linguiça can be used like other sausages in an assortment of foods. It makes an excellent pizza topping, especially for people who prefer more mild sausage. It can also be tossed with pasta, kneaded into bread dough, or served hot in a sandwich heaped with an assortment of roasted vegetables. As with all pork products, make sure that linguiça is cooked thoroughly before serving.

For a classic Portuguese soup, try simmering sliced linguiça in a rich stock with vegetables such as carrots, kale, and potatoes. Add white beans towards the end, and serve hot with crusty bread and oil or butter. You can also use an assortment of Portuguese sausages in this soup for a more complex flavor, and when they are in season, fresh fava beans make an excellent addition to the soup.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By chicada — On Aug 16, 2010

@ GlassAxe- If you are looking to buy linguica, the best places are specialty markets and fine food markets. I like to add linguica to paella. It is a great sausage to add to the saffron infused rice dish. Linguica, clams, mussels, and whole prawns make for a good dish, especially when made in a good paella pan. The rice caramelizes on the bottom of the pan, creating a crispy treat that perfectly complements the creamy paella. You can buy a good paella pan online.

By GlassAxe — On Aug 16, 2010

Where can I find linguica? I don't know of any Portuguese markets, or sausage makers in my city. What are some other dishes for linguica? I would like to try this sausage, but I don't know where to get it, or how to cook it.

By FrameMaker — On Aug 16, 2010

Linguica is a great sausage. It has a great flavor, and it is nice and lean. I like to cook linguica in a saute pan with chorizo, olives, garlic, red onions, and poblano peppers. Serve with some grilled bread brushed with olive oil, and a good cheese. I like drunken goat or manchego.

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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