Cabidela: A traditional Portuguese Delicacy

It’s been a while! After my old traditional butcher shop closed down, and the farm I used to order from stopped delivering downtown, I had to find a new provider for pig’s blood. And let me tell you, summertime was not the best time for it! High temperatures make it difficult to transport blood in the proper conditions. After a lot of fruitless inquiries, and with the coming of Autumn, I finally found that I was looking for. I met a great couple at the local farmer’s market who raise free range, organic forest pigs, and they kindly listened to my request. Here I am, a week later, with my order of 6 liters of fresh, free range pig’s blood.

And so today we bring you a Portuguese delicacy : Cabidela de arroz! A dish of chicken and rice traditionally cooked with the chicken’s own blood. Since it’s pretty difficult to get poultry blood these days (unless you slaughter your own animals) pig’s blood will do just fine.

This dish is extremely simple, but let me tell you…it’s amazingly good! Smooth, rich, and flavorful. The broth and high quality chicken is really what makes this dish shine. Try to get yellow chicken from a local farmer, and use homemade chicken broth if possible. Believe me, you’ll see the difference!

Anyway, here it is :

Ingredients (for 4)

  • 2 Chicken leg quarters
  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup fresh pig’s blood
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 laurel (bay) leaves
  • 50 grams pork belly (optional)
  • 2 finger chilies (I used a little dried habanero)
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Mix the red wine vinegar with the blood, set aside.
  2. In a large pan fry the minced onion and garlic with hot olive oil.
  3. Add the chicken meat and let it braise for about 15 minutes or until it’s nicely golden.
  4. Add the chicken broth, laurel, salt and pepper. Cover and let cook 30 minutes over medium heat.
  5. The broth should have reduced a little, so add water to the pan and then the rice. Cover and let simmer until the rice is just about done.
  6. Add the blood and vinegar mixture to the pan, stir, cover again and let cook for an additional 2-5 minutes.
  7. Remove from the pan and serve with a little sprinkle of cilantro.

Notes and Tips:

You can let the water evaporate and get more of a risotto consistency or leave more water and eat it as a stew. Both work great.



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