Chouriço & Peas (Ervilhas com Chouriço)


My father migrated to the United States from St. Michael, Portugal in 1966 when he was just 11 years old.  His family, two parents, 7 sisters and a brother couldn’t all come together at the time, although  they eventually all made it through.  He has told me time and time again the story of the long journey that took them first to family who lived in Canada before settling in their final destination of Fall River, Massachusetts.  His most vivid memory of that trip is the first meal he ate with his Portuguese-Canadian family as they arrived and it was “Ervilhas com Chouriço” – Chourico and Peas.

I have often tried to imagine what it must have been like for my adolescent father and the thousands of other children to include my mother (age 9) who emigrated here in the 1960’s from Portugal.  They came to America, with their families, in search of a new life – a better life for their children.  They left behind family and friends and everything they knew.  I try to imagine, at the tender age of 11, trying to learn a new language. I imagine entering a school where everyone including all my teachers can not communicate with me.  To learn a new culture and a new way of doing just about everything.   What becomes vivid to me is being scared, excited, confused and very dependent on anything familiar I might come upon.  So, nearly 50 years later, my father recalls his family in Canada serving him and his siblings and parents “Ervilhas com Chouriço” a Portuguese comfort food.  Funny how food has a way of comforting and connecting people.

Here is my version of “Ervilhas com Chouriço”:


Start out by chopping onions. For this recipe, I like to quarter and then slice.


Add onions to a pot with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat, saute.


This is Portuguese Chouriço. It is a bit different from its cousins, Spanish and Mexican Chorizo. It comes in two varieties, hot and mild. (If you only have chorizo available in your area, that is a fine substitute)


sliced chourico

Slice chouriço fairly thinly. I like to go about 1/8″, if you like it thicker, be my guest. But, this recipe calls for one link of chouriço, so slicing thinly ensures everyone gets plenty in their portion.


Mince up about a clove or two of garlic.

chourico and onions

Add garlic and chouriço to your pot and continue to saute over medium heat.


Add 2 lbs. frozen peas. I use frozen peas because we are not quite in the season for fresh peas and I find frozen peas to be far superior to canned. If you have fresh peas available, by all means use them.


Add in one can of beer. (An ale is best for this recipe, whatever you have in the fridge or left over from your last party) If you prefer not to use alcohol or are on a gluten-free diet, just add in about 16 oz of chicken stock.


Pepper! This has to be my favorite Portuguese ingredient. Ground Portuguese red pepper… My family grinds our own pepper each year and preserve it to use all year long. Our pepper is not terribly spicy because we remove most of the seeds and inner flesh before grinding, so be careful, know what you are using.

all spice

Portugese all spice. Please don’t be confused by the allspice you put in your pies at Thanksgiving… This is not that. This is paprika based and has a bit of turmeric some orange peel and some mystery spice. If you don’t have this available, just use a run of the mill paprika. (Adding a smoked paprika will change the flavor of the dish, if you like that, go for it, but be aware, this all spice is not smokey)

tomato sauce

1/2 cup of plain tomato sauce.


Add in the sauce, pepper and spice along with a pinch of salt, stir. Continue cooking over medium heat.


Turn down heat to a medium/low. Stir periodically and allow to cook for about 15-20 mins.

egg in pot

Last step… gently add in whole cracked eggs one at a time and nestle them in their own little spots in the pot. I like to give everyone an egg. So I put as many eggs as people I plan to feed.


And here is your completed Chouriço & Peas dish. Enjoy!

Chouriço & Peas recipe:

(serves 4-6)

1/2 lb. Hot Chouriço, sliced

2 lbs. frozen (or fresh) peas

1 medium yellow onion, quartered and sliced

1 T. ground red pepper

1/2 cup tomato sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 can beer

2-3 T. olive oil

1/2 t. Portuguese all spice

4-6 eggs

kosher salt to taste


In a large pot saute onions in olive oil over medium heat.  Add in chouriço and garlic, saute.  Add in fresh or frozen peas, mix and then immediately add in beer, tomato sauce, pepper, all spice and salt.  Bring to a boil and turn down heat to medium low.  Cook for 15-20 mins.  Add in eggs one at a time.  Cook 5-6 mins.  Enjoy!

note: For gluten-free preparation, substitute beer with chicken stock or a gluten-free beer.




6 thoughts on “Chouriço & Peas (Ervilhas com Chouriço)

  1. Cristina says:

    I’m in Portugal, but I don’t add the red ground pepper nor any kind of salt because the chouriço has enough seasoning for the food. This way I avoid hypertension (tensão arterial alta). And what is exactly the Portuguese all spice? Colorau? Açafroa?

    • Stacy says:

      Each chouriço company has a different makeup in flavor… You definitely need to know what the flavor of the sausage you are using is. If you have a spicier chouriço, then yes reduce the pepper used or leave it out altogether. I also use the crushed pepper we make ourselves for the flavor, there is very little spice to it if any. Salt is always to taste as well. Have fun with it! Portuguese All Spice as shown in the picture is something that is imported here from Portugal, it includes paprika, turmeric, orange peel and some kind of mystery spice… If you don’t have it available to you, then using a little paprika is fine too.

  2. Jeanne Amaral says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story and recipe. I went to Amaral’s market in Fall River, MA this morning and picked up all I would need to make this dish. I will think of your Dad when it is served for dinner.

  3. Gil says:

    Did you mean 2 cups of peas or 2 lbs. I put in the 2 lbs but definitely needed to add another beer. It came out delicious.

    • Stacy says:

      2 pounds of frozen peas. The recipe calls for one can of beer because it is supposed to be a stew, if you find that your peas are too dry, then turn the burner down and cook on a lower heat setting, also be sure to cover your pot when simmering. It should not need an additional beer. I’m glad you liked it 🙂

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