Delicious Alcatra Recipe: A Brazilian Classic!

Are you tired of the same old pot roast recipe? Do you crave something new and full of flavor? Look no further than Alcatra, a traditional Portuguese pot roast that will not disappoint.

Alcatra is a dish with deep roots in the Azores, specifically on the island of Terceira. It features succulent beef seasoned with garlic, bay leaf, and an array of spices that create a rich, flavorful broth. The addition of salty bacon and tangy tomato paste only adds to the depth of flavor in this dish.

While traditionally cooked in a clay pot and slow-roasted over an open fire, Alcatra can be easily prepared in your modern kitchen using a roasting pan or a slow cooker. And if you’re worried about finding uncommon ingredients to make this dish, don’t be – everything you need can be found at your local grocery store.

In this article, I will guide you through making the perfect Alcatra – tender meat infused with flavors that sing on your tongue. You’ll learn how to season the meat properly, what substitutions can be made for certain ingredients, how to pair the dish with the perfect sides and wine, and more.

Let’s dive in and discover why Alcatra should become your next go-to beef recipe.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Alcatra ( Portuguese Pot Roast With Wine, Bacon & Garlic)
Alcatra ( Portuguese Pot Roast With Wine, Bacon & Garlic)

Portuguese Alcatra is a dish with a unique and rich flavor that will warm your soul. This dish is perfect for both meat lovers and wine enthusiasts, as it combines tender beef roast with aromatic spices and a healthy amount of red or white wine to create a complex, savory flavor. There are many reasons why you’ll love this recipe, but I’ll give you a few.

First off, it’s incredibly easy to prepare. You only need a few simple ingredients, including boneless beef rump roast, garlic, onions, lean bacon, bay leaves, white wine or red wine – and before you know it, you’ll have a delicious pot roast. Whether you’re using a clay pot or slow cooker, it will be cooked to perfection in no time.

Secondly, this dish is perfect for entertaining. Impress your friends and family with this classic Portuguese dish that’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser. The aroma of slow-cooked beef mixed with wine and garlic will fill your home with an irresistible smell that can’t be ignored.

Thirdly, this recipe has numerous variations and substitutions that will give you different taste experiences. You can add tomato paste for a tangy twist or cloves & peppercorns for extra flavor depth. Feel free to substitute lean bacon with vegetable-based alternatives if you want to cut down on the meat. Experimenting with different ingredients and variations will make the recipe more exciting and personalized to your liking.

Lastly, serving suggestions are vast — from pairing it with vegetables like carrots or potatoes to traditional sides like rice or bread; this dish is versatile enough to go well just by itself or be served as an active ingredient that brings out the best of other dishes.

In summary, the Portuguese alcatra is an easy-to-make recipe that’s perfect for any occasion – whether you’re cooking for yourself or entertaining guests! The rich taste of wine combined with tender beef and spices will leave you wanting more, and the versatility of the recipe allows for several exciting variations to match your preference. So don’t miss out on this irresistible dish!

Ingredient List

 A mouthwatering pot roast that will transport you to Portugal.
A mouthwatering pot roast that will transport you to Portugal.

Get Ready to Cook Some Portuguese Magic!

Here are the ingredients you need to make this delicious Portuguese Pot Roast with Wine, Bacon & Garlic:

  • 4 lb lean boneless beef rump roast (you can also use Sirloin tip roast or Chuck roast)
  • 4 oz lean bacon, diced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cups thinly sliced onions
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp peppercorns
  • 3 whole cloves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

With these natural ingredients and some time, you will create an exquisite dish that has a rich and unique flavor. This is a traditional Portuguese beef recipe originally from Terceira Island, Azores. Alcatra de Carne is a popular and easy Portuguese slow cooker pot that people love.

The Recipe How-To

 You can almost smell the aroma of wine, bacon, and garlic through this photo.
You can almost smell the aroma of wine, bacon, and garlic through this photo.

Step 1: Season the Meat

Start by prepping your meat. Take a 4 lb lean boneless beef rump roast or sirloin tip roast and pat it dry with a clean paper towel. Mix together 2 tablespoons of salt with 1 tablespoon of black peppercorns in a small bowl, then rub the seasoning mix onto the meat, making sure to cover all sides.

Step 2: Sear the Meat

Next, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large roasting pan or Dutch oven over high heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the seasoned beef and cook until browned on all sides, about 8-10 minutes total.

Step 3: Add in Bacon and Aromatics

Remove the meat from the pan and set it aside on a plate. Reduce heat to medium-low and add 6oz diced lean bacon to the same pan. Cook until crispy, stirring occasionally, for about 7-8 minutes.

Add in 3 cloves of minced garlic, 3 thinly sliced onions, and 2 bay leaves to the pan with the bacon, cooking until softened for around five minutes.

Step 4: Add in Tomato Paste and Wine

Stir in 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, letting it cook for a minute or so to bloom its flavors before adding 2 cups of white or red wine – this dish will work well either way.

Bring everything up to a simmer, scraping any bits off bottom of the pan.

Step 5: Slow cook

Once you’ve got a simmer going, turn off heat and add back in your seared roast back into the pot. Make sure it’s well covered with your wine/bacon/garlic mixture. You can use either a large crockpot or transfer everything over to an oven safe dish if you like your meat slow cooked in the oven.

Cook for about 3.5 – 4 hours on medium-low heat if using an oven, or 8 hours if you’re cooking low and slow in a crockpot. Your meat should be fork-tender, pulling apart easily when done.

Step 6: Serve and Enjoy

When ready to serve, skim off any excess fat from the surface of your dish. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Serve hot with white rice, potatoes or bread to soak up all that delicious sauce.

With this Portuguese-inspired Alcatra Pot Roast with Wine, Bacon & Garlic recipe, your dinner table will be filled with the rich aromas of the Azores islands slow-cooked into every bite.

Substitutions and Variations

 The perfect comfort food for a cozy dinner at home.
The perfect comfort food for a cozy dinner at home.

If you don’t have some of the ingredients listed in this alcatra recipe, don’t worry! You can always make some substitutions or variations to come up with a flavor that suits your preference. Here are some ideas:

– Meat: Although the recipe calls for boneless beef rump roast or sirloin tip roast, you can use any beef roast like chuck roast or even a leaner cut like flank steak. If you prefer pork, you can use cubed pork shoulder instead.

– Wine: The recipe uses white wine and red wine, but you can also use other types of dry wine such as sherry, Madeira or port. Non-alcoholic options for red wine include using beef broth or tomato juice.

– Bacon: While lean bacon is recommended for this recipe, you can also use pancetta, salt pork or ham hock.

– Garlic and onions: If you’re not a fan of garlic, you can reduce the amount of garlic used in this recipe. You can also substitute or add other aromatic veggies such as leeks, shallots or celery.

– Tomato paste: You can add more tomato paste if you prefer a more tomatoey flavor. Alternatively, you can substitute tomato paste with diced tomatoes or tomato sauce.

– Bay leaves: This recipe uses bay leaves for flavoring, but if you don’t have them available, you can omit them altogether. However, they contribute a subtle aroma to the dish.

– Clay pot: Although this alcatra recipe calls for a clay pot slow cooker, you can also use a regular crockpot or a roasting pan with a tight-fitting lid. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

With these substitutions and variations, you can easily customize the recipe according to your taste preferences and still get that rich and flavorful Azorean alcatra.

Serving and Pairing

 You can use your favorite red wine for this recipe, the richer the better.
You can use your favorite red wine for this recipe, the richer the better.

Once your Portuguese Alcatra Pot Roast is ready, it’s time to serve and enjoy! This hearty and flavorful dish pairs beautifully with various sides and beverages. Here are some suggestions for serving and pairing your Alcatra:

For a true Portuguese feast, serve Alcatra with traditional sides like buttery roasted potatoes, steamed rice or rice pilaf, black beans or chickpeas, and a green salad dressed with a simple vinaigrette. The soft and tender meat of the roast contrasts nicely with the crispy edges of the potatoes, creating a texture you won’t forget.

If you prefer a one-pot meal, you can add some chunky carrots, turnips, sweet potatoes or other root vegetables to the pot roast during the last hour of cooking. These vegetables will soak up all the delicious flavors of wine-bacon-garlic sauce and add some color and nutrients to your meal.

When it comes to pairing beverages, Alcatra pairs exquisitely with Portuguese red wines such as Douro or Dão, which are full-bodied with dark berry flavors that complement the richness of the beef. If red wine is not your thing, try a crisp white wine like Vinho Verde or a light beer like Super Bock to balance out the fatty texture of the roast.

Another great option is to serve your Alcatra with Azorean bread called massa sovada or pão doce (sweet bread), which has a soft texture similar to brioche-like bread. The mild sweetness of the bread contrasts nicely with the savory flavor of the roast.

No matter how you serve your Alcatra pot roast, be sure to savor every bite and enjoy it in good company. This dish is perfect for sharing and gathering around a table with family and friends. Bom apetite!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 A tender and flavorful roast that melts in your mouth.
A tender and flavorful roast that melts in your mouth.

Alcatra, the rich Azorean pot roast recipe, is perfect for make-ahead meals. In fact, it is a dish that tastes even better reheated! Whether you’re planning to make it for dinner or serving it at a party, you can prepare it ahead of time and reheat it whenever needed.

To make the dish ahead of time, just follow all the steps until you reach the last hour of cooking time. Once done, let the pot cool down and transfer the meat and sauce into an airtight container. You can store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days before reheating.

When you’re ready to serve, remove the pot from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for about 1-2 hours before reheating. This will help prevent any temperature shock when you reheat it on your stovetop or oven.

If reheating on stovetop or oven, simply place the beef pot roast in a roasting pan or a casserole dish with the lid on top to prevent the meat from drying out. If using stovetop, keep heat low to avoid scorching the sauce. Add some water if necessary to loosen up the sauce as well.

If using a microwave oven, reheat in 30-second increments until hot enough for your liking. Again, avoid over-stirring as this will break down your sauce into a lumpy mess.

Lastly, you can always freeze your Alcatra if you don’t plan on eating it within days of preparation – that way you can have homemade frozen meals that rival even store-bought ones! To freeze leftover Alcatra pot roast, simply transfer them into freezer bags and seal carefully before placing in freezer-safe containers. You can keep this in your freezer for up to two months without affecting its taste and texture.

In conclusion,having Alcatra in your fridge or freezer can save you time and ensure that you have delicious, homemade meals at your disposal at any time.

Tips for Perfect Results

 A hearty and satisfying meal that is perfect for cold weather days.
A hearty and satisfying meal that is perfect for cold weather days.

For the perfect result with this Alcatra recipe, there are various techniques one can use to enhance its flavor and ensure it’s cooked to perfection. Here are some tips to consider:

1. Use a clay pot or a Dutch oven

For an authentic Portuguese taste, I recommend using a clay pot to cook the Alcatra. It will hold in the moisture as it cooks slowly, resulting in tender meat that’s full of flavor. However, if you don’t have a clay pot, you can use a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven instead.

2. Add seasoning mix for depth

Adding seasoning mix like paprika or cumin when sautéing onions and garlic will give your Alcatra recipe an extra depth of flavor.

3. Sear beef before cooking

Searing meat before slow-cooking it releases juices and flavors that add on to the richness of the dish.

4. Cut the onions thinly

When sautéing sliced onions, cutting them thinly releases natural sugars that add a sweet aroma to your dish and help caramelization.

5. Choose the right cut of beef

This recipe requires either boneless beef rump roast or sirloin tip roast cut into 1-2 inch cube-sized pieces. These cuts will ensure that the beef is lean enough but still has enough connective tissue to soften after braising.

6. Make sure your wine is good quality

Wine is one of the main ingredients in Alcatra along with tomato paste, so make sure it’s good quality- it doesn’t have to be expensive but needs to suit your taste- whether it be white or red.

Applying these tips will elevate your Alcatra recipe and have you craving it regularly once you test out how simple getting authentic Portuguese flavor can be done in the comfort of your home.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, Alcatra is a must-try dish, especially for those who love the rich flavor of red wine and bacon. Not only is it an easy Portuguese recipe to make, but also it can be cooked in several ways such as on a roasting pan, clay pot or slow cooker. Additionally, the substitution and variations section offers some great alternatives for different dietary needs or preferences. So feel free to unleash your creativity while making this delectable dish.

Finally, I recommend pairing alcatra with a full-bodied red wine such as peppery Zinfandel or Merlot. Also, you can serve it with buttery mashed potatoes or steamed vegetables to balance out the richness of the roast. You can even pair it with other beef dishes like carne asada or beef stew to create an Azorean-style feast.

Having tried a few different Alcatra recipes myself, I can attest that there’s nothing quite like enjoying this delicious and savory beef pot roast with family and friends. Whether you’re looking for an exotic dish to share around the table or want to experience the traditional flavor from Terceira island in the Azores, look no further than Alcatra!

So what are you waiting for? Grab some top-quality boneless beef rump roast or sirloin tip roast along with some bay leaves, cloves, onions, garlic, white wine, tomato paste and of course lean bacon! Follow our recipe how-to section and get ready to enjoy one of the best Portuguese beef recipes out there!

Alcatra ( Portuguese Pot Roast With Wine, Bacon & Garlic)

Alcatra ( Portuguese Pot Roast With Wine, Bacon & Garlic) Recipe

This pot roast needs no knives... it's tender and absolutely delicious. "Alcatra" comes from the term "alcatre", the Portuguese word for "rump", indicating that rump roast is preferred there for pot roasts, but I've prepared this with sirloin tip roast as well with fabulous results.
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Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 4 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine Portuguese
Calories 175.2 kcal


  • 1/4 lb lean bacon, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 1/2 lbs boneless beef rump roast or 3 1/2 lbs sirloin tip roast
  • 2 cups thinly sliced onions
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 12 whole peppercorns
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 cups white wine (cheaper is better)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt


  • In a large heavy Dutch oven, saute the bacon in the olive oil until drippings are rendered and bacon is browned a bit and crisp; transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  • In the bacon drippings, brown the beef roast well on all sides over moderately high heat.
  • Transfer to the plate with bacon, then add onions, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns and cloves to the Dutch oven.
  • Saute about 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
  • Blend in tomato paste, lower the heat, cover and steam for 20 minutes.
  • Remove and set aside half of the tomato-onion mixture; place the beef roast back into the Dutch oven with the bacon, then spoon remaining tomato-onion mixture on top.
  • Carefully pour the wine and salt around the beef roast and bring to a simmer.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Cove and bake in the 375 degree oven for 2 hours; remove and turn beef over in the liquid.
  • Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees F then bake uncovered about 1 hour longer or until meat is falling-apart tender (and it will be!).

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 151gCalories: 175.2kcalCarbohydrates: 7.7gProtein: 2.5gFat: 8.2gSaturated Fat: 2.4gCholesterol: 9.6mgSodium: 389.9mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3.3g
Keyword European, Free Of..., Lactose-free, Meat, Oven, Portuguese, Roast Beef, Stove Top
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