January 2, 2011

Portuguese New England Boiled Dinner

A traditional New England Boiled dinner calls for a smoked ham shoulder with carrots, potatoes, cabbage, onions and sometimes other root vegetables such as rutabaga, parsnips or turnip. A lot of cooks substitute a corned beef brisket for the meat, and then the dish becomes Corned Beef and Cabbage.

This is called Portuguese New England Boiled Dinner because for the meat portion, linguica, a Portuguese spicy pork sausage, is used. This is what I grew up eating and it's pure comfort food for me.

It's amazing that just cooking these ingredients in a pan of water comes out so flavorful. Served with mustard and horseradish on the side and some good bread to sop up the juice, this meal is perfect for dinner on a cold winter day.

This dish takes some timing and careful attention. After the water is brought to a boil, the heat should be reduced to achieve a gentle simmer throughout. This will assure the vegetables end up tender, but not falling apart. 

I hope you'll give this a try! Any other favorite sausage would work well with this recipe, too.


Portuguese New England Boiled Dinner
1 Bay leaf
2 whole onions
5 carrots, cut into 2-inch sections
4 whole potatoes, peeled
1# linguica (or sausage of your choice)
1/2 head cabbage, cut into 2 pieces from the root
Coarse grain mustard

Peel onions. Keep whole, but using a knife, make a slice half-way down the center of the onion.

Do not cut through root end.

Peel carrots and cut into 2-inch lengths.

Peel potatoes. Keep whole.

Cut linguica (or other sausage) into 2-inch lengths.

Cut ½ head of cabbage in half through the root.

Place a gallon of water in a stock pot. Add bay leaf and bring to a boil.

Place onions in the stock pot and reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Cook until onions are almost tender, about 20 minutes. Be sure to keep water at a gentle simmer so vegetables don’t fall apart.

Add potatoes to the stock pot and cook about 15 minutes. Add more water if necessary, to cover vegetables.

Add carrots and cabbage and cook about 10 minutes, or until they are tender.

Using a slotted spoon, put vegetables on a platter.  Transfer vegetables to individual large soup bowls and pour some broth over vegetables.

Serve with butter, horseradish and coarse-grain mustard, along with crusty bread.


  1. You can bet I'll be trying this, Karen. I love New England Boiled Dinner. (I had no idea that the corned beef version is not the real deal, so I'm very interested) I first tasted linguica a few years back when I lived in California - loved it! Great post! Happy New Year - Vickie

  2. For a cold winter night, this is perfect... love the photos, and it just sounds sound perfect for January!

  3. I'd love to give this a try. A few years ago, a person that lives in Maine gave me a rough idea of the recipe but not enough for me to ever get interested in try it. Thanks for posting, you bet I'll be making this one. Looks delicious.

  4. and ohhh so yummy! Thanks for posting a recipe for this!

  5. Karen, great post, that recipe is delicious, (i am from Portugal)congratulations. Have a good and a happy New Year my dear.

  6. That looks delicious--a few of my favorite things!


  7. I have a hard time doing the smoked ham shoulder, thanks to some early childhood squeamishness, but I'm all about Portuguese sausages. Now I'll have to go on the quest. Is the linguica smoked or just dry-cured, do you know?

  8. Looks fabulous Karen! Love one pot meals.

  9. Oh man I haven't had a boiled dinner in ages! Its been since St Partick's Day last year at least and usually this is a 2-3 times a year kind of meal for my family because, well, we're Irish and its kind of a staple lol. I LOVE turnip so it always ends up in mine. I bet this dish with the linguisa would be just as yummy as with a smoked shoulder though.

  10. This does sound super comforting. A hearty meat and potatoes meal!

  11. Oh Karen, I love linguica...bu t cannot find it in the area...I sure miss this Portuguese sausage which is very common in Brazil...love the way that you put this dish all together...so comforting :-) Happy New Year!

  12. This dish could get a grizzly bear ready for winter...I love it!

  13. My mother used to make New England boiled sinner all the time. Her's never looked as good as yours :-). This sounds delicious. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

  14. That looks delicious. I will have to give this a try. Thanks.

  15. Since I know I can boil water, I'm definitely going for this one!

  16. Sounds just like what my mom used to make.


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