How to Make Chanfana

On New Year’s Eve friends came to our house to celebrate. They brought gifts: orchids, wine, champagne, candles, even lamb.

The lamb was uncooked, designed to be made into a traditional Portuguese stew called chanfana. It’s a fairly simple dish to make, involving just a few ingredients. Done correctly, the tasty, tender meat falls off the bone. Here’s a three minute video demonstration:

Yesterday my husband decided to try his hand at making it. In the morning he asked me to make a shopping list for him to take to the store, dictating a few items, like onions. When he returned, he gave me the car keys and I dashed to my bridge lesson.

I returned hours later, when dinner was almost ready. The kitchen smelled delicious. About to set the table, I was surprised to find the Bailey’s,  which was on the shopping list for the lamb, still unopened.


Before I could say anything, he called out, “I got you your Bailey’s.”

My Bailey’s? You wanted it. You told me to write it down.”

We stared at each other. Then he had an ah-ha moment. “Bay leaves, honey, I needed Bay leaves.”

The question is, was it selective hearing on my part to understand my spouse to say the name of a yummy Irish liqueur, or am I losing my hearing?

The answer is, who cares? Bring on the vanilla bean ice cream, cinnamon, and nutmeg. And top it with Bay leaves.



Author: Tricia Pimental

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Tricia Pimental's second memoir, A Movable Marriage, has received 5 Star reviews from both Epic Book Quest and Readers' Favorite. It's available on Amazon in both Kindle ( and print ( versions. She is also the author of two Royal Palm Literary Award Competition-honored books: Rabbit Trail: How a Former Playboy Bunny Found Her Way, and Slippery Slopes. Other work has appeared in International Living Magazine; A Janela, the quarterly magazine of International Women in Portugal; and anthologies compiled by the Florida Writers Association and the National League of American Pen Women. A member of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and a former Toastmaster, Ms. Pimental resides in Portugal. She can be reached at and on Twitter @Tricialafille.

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