Portuguese Baked Bittersweet Chicken

The Barcelos Rooster is considered to be the official symbol of Portugal. This colorful bird is said to embody the Portuguese love of life and is the stuff of legend. The story from the 16th century (at least one of the stories) goes something like this: A pilgrim from a neighboring city was travelling through Barcelos just as the whole town was searching for a thief that was stealing silver. He was accused of being that thief, arrested, and condemned to hang. He refused to go quietly and asked to see the magistrate who sentenced him to die. The authorities granted his wish and he was brought to the magistrates house where a dinner party was going on. He affirmed his innocence and claimed that the cooked rooster sitting on the table would crow at the hour of his hanging as proof.

After much laughter from the guests, the magistrate agreed to put the rooster aside until after the hanging. Just as the hangman was about to hang the man, the rooster appeared, jumped up onto the table and crowed at the top of its lungs! The man was spared hanging and ultimately got to experience this amazingly flavorful dish.

portuguese Galinha a Portuguesa chicken

Portuguese Sweet & Sour Baked Chicken

This easy recipe demonstrates how comfortable the Portuguese are in mixing disparate ingredients to create new and interesting dishes. This surprisingly easy dish is great with rice or mashed potatoes and a green vegetable.
5 from 2 votes
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Course: Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Portuguese
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: My Hungry Traveler


  • Baking pan or casserole


  • 3-4 lb Chicken breasts, cut in half
  • 2 tbsp Dark brown sugar
  • cup Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • tsp Black pepper
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 pinch Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Thyme
  • 1 large Onion, peeled and quartered lengthwise
  • 4 cloves Garlic, peeled and lightly crushed


  • Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Arrange chicken pieces, onion and garlic on bottom of baking dish.
  • Top chicken with all the remaining ingredients, drizzling olive oil last.
  • Bake for around 50 minutes until golden brown. Baste chicken with juices occasionally. Serve with rice and a green vegetable.


  • If you can, use Kosher chicken. It produces a noticeably juicer chicken breast.


Calories: 310kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 49g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 145mg | Sodium: 419mg | Potassium: 917mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 124IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 1mg

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