“In its hometown, Porto, Francesinha is not just a delicacy, it’s a religion…”


Francesinha is one of my favourite dishes. It was created in Porto in the 1960s by Daniel da Silva, a returned emigrant from France and Belgium who tried to adapt the French Croque-monsieur to Portuguese taste. The end result was a fabulous Sandwich which is soaked in the most delicious meat based hot sauce.


The original Francesinha sauce is known to be a secret but it has, since its creation, become so popular that some may argue the original recipe has been lost in the countless variations prepared throughout Porto restaurants. The sandwich itself is not so secret but we can say the same in terms of the amount of variation one can find. The original sandwich is prepared with roast pork loin while the most popular variation replaces the pork with a grilled beef steak. It’s also quite common to add a fried egg on top of the sandwich.


In this recipe I’ve introduced my own variation of the Francesinha by slow cooking pork belly within the sauce. The end result is a deliciously tender pork belly which is then sliced and added to the Sandwich to blend graciously with the bread and cheese. The sauce also benefits by acquiring a rich meaty taste from cooking the pork.


The Francesinha is unorthodox and is as good as it is fatty. But if you love meat cooked with alcohol and spices you’ll surely love this dish.

In its hometown, Porto, Francesinha is not just a delicacy, it’s a religion…




  •  400g pork belly (cooked in the sauce and added to the sandwich)


(serves 8 and can be frozen)

  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly diced
  • 50ml olive oil
  • 2 pints lager (approx. 1.1 litres)
  • 400ml passata (creamed tomatoes)
  • 1tbsp cornflour
  • 1 shot Porto wine
  • 1 shot whiskey
  • 1 glass white wine
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp pepper sauce
  • 1 hot chilli (optional)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 or 2 fresh parsley sprigs
  • 1 tbsp salt;
  • 1 tbsp fresh ground pepper


  • Sliced bread (2 slices per sandwich)
  • Thinly cut Edam Cheese (approx. 7 slices* per sandwich)
  • Salami or Ham (3 slices* per sandwich)
  • Linguiça or Spicy Sausages (2 per sandwich)

* The number of slices depends on the cut







  1. Drop the onions, the garlic & the olive oil into a large pan and heat up on medium heat;
  2. Once it starts frying add the pork belly and cook it for about 10 minutes (Turning it over a few times);
  3. After 10 minutes add the beer, the wine, the whiskey and the Port. Leave it to cook for another 10 minutes;
  4. Then add the passata (creamed tomatoes), the bay leaves, the parsley and the pepper and Worcestershire sauces;
  5. Add some salt & pepper (and the hot chilli if you like it spicy), give it a good stir and leave it to slow cook for an hour on low heat;
  6. Once cooked, remove the pork, the bay leaves and the parsley and blend the sauce thoroughly using an electric blender;
  7. Finally, add the cornflour (diluted in a bit of milk preferably or water) and stir until the sauce thickens slightly.


The Sandwich:


  1. Start by grilling the sausages;
  2. While the sausages grill, cut the fatty bits out of the cooked pork and cut the meat into slices;
  3. Once grilled cut the sausages open in half;
  4. Then build a sandwich in the following order: 1 slice of bread > 3 slice of salami/ham > 1 slice of cheese > 1 or 2 slice cut pork > 2 slice of salami > 1 slice of cheese > 2 sausages > 1 slice of bread > 5 slice of cheese;
  5. Toast the sandwich in the oven at 220ºC / 425ºF / Gas mark 7 for about 10 min;
  6. Finally, pour some hot sauce on top of the sandwich;

Enjoy! Bom apetite!



  • For best results, cook the sauce on the evening/day before and leave it to rest in the pan overnight, then reheat again the next day before serving;
  • It goes down really well with chips and a beer!


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(5 comments on “FRANCESINHA”)

  1. Lukman

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  3. Pingback: Croque Monsieur | Whole Food Mag

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