Bifana (Portuguese pork cutlets)

Total Time
24hrs 10mins
Prep 24 hrs
Cook 10 mins

Posted on behalf of a request. Here in Toronto (which has a large Portuguese community), every Portuguese food store likely sells bifana; except for the bakeries, I've seen it frequently. It's very tasty -- I've never made it, but I've bought it on occasion and eaten it at my Portuguese girlfriend's home many times as well. Bifana is regarded more as a snack than a meal. This recipe is from "Uma Casa Portuguesa" (Portuguese Home Cooking) by Carla Azevedo.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Rinse the pork cutlets and then pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Place pork in a large heavy plastic bag (like a freezer ziploc bag) and place in a large bowl.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine one cup of the wine, the vinegar, garlic, bay leaf, 1/2 tsp of the pimento paste, 1/4 tsp of the paprika, peppercorns, cloves and piri-piri sauce.
  4. Pour this over pork, make sure all meat is coated, and seal the bag.
  5. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight, turning bag over in bowl frequently.
  6. Bring meat to room temperature before cooking.
  7. To cook, remove pork from marinade and lightly pat pork dry with paper towels.
  8. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and melt lard, then cook pork in batches in hot lard; if your pork is thin it will likely only take a minute per side, at the most.
  9. When all the pork has been sauteed, drain off the fat and add the remaining wine (1/4 cup), remaining pimento paste (1/4 tsp), remaining paprika (1/4 tsp) to the skillet, as well as salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Bring this to a boil, stirring the pan to get up any brown bits.
  11. Return all the pork to the skillet, reduce heat to low, and cook for about another minute.
Most Helpful

This is an excellent way to quickly cook delicious pork cutlets. For easy preparation, I recommend purchasing a jar of pimento paste (Carne de Pimento Choricero by Rajope), and increasing the amount of pimento paste to 1 3/4 tsp (3/4 tsp in the marinade, 1 tsp in the sauce). For an excellent paprika flavor, use 1/4 tsp sweet paprika in the marinade and 1/4 tsp smoked paprika in the sauce.I also use bacon fat to fry the pork cutlets instead of lard. Recommended amounts of salt/pepper: 1 tsp kosher salt and 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper. This dish goes extremely well as a main course accompanied with black beans and steamed artichokes.

Chris W. May 21, 2015

very tasty and very morish which fills even the biggest appetite

stephen.granger October 15, 2007

Excellent meal or snack. I use beer instead of the wine and I find it has a better taste. But both ways are good. Thanks.

Cricketcanada October 08, 2006