The Saucy and Spicy Classic Portuguese Sandwich

Porto, Portugal
Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash

There has been much debate over what constitutes a sandwich. While some places consider hotdogs and burgers as part of the line-up, the general consensus is that there must be a filling between two slices of bread. Originating in Porto, this iconic Portuguese sandwich known as the Francesinha features three slices of bread, is packed with fillings, and even has a sauce to go with it.  


For the Sandwich

  • 3 slices white ​​bread
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 thin pieces of steak, tenderized
  • 3 slices of ham 
  • 2 cured pork sausages or chorizo
  • 8 slices of cheese
  • 1 egg 

For the Sauce

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tomato, crushed
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 bottle lager beer
  • ¾ cup wine
  • 1 tablespoon peri peri sauce 
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ tablespoon cornstarch
  • Salt and black pepper


  1. Place a small saucepan over medium heat on the stovetop. Melt the butter and add the onion, garlic, and a little salt.
  2. Cook until the onion is translucent and begins to brown. Immediately, add the crushed tomato and the peri peri sauce.
  3. When the tomato is well cooked, add the beer, wine, and broth. Continue cooking uncovered for about ten more minutes. Dissolve the cornstarch in a quarter cup of water and add it to the sauce. Cook for about five more minutes, stirring, until the sauce thickens.
  4. Strain or blend the sauce, then return it to the hot pot and set aside.
  5. Season the steak with salt and pepper. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan and once hot, cook the steak for three minutes on each side. Make sure it browns a little.
  6. Cut the sausages in half, lengthwise, and cook for three minutes on each side. 
  7. Toast the slices of sliced ​​bread and place one slice of ​​bread on a plate. Top it with the sliced ham.
  8. Place the steak on top of the ham. Trim the edges of any protruding pieces of meat.
  9. Cover with another slice of ​​bread and top with the sausages.
  10. Finally, cover with another slice of ​​bread and the 6 slices of cheese.
  11. Make a notch in the cheese at the top of the sandwich. Crack open an egg and place it in the opening.
  12. Preheat the oven on broiler and place the sandwich quite close to the top. Bake for about 3 minutes, checking regularly to make sure the cheese has only melted and not turned brown.
  13. Transfer the sandwich to a plate and cover entirely with sauce. It is also customary to serve with French fries.