Portuguese Inspired Beef & Garlic Sandwich – Prego no Pão

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My Portuguese culinary experiments continue! This week I was pondering what to do with a lovely, little jar of Portuguese, caramelized onions, and a bottle of zingy, Portuguese, Piri Piri sauce.

I turned to the Prego no Pão – a Portuguese beef and garlic sandwich often served as street food.

My research (thank you Google!) revealed that the Prego no Pão can be quite simple – just a seared slab of beef with a bit of garlic and salt on a roll, to more complicated and flavorful affairs of thinly sliced strips of steak, layered with velvety, caramel-y onions, and spiked with Piri Piri. I opted for the latter – I was, after all, looking for a tasty home for both my caramelized onions and Piri Piri.

The result was a super tasty sandwich that packed beautifully for a picnic! The sweetness of the caramelized onions perfectly balanced the heat of the Piri Piri, and both paired deliciously with the savory strips of garlicky beef. I threw in parsley at the end to add a little freshness and extra flavor. Yumm!

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Prego no Pão

Prego no Pão

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  • Author: Julie A. Cockburn
  • Yield: 2 generous sandwiches 1x
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A flavorful sandwich of seared beef, garlic, and caramelized onions spiked with zingy Piri Piri sauce.


Units Scale
  • 1/2 pound skirt steak
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • A few generous lugs of Piri Piri sauce (If you don’t have Piri Piri sauce, Sriracha or Tabasco will make tasty substitutes.)
  • 2 sandwich rolls, sliced in half lengthwise (I like using hoagie rolls.)
  • A generous nob of butter (3/4 to 1 tablespoon, or however much you feel inspired to use. Feel free to substitute olive oil if you prefer.)
  • A handful of chopped parsley
  • A couple of spoonfuls of prepared caramelized onions (If you don’t have prepared caramelized onions, you can make your own by cooking sliced onions over low heat until they are soft and sweet, then adding in a dash of balsamic vinegar.)


  • Rub both sides of the skirt steak with the minced garlic, and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Heat a skillet over high heat (cast iron is great for this), until just starting to smoke. Once it’s hot, cook the steak on one side until well browned. This should take just a minuet or two. Flip the steak over to cook on the second side. As soon as you flip it, drizzle and spread Piri Piri sauce generously on the cooked side. Cook until the steak reaches desired doneness. With a thin cut of meat like a skirt steak, this should only take a few minutes longer. When the steak has finished cooking, remove from the heat to rest for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat a grill pan (Those pans with the ridges that make grill marks. Or use a panini press if you’ve got one.) over medium heat. When it’s hot, grill the sandwich rolls until you get lovely brown grill marks, flipping once to brown both sides. I recommend putting a heavy skillet on top of the rolls to press them evenly onto the grill, and to flatten them a bit. Remove from the heat.
  • When the steak has finished resting, slice against the grain of the meat into thin strips. The thinner the better!
  • Return the skillet that you used to cook the steak to the stove over medium heat. Add a generous nob of butter to the skillet, along with a splash of Piri Piri sauce. When the butter begins to stop foaming, add the sliced steak. Toss everything together well, being sure to scrape up any stuck-on bits from the bottom of the skillet. Remove from the heat, and toss in a handful of chopped parsley.
  • Spread caramelized onions on the bottom half of each sandwich roll, divide the steak between each roll, drizzle with a bit of extra Piri Piri sauce, then press the sandwich tops over everything.
  • Category: sandwich
  • Cuisine: Portuguese
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Hi! I’m Julie

Julie Cockburn with the Taste Of The Place cookbook

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