|This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Alheira. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Sausage Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 (Unported) (CC-BY-SA).|
It was invented by the Jews of Portugal, who were forced to convert to Christianity, as a way to deceive the Portuguese Inquisition. As the Jews weren't allowed by their religion to eat pork meat, they were very easily identifiable by the fact that they didn't prepare and smoke the common pork sausages in the smokehouses (fumeiros in Portuguese). They, therefore, replaced pork with a large variety of other meats, such as poultry and game, which would then be mixed with a bread dough for consistency. This recipe would spread amongst Christians, although they added the ever-present pork to it.
Alheiras are traditionally grilled or roasted and served with boiled vegetables. Cooked in this way it retains much of the aroma and taste. Nowadays, however, it became popular in its fast-food version, fried in olive oil, with chips and fried eggs. They are usually the cheapest choice on the menu and only those made of game are expensive.
Varieties with PGI protection status include Alheira de Vinhais and Alheira de Barroso-Montalegre.