Throwback Thursday: Prego, please!

Throwback Thursday: Prego, please!
Prego, the sandwich that hits the nail on the head. (Photo: Georgina Crouth)

A sandwich that hits the nail on the head.

A confession: I’ve never particularly cared for gossip rags and “women’s magazines”. I can’t be bothered about the scandals, the monarchist bootlicking, sex advice from young’uns barely out of school, and the pointless celebrity watches. 

Food magazines, however, will always turn my head. And cookbooks, how I have loved them; my pocket, not so much. After a brutal and much-needed purge (and only because we were moving cities), I gave away and donated many dozens of no longer loved or dated recipe books, as well as piles upon piles of food magazines. Still, my bookshelves heave with excellent advice from Anjum Anand, Sarah Graham, Justin Bonello, Rick Stein, Ottolenghi, and especially Mimi Jardim, which I would never part with. 

One of my most treasured books, which became a cornerstone of my cooking repertoire, is a first edition Cooking the Portuguese Way, by Jardim, whose clear guidance on Portuguese-South African cuisine has stood the test of time. 

Released in 1991, the book is a magnificent store of inspiration for anyone, regardless of their level of kitchen talent (or not). In 1996, Jardim followed up with People’s Food: Portuguese Regional Cooking which is arguably even more magnificent, filled with recipes from the former Portuguese colonies. She’s subsequently brought out more — My Portuguese Feast is simply gorgeous. If you’re looking for a definitive guide on Portuguese cooking, Jardim’s books are gold. Don’t just settle for one — if you can get your hands on more of them, even better. 

Recipes from this doyenne of Portuguese cooking, and advice from a Portuguese mother, taught me how to be a better home cook and whip together a feast with frugal ingredients. Invaluable life skills. 

This week’s Throwback Thursday is for beef prego rolls, inspired by the recipes of Jardim and the formidable Theresa Rodrigues — the woman who inspired me in the workings of the Portuguese kitchen.

Pregos take me back to the annual Lusito Land Portuguese festival in Johannesburg, which has been running since 1981, in favour of charity.

(Serves 4)


  • 4 beef or pork steaks (rump, sirloin or similar), cleaned
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 1tsp coriander
  • 1tsp oregano
  • 1 onion, sliced thinly
  • Four knobs butter


    1. Gently pound the steak to tenderise it.
    2. Roughly chop the garlic, then place with the meat in a marinating dish, add wine, oil bay leaves, oregano, coriander and onion. Season with salt and black pepper and marinade for at least four hours or longer.
    3. Place a medium frying pan over high heat. Once hot, add butter, olive oil and a bay leaf.
    4. Fry the steak to your taste.  
    5. Remove the steak from the pan, reduce the heat to medium, toast the halved rolls and set aside.
    6. Add onions and the rest of the marinade ingredients to the pan and reduce slightly. You should be left with a flavoursome sauce to dress the pregos with. Assemble and serve with your favourite beer (it’s a street food, after all!) DM

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks.


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