One of my New Year’s Resolutions
is to research and cook one new recipe each week.
I’ve never bought clams before and the only ones I could find, in our little town, were frozen. I also had the choice of two types – brown or white. Decisions, decisions! Deliberating over which to buy I finally grabbed the brown ones and then plucked up courage to ask the advice of a couple of Portuguese women. Luckily, one of them spoke English, but as she could not cook she was asking her friend who could. It was quite amusing to ask her a six word question “can I cook these from frozen” which then translated into six sentences, shoulder shrugging and a lengthy discussion in Portuguese. The answer finally came back as yes.
Carne de Porco à Alentejana (Pork with Clams)
Originating from the Alentejo this is perhaps one of the most famous Portuguese dishes.
[Update from Fernada Carne de Porco à Alentejana is not a dish from the Alentejo but from the Algarve. The Algarve cooks gave this name to the dish to indicate that the meat was pork from the Alentejo (with a more flavorful meat, because the pigs ate acorns of the cork oak) and not with pork from the Algarve (who were fed on fish scraps)]
500gr boneless pork loin cut into chunks approx 2.5cm
1 crushed garlic clove
1 tablespoon red pepper paste/massa caseira pulpa de pimiento (this is readily available in the supermarkets)
200ml white wine
200gr tin of chopped tomatoes
1 small bay leaf
salt and pepper
20gr fatty bacon (lardons)
1 chopped onion
Put pork in dish (non metallic)
To prepare the marinade – mix the red pepper paste, garlic, salt and pepper, bay leaf, coriander and wine and pour over pork.
Refrigerate for 24hrs to marinate turning the meat several times.
Remove the pork and reserve the marinade.
In a heavy pan (with lid) add fatty bacon and fry pork until slightly browned. Remove pork from pan and set aside.
Add onion to pan cooking in same fat until soft. Add pork to pan along with reserved marinade bring to boil, cover with lid and simmer gently for about one hour until meat is soft.
Add clams and cook until the clams open (about 10 minutes). Discard any clams that do not open.
Serve with boiled potatoes to mop up the sauce.
Since you like the “stories” behind the traditions, there’s also a “story” with this dish. Carne de Porco à Alentejana is not a dish from the Alentejo but from the Algarve. The Algarve cooks gave this name to the dish to indicate that the meat was pork from the Alentejo (with a more flavorful meat, because it eated acorns of the cork oak) and not with pork from the Algarve (who were fed on fish scraps).
Hi Fernanda and Welcome!
Thanks for sharing, I am going to include your story with the recipe above 🙂
Do you own a cataplana yet? I’m interested to find out if they make a difference to the way a Portuguese dish tastes compared with normal pots and pans 🙂
No I don’t won a cataplana. I’ve looked at them in the shops but they are very expensive – around €50
I’d like one though 🙂
What a dish! Looks delish. 🙂 How long does it take to took?
Hi Soapbird, it takes about an hour and then add the clams for the last few minutes. It really depends on the quality of the cut of pork. 🙂
Okay thanks! 🙂
It looks delicious… You take the best food photos and the stories are always rich and insightful. Hope you enjoyed your dish PiP!
I’ve been on college visits with my twins hence my absence…
Finally catching up on comments!
I’m sure this is wonderful if you like seafood. Living in the western part of the U.S, I’ll take a nice steak anytime! Although here in Colorado, we do have something called Rocky Mountain Oysters, but I don’t recommend them, though some folks love ’em. (Google can answer the “what are they?” if you don’t know. LOL
I think I will try this, minus the clams. I am not a clam lover but the rest of it looks so yummy!
1 molho de coentros (ou um molho pequeno de poejos ou uma mistura das duas ervas)
2 a 4 dentes de alho
1 colher de sopa de sal grosso
4 colheres de sopa de azeite
1,5 L de água a ferver
400 g de pão caseiro (duro)
Modo de preparação:
Pisam-se num almofariz, reduzindo-os a papa, os coentros (ou os poejos) com os dentes de alho, e o sal grosso.
Deita-se esta papa na terrina ou numa tigela. Rega-se com azeite e escalda-se com água a ferver, onde previamente se escalfaram os ovos (de onde se retiraram). Coloca-se este caldo sobre o pão cortado em fatias ou em cubos. Os ovos são colocados no prato ou sobre as sopas na terrina
SUGESTÕES: Deve colocar-se apenas uma pequena quantidade de sal e um bom molho de coentros
Summer recipies: (use google translator)-I
GASPACHO À ALENTEJANA
3 dentes de alhos
½ colher de sopa de sal
2 colheres de sopa de azeite
4 colheres de sopa de vinagre
2 tomates bem maduros
1 pimento verde
1,5 L de água fria
200 g de pão duro
Modo de preparação:
Esmagam-se muito bem os dentes de alho num almofariz juntamente com o sal até se obter uma papa, que se coloca no fundo de uma terrina.
Rega-se com o azeite, o vinagre e junta-se os orégãos.
Pela-se o tomate e reduz-se a puré, que se adiciona ao preparado anterior. Em seguida corta-se em quadradinhos pequeninos, o pepino e o outro tomate, e o pimento em tiras fininhas. Introduzem-se na terrina, juntando-se de seguida a água fria.
Na altura de servir, junta-se o pão cortado em cubos pequenos e serve-se bem fresco.
SUGESTÕES: Pode-se acompanhar com peixe grelhado, em vez de peixe frito.
frozen clams…..seem to me something to avoid.
clams (ameijoas, berbigão e conquilhas) are simply divine, but they should be taken fresh (after getting ride of the sand they might still have). The best recipes for me are: 1) Ameijoas à bulhão pato, 2) berbigão aberto ao natural e 3) arroz de conquilhas ou então abertas ao natural.
The pork with clams is also a good choice.
To answer the Prawn query, I suggest you to try a “Cataplana de marisco”.
I am sure you wouldn’t do a ” shoulder shrugging ” if someone ask you: Did you like it?
The frozen clams were awful…most did not open and were rubbery when cooked – but you live and learn.
I think if someone asked me now about frozen clams I would shake my head and say fresh clams are better 🙂 I did like the taste but I would have to cook it again with fresh clams. Perhaps, this is what the other woman was saying…
However, I really did enjoy experimenting and cooking recipes which took me out of my comfort zone
Thanks so much for the recipe suggestions I will def give them a try over the next few months.
I love the image of the translation, with a heated exchange back and forth in Portuguese, followed by a simple, “Yes.” 😀
Ohhhh that looks yummy 🙂 I am cooking ribs right for dinner, it smells delicious, now my stomach is really growling 🙂
Another beautiful meal you have created, with, also, another beautifully written post. You pack a lot of punch into a short narrative, PiP.
Hi Ellen, just as well I don’t write as much as I talk – you have a lucky escape 🙂
Could I use prawns instead, do you think? I am not a clam person, but I LOVE our prawns!
Hi TO I’m not sure re prawns. The clams seem to add a distinctive taste to the dish even if you don’t eat them.