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.