Carne de Porco à Alentejana (Pork with Clams Alentejo Style)
This recipe is featured in Massa de Pimentão, Portuguese Sweet Red Pepper Paste
The dish, although it originated in the Algarve, is named for the meat of the Alentejo black pigs raised on truffles.
Succulent sautéed pieces of marinated pork somehow work so well with briny clams. It all comes together in a zesty garlic-and-wine-based broth infused with sweet pepper paste, paprika and, most importantly, fresh chopped cilantro. This dish is often served in restaurants with fried cubed potatoes. It is a great one pot dish to serve for guests.
Note: Begin this recipe one day before serving, as the meat will need to marinate overnight.
- Servings Serves 6
To marinate the pork:
- 8 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 15 ml (1 tablespoon) paprika
- 1 bay leaf, crumbled
- 1.25 ml (¼ teaspoon) freshly ground black pepper
- 60 ml (¼ cup) finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 15 ml (1 tablespoon) Sweet Pepper Paste (see recipe)
- 10 ml (2 teaspoons) hot pepper sauce
- 1.2 kg (2½ pounds) pork tenderloin, trimmed of silver skin, and cut into 5 cm (2 inch) pieces
- 237 ml (1 cup) white wine
To finish and serve:
- 118 ml (½ cup) olive oil, or as needed
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 237 ml (1 cup) peeled, seeded, coarsely chopped tomato
- 1 garlic clove, smashed
- 5 ml (1 teaspoon) paprika
- 15 ml (1 tablespoon) tomato paste
- 237 ml (1 cup) white wine
- 24 parboiled baby boiling potatoes (Red Bliss or creamers)
- 1.4 kg (3 pounds) small littleneck or steamer clams (see Note), 5 to 7.6 cm (2 to 3 inches) in diameter, about 6 per person, well-scrubbed
- 60 ml (¼ cup) finely chopped cilantro
- Crusty bread, for serving
- Olives, for serving
- Lemon wedges, for serving
Note: If using steamer clams, time them for 12-15 minutes. If using littlenecks larger than 2 ½ to 3 inches, allow an extra minute or two to cook.
1. To marinate the pork: The day before serving, use a mortar and pestle to crush the garlic with the paprika, bay leaf, black pepper, cilantro, Sweet Pepper Paste, and hot pepper sauce. Continue to mash into a paste. Place the pork into a non-reactive bowl and add the paste, coating the meat well. Add the wine so that it just covers the meat. Cover and refrigerate for at least several hours, preferably overnight.
2. To finish and serve: Remove the meat from the refrigerator about 45 minutes before cooking. Reserving the marinade, drain the pork into a sieve set over a separate bowl. Strain the marinade and set aside.
3. Heat the olive oil in a 36 cm (14 inch) wide heavy bottom pan or cataplana pan, paella pan or braising pan over medium-high heat. Brown the pork in small batches, 5 to 8 minutes per batch. Transfer the browned meat to a dish and cover.
4. To the same pan, add the onions and sauté until lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, garlic and paprika. Cover and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes. Stir in the reserved marinade. Mix the tomato paste with wine and stir in to the onions and tomatoes. Simmer for 1 minute. Transfer the meat back to the pan and add the parboiled potatoes.
5. Nestle the clams in between the meat and potatoes, then cover tightly. Simmer over medium-low heat until the meat is fork tender, the potatoes have taken on the flavor of the sauce and the clams are opened, 15 to 20 minutes. Discard any clams that do not open. Set the pan on the table and serve directly from the pan, garnish with finely chopped cilantro. Serve with bread and olives on the side and lemon wedges to squeeze some juice over the dish if desired.