The classic Portuguese dish Porco Alentejana is a succulent mix of pork with clams cooked in a red pepper sauce. It’s a totally different take on traditional surf ‘n’ turf and offers diners a flavorful yet subtle entree.
It is traditionally served with fried potatoes. Alternatively it can be served with good crusty bread to enable guests to savor every last drop of its amazing sauce. The only other accompaniments needed are chunks of lemon to squeeze over it and possibly a bright green salad.
The dish itself is fairly straightforward but one does need to acquire some Massa de Pimentão, a unique Portuguese red pepper paste.
Portuguese Pork and Clams
- 1 pork fillet, about 1 lb
- 5 tbsp Portuguese red pepper paste
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 lb Taylor Clams
- 1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- Lemon wedges, to serve
- Trim any silvery sinewy skin from the pork fillet and cut it into bite-sized pieces.
- In a bowl, mix together the red pepper paste, crushed garlic and white wine.
- Add the bay leaves and pork pieces, cover and marinate overnight.
- Next day, drain the marinade and reserve, brushing off any still sticking to the pork.
- Pat the meat dry with kitchen paper.
- Heat the butter and oil in a deep frying pan, one with a lid.
- Fry the pork until browned all over and set aside.
- Put the chopped onions in the same pan and cook until softened and golden.
- Add the tomato puree and cook for a minute or two to remove any metallic taste.
- Pour in the reserved marinade, mix well and put the pork back in the pan.
- Cover and cook gently for about 30 minutes or until tender.
- Stir occasionally and adding a splash of water if too dry.
- Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.
- Wash the clams and discard any that are open or have broken shells.
- Scatter them on top of the meat, put the lid back on and cook for 6-8 minutes.
- Throw in the chopped herbs, give them a quick turn to mix in and serve, garnished with lemon.