Pork with Clams

A delicious classic dish from the Portuguese Alentejo region. A region known for its long coastal line, its beautiful nature and very small villages. Loved by sun seeking holiday makers and those who want to escape from busy metropolitan areas. A region not known for its culinary tradition except for Porco Alentejana, a very tasty combination of pork and clams, supported by red bell pepper paste, white wine and onion. Forget about those unlikely surf and turf combinations and enjoy Porco Alentejana!

Wine Pairing

Combining clams (and shellfish in general) with red wine is not the best idea. The tannins in the red wine can cause a metal-like taste, which is not very pleasant. Best is a full-bodied white wine with some acidity. We opened a bottle of Chateau Mourgues Du Gres Rosé. A wine with an intense pink colour, aromas that made us think of strawberries and lemon and with a fruity, long taste with a hint of pepper. The wine is made from syrah, grenache en mourvèdre grapes.

What You Need (for 4 persons)

  • 800 grams of Organic Pork with lots of lovely Fat (Tenderloin or Sirloin)
  • 1 Large White Onion
  • Red Bell Pepper Paste
  • White Wine
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 800 grams of Clams or Vongole
  • Cilantro
  • Olive Oil

What You Do

Cut the pork into 2-centimetre cubes. Finely chop the garlic. In a bowl combine the garlic, four tablespoons of red bell pepper paste, white wine, bay leaf and pork. Cover and transfer to the refrigerator for 24 hours. Gently mix every 2 – 4 hours.
The next day coarsely chop the onion. Use a slotted spoon to remove the meat from the marinade. Heat olive oil in a large pan and fry the meat until nicely brown. Remove the meat and add the chopped onion to the pan. Glaze.  Return the meat to the pan, add the marinade and leave to simmer for two or three hours, depending on the meat. Taste and perhaps add more red bell pepper paste. When the meat is ready, check the clams, discard broken ones and ones that remain open. Take a large pan, add some water and a tablespoon of red bell pepper paste. When the water is boiling, add the clams to the pan, close the lid and cook until the clams are open, perhaps 2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the clams to the other pan. Use a large spoon to add some of the cooking liquid of the clams to the stew. Taste carefully; the liquid could be very salty and you don’t want to ruin the stew by adding too much. Decorate with cilantro and serve with crusted bread. We enjoyed a carrot salad with fennel seeds as a side dish.

Pork with Clams ©cadwu
Pork with Clams ©cadwu

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