Carne de porco a Alentejana (Pork with Clams)

This is definitely a favourite at my place, and a go-to for family gatherings as well. Now, I should note that rustic Portuguese food is very fluid and you can make infinite changes to this to make it suit your needs. Don’t like so many clams? Cut them down. Love the fries and wish there were more? Double them. As long as you adjust the seasoning and taste as you go, you really can do no wrong. That being said, I don’t typically measure my spices when cooking, so I’ve tried to give a starting point that you can adjust on from there. I should also mention that while this is fairly simple to make, there is a bit of coordination in having a few things going at once. If you feel you can’t do everything at once, just do one step at a time (pork, then clams, then potatoes) and then throw it all together only once they’re all done separately. It will take longer but the dish will taste just as good.

 

Ingredients:

2lbs cubed pork (with some fat on them)

1 tablespoon salt

1/8- 1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 bottle of your favourite beer or replace with the equivalent in white wine

olive oil

500-750g of clams in the shell

3lbs potatoes

1 onion, sliced

2 large tomatoes, diced

 

Directions:

1. Place cubed pork in a bowl/container. Season with salt, pepper, bay leaf, cumin, and garlic. Mix until pork is well coated. Pour half the beer onto the meat and mix again. Cover and place in refrigerator to marinate for at least half hour, up to three hours.

2. Place the clams in salted water to force them open, then rinse them well and set aside.

3.  Coat the bottom of a medium sized pot/pan with olive oil and bring to high heat. Place the pork in the pot and sear on all sides (reserve the marinade but don’t dump it in with pork). Once pork is well seared bring down the heat to medium and keep an eye on it so the liquid doesn’t evaporate. The pork should start producing more liquid, but if it doesn’t, pour the reserved marinade in so the meat doesn’t dry out; you want there to be some liquid once the pork is cooked through. Cook on medium heat until cooked through; about 30 minutes. Make sure to taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary.

4.  Coat the bottom of a large pot/pan with olive oil and bring to high heat. Saute the sliced onion until translucent, then add the diced tomatoes. Saute a bit longer, until tomato starts breaking down. Add remaining beer and let simmer for about 5 minutes. Add clams and let cook, covered, for another 5-10 minutes Stirring occasionally.

5. Meanwhile, peel and chop the potatoes into 1-inch cubes. Deep fry them until they are golden and cooked through.

6. Pour the pork into the pot with the clams, making sure to pour in all the juices as well. Mix thoroughly so clams pick up the seasoning from the pork. Taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary. Let simmer, covered, while potatoes finish frying.

7. Add potatoes to the pork/clam mixture and mix thoroughly to pick up seasonings.

That’s it. Carne Alentejana:

DSC_0936

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re serving in a platter, you would traditionally top it with fresh parsley, black olives and a couple of lemon wedges.

Hope you enjoy 🙂

Caldo Verde

This is one of my absolute favourite soups, and definitely my favourite Portuguese soup. So, here is the recipe I learned growing up in a Portuguese household.

 

Ingredients:

Caldo Verde Ingredients

2 pounds of potatoes

1 small onion

1 clove of garlic

1 tbsp of olive oil

1 cup of finely chopped collard greens*

1 Portuguese chourico, sliced (my favourite brand is Borges)

salt

 

Directions:

1. Peel the potatoes, onion and garlic. Quarter and place in large pot then fill with just enough water to cover and add olive oil

2. Bring to a boil and cook on medium-high until potatoes are cooked through

3. Blend, using a hand blender or food processor, until completely smooth

4. Return to pot and add water until the liquid has reached desired consistency (I usually add about 3 cups of water)

5. Place over medium heat and add collards and chourico

6. Simmer on low until the collards have softened (about 30 minutes), and season with salt if necessary

 

And Voila: Caldo Verde

Caldo Verde

Notes:

*One bunch of collard greens will give you enough for about 4 uses. I usually chop the entire bunch and freeze whatever I don’t need in a ziploc bag for later use.