Despite the unusual sounding combination of pork with clams, this is a very famous Portuguese dish. It requires an overnight marination of the pork in white wine, bay, garlic, and a pepper paste called mosso de pimentão. The pepper paste itself requires a day of resting to combine flavors, so plan accordingly. This dish is best eaten with crusty peasant bread to soak up all of the delicious sauce.
To purge clams, scrub them under cold running water. Place in a bowl and cover with cold water. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon [15 mL] of cornmeal over the surface and allow to stand for 30 minutes. Drain well and proceed with the recipe.
Massa De Pimentão: Makes 1-3/4 cups [420 mL]
1. Mix the pepper strips with the salt, place in a resealable plastic bag, and allow to stand for 24 hours at room temperature.
2. Place the peppers and garlic in the workbowl of a food processor and while the processor is running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. (The massa will keep, refrigerated, for up to 2 weeks.)
3. Season the pork cubes with salt and pepper.
4. Combine the garlic, massa de pimentão, wine, bay leaf, cilantro stems, and black pepper and mix well to form a marinade. Place the pork in a resealable plastic bag, pour the marinade over the pork, and toss to coat the pork. Marinate overnight, refrigerated, turning occasionally.
5. Drain the pork, reserving the marinade. Heat the fat in a heavy, nonreactive skillet over high heat and saute the pork cubes until evenly browned. Transfer to a platter and reserve.
6. Add the onion to the pan and saute for 3 to 4 minutes, or until soft. Reduce the heat to low and add the garlic and tomato paste. Add some water to prevent burning, stir well to incorporate, cover the pot, and sweat the onion mixture for 20 minutes.
7. Add the reserved marinade and the browned pork and simmer, covered, for 1 hour, or until the pork is very tender. (The pork can be cooked one day in advance.)
8. Add the clams, cover, and cook until the clams open, about 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
9. Serve about 1/2 cup [120 mL] of the stew and top with 2 or 3 clams, depending on size. Garnish with sprigs of cilantro and serve with slices of crusty bread.
Page created 2003. Modified March 2007
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