Traditional in Portugal’s Alentejo region, this combination of briny clams and smoky pork makes for a delicious meal that’s sure to warm the bones after a cold day on the water. A departure from the conventional, spicy red pepper sauce adds some heat; if you’re feeling adventurous, try substituting out the pork for venison along with a half cup of bacon or pancetta. You won’t be disappointed!
Pork Stew with Clams and Spicy Red Pepper Sauce
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 pounds 1-inch-thick boneless pork blade chops, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 very large onion, very finely chopped
5 large garlic cloves—4 minced, 1 whole
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/2 cups water
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
3 large bay leaves
3 large thyme sprigs
1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 baguette, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 1/2 pounds kale, inner ribs and stems discarded, leaves coarsely chopped
Spicy Red Pepper Sauce (for a sweeter variation, use red bell peppers instead)
Freshly ground pepper
3 pounds clams, rinsed
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
In a large, enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil until shimmering. Working in 3 batches, sear the pork over moderately high heat until browned all over, about 7 minutes per batch; you should not need to add oil between batches. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pork to a platter and season with salt.
Preheat the oven to 325°. Add half each of the minced onion and garlic to the casserole and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the wine and cook over moderately high heat until reduced by a third, scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the casserole. Whisk in the tomato paste, then add the water, lemon zest, bay leaves, thyme, paprika and a generous pinch of salt. Return the meat and any accumulated juices to the casserole and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Skim the fat from the stew. (MAKE AHEAD: this recipe can be prepared through this step and refrigerated for up to 4 days. Reheat gently before proceeding.)
Meanwhile, brush the baguette slices with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and arrange on a baking sheet; bake until lightly toasted. Rub the toasts with the whole garlic clove while they’re still warm.
Add the kale to the stew, a handful at a time; let wilt slightly and add more. Stir in 1/2 cup of the Spicy Red Pepper Sauce; season with pepper. Cover and keep warm over very low heat.
In a large saucepan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the remaining minced onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the clams and the remaining Spicy Red Pepper Sauce, cover and cook until most of the shells have opened, about 4 minutes. Pour the clams and their juices into the pork stew and gently stir. Cook for 1 minute, or until heated through. Ladle the stew into shallow bowls. Top with the cilantro and serve with the garlic toasts.
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