Portuguese-Style Pork Roast with Clams

Portuguese-Style Pork Roast with Clams

One of my all-time favorite combinations of pork and shellfish is the Portuguese pairing of pork and clams, which are united in a number of that country’s favorite dishes, including several stews featuring crumbled sausage or marinated pork cubes (e.g., cataplana, stoccafisso, alentejana). This recipe borrows inspiration from those classics, adapting them to my personal affection for roasted pork loin on the bone and cooking the clams in its tangy, slightly spicy sauce.–Tom Valenti and Andrew Friedman

LC Not Your Average Surf and Turf Note

It’s not the average surf and turf combination – in fact, there’s something about briny clams and succulent roast pork that seems written in the stars. Throw in plenty of fresh herbs and a hint of spice, and the whole shebang is elevated to heavenly.

Portuguese-Style Pork Roast with Clams

  • Quick Glance
  • (2)
  • 1 H
  • 2 H, 15 M
  • Serves 4 to 6
5/5 - 2 reviews
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About 30 minutes before you want to cook, put the tomatoes in a bowl and season them with salt, pepper, and sugar. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Using a sharp, thin-bladed knife, make small 1/2-inch-deep slits all over the pork loin. Slide a garlic sliver into each slit using the edge of the knife. Season the pork all over with salt and pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Add the pork and brown on all sides, about 4 minutes per side. Remove the pork from the pot and set aside.

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of oil from the pot. Add the onion and halved garlic cloves and cook slowly, stirring often, until caramelized, 12 to 15 minutes. Add the wine, bring to a boil over high heat, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the reserved tomatoes, thyme, marjoram, and crushed red pepper. Stir in the clam juice and cook over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes.

Spread the vegetables evenly over the bottom of the pot and rest the pork loin on top of the vegetables. Transfer it to the oven and roast, basting every 10 to 15 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the loin reads between 145°F and 150°F (62°C and 65°C), about 45 minutes, for medium; or 160°F (70°C) for more well done. Transfer the pork to a cutting board, cover with aluminum foil, and set aside.

Put the pot over medium heat. Add the clams, cover, and cook until the clams pop open, 5 to 6 minutes.

While the clams are cooking, carve the loin into individual chops and arrange decoratively on a platter. When the clams are done, arrange them over and around the chops.

To serve, spoon some sauce around the platter and scatter the chopped parsley over the pork and vegetables. Serve family style from the center of the table.

Print RecipeBuy the Soups, Stews, and One-Pot Meals cookbook

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

Tom Valenti’s translation of Portuguese-style pork roast with steamed clams is right on target with its simple preparation. The balance of seasonings harmonizes perfectly with the main ingredients, and the completed dish came together in no time—with little effort on my part. I thoroughly enjoyed cooking and eating this dish. This preparation sparked a lively dinner table conversation among our well-traveled guests about memorable meals during visits to Portugal.

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  1. What a great combination of flavors! I am solo for most dinners, last night included, so I made a mini-version and used a small boneless loin roast. It was one of the best dishes ever, and I’m eager to do it full-size for company! Just delicious, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    1. Susan, it is a great recipe, right? And when you use a bone-in loin, I beleive you’ll find it even better. More flavorful and more tender. Oh, and pork and clams is a classic Portuguese combo.

  2. This might be a silly question but the recipe says to baste the pork loin every 10-15 minutes. Does this mean baste it with the juices in the pot or is there something else I’m missing? Also would it dry out badly if this step was skipped?

    1. Chris, not a silly question at all. When you add the reserved tomatoes and the wine, there will be enough liquid to baste the pork with. I hope you liked the recipe!

  3. I made this recipe for friend and family on Easter Sunday, and everyone absolutely loved it. Often I change recipes after I make them the first time, but this one is perfect just the way it is!

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