Portuguese Pork and Clams ~ Porco Alentejana

This combination of Portuguese pork and clams, also known as porco Alentejana, is a supremely comforting and oh-so-satisfying dish of marinated pork shoulder and briny clams in a white wine and tomato sauce.

A blue bowl filled with Portuguese pork with clams and fried potato cubes.

Portuguese Pork with Clams | Porco Alentejana

  • Quick Glance
  • 50 M
  • 2 H
  • Serves 6 to 8
5/5 - 4 reviews
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Ingredients

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  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder or butt, cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) chunks
  • 1/4 cup red pepper paste
  • 1 3/4 cups dry white wine
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, plus more if needed
  • 2 medium yellow onions, coarsely choppped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 1/4 pounds small clams, such as cockles, manila, butter, or littlenecks, scrubbed and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Directions

  • 1. In a medium bowl, toss the pork chunks with the red pepper paste. Add the wine and toss again. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours or up to 36 hours.
  • 2. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and crank up the heat to 400°F (200°C).
  • 3. In a colander set over a large bowl, drain the pork, reserving the marinade. Pat the pork dry with paper towels.
  • 4. In a large pot over medium-high heat, warm 3 tablespoons olive oil. Working in batches, add the pork and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes. Add more oil in between batches, if needed. Transfer the pieces to a plate using a slotted spoon. If the bottom of the pot develops a dark coating, tip in some water in between batches and scrape it up.
  • 5. Lower the heat to medium, add the onion, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
  • 6. Pour in the reserved marinade, return the pork to the pot, and cook, covered, over low heat until the meat is tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. If it looks as if the liquid will burble away, spoon in a bit of water.
  • 7. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss the potato cubes with the remaining 3 tablespoons oil, season lightly with salt and with plenty of pepper, and scatter in one layer on a rimmed foil-lined baking sheet. Roast, flipping them once or twice, until golden brown, about 45 minutes.
  • 8. Discard any clams that feel heavy (which means they’re full of sand), have broken shells, or don’t close when tapped.
  • 9. Raise the heat under the pork to high, stir in the clams, cover, and cook until they open, 7 to 10 minutes. Toss out any that refuse to pop open. Taste the broth and season with salt and pepper if needed.
  • 10. To serve, remove half the clams from their shells, and return them to the pot. Toss out the shells. Line the bottom of the serving bowls with the potato cubes, top with the pork and clams and broth, and sprinkle with the cilantro. Have a large bowl at the ready for the shells.

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Comments

  1. This porco Alentejana does need salt. I added at the end. I used chicken breast rather than pork (gasp!) bc that’s what I had, fennel chorizo, pancetta with the onions. It was very tasty!

    1. Lisa, glad you liked the dish. The only thing I can think of is there wasn’t enough seawater trapped in the clam shells. (They may have been purged with fresh water.) I this because this dish is typically salty without adding salt.

  2. I love pork and clams! Tasty, easy and an impressive-looking dish for company! My husband loved it, and I didn’t let my pork marinate more than 4-5 hours because I was in a time crunch. It was still delicious, but I would suggest marinating overnight for fuller flavor as the recipe instructs.

    1. Kristy, that is a massively impressive dish of pork and clams! So glad your husband liked it. And, yes, next time let it marinate overnight. Big difference!

  3. This recipe looks lovely. Is there any reason why I could not make this ahead then reheat and add the clams just before serving? Thank you!

  4. David, thanks for all the great Portuguese recipes. My family has enjoyed every recipe I’ve attempted. Could, or even more importantly would you ever consider cooking this in a cataplana?

    1. Jon, you are more than welcome. You could cook this in a sturdy cataplana, but I find cataplanas are better for quick-cook meals such as chouriço and clams.

  5. there’s no salt mentioned here and I don’t know when to add it. Maybe while the meat is browning? And/or after pouring the liquid in? I’m puzzled. Thanks for your help!

    1. marcella, the reason why there’s no mention of salt is that the sea water that will spill from the clams will season the dish perfectly. Add salt earlier, and you’ll get a salty mess!

  6. I love everything about the new site. Everything looks so delicious, and the presentation is out of this world. Joe.

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