Portuguese Pork and Clams

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.

The combination of pork and clams, called porco Alentenjana, is a signature dish of Alentejo, and the kitchen at the Pousada dos Lóios, in the unspoiled provincial walled capital of Évora, makes a particularly memorable version. The pigs of the province dine on acorns, making the pork especially sweet, and the salty clams provide a nice contrast to the rich meat. Massa de pimentão (a paste of roasted red peppers, garlic, and olive oil) diluted with wine is sometimes used in place of the marinade presented here. Serve this popular dish with fried potato cubes. Sometimes a squeeze of lemon is added at the table.–Joyce Goldstein

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

  • One (2-pound) boneless pork shoulder or butt, cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes
  • 1 cup dry white wine, or as needed
  • 3 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons lard or olive oil (2 oz)
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 2 pounds small clams such as Manila, well scrubbed
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves

Directions

  • 1. Place the pork in a nonaluminum container and add the 1 cup wine, paprika, bay leaf, cloves, and 3 of the garlic cloves. Toss well to mix evenly, cover, and refrigerate overnight. The next day, drain the pork, reserving the marinade. Pat the meat dry.
  • 2. In a large frying pan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the lard or warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Working in batches, brown the pork cubes on all sides until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate.
  • 3. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons lard or warm the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Add the onions and saute until soft, 8-10 minutes. Add the remaining 2 cloves garlic and the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally until the tomatoes are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the browned pork to the onion mixture along with the reserved marinade, cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the pork is tender, about 1 hour. Check from time to time and add more wine if the pork threatens to scorch.
  • 4. Add the clams, discarding any that are open or have broken shells, cover, raise the heat to high, and cook until the clams open, about 5 minutes. (Discard any clams that failed to open.)
  • 5. Transfer the pork and clams to a warmed serving dish and sprinkle with the cilantro and parsley. Serve immediately.

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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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