Carne de Porco à Alentejana is one of the most traditional and popular pork dishes of Portuguese cuisine. It is typical from the Alentejo region where paprika or red pepper's paste are used frequently as a condiment. This recipe calls for marinating yhe pork with paprika, garlic, coriander leaves and white wine, and clams are added at the very end of the cooking. It seems strange to mix pork and clams but it's really very good. The wine that best pairs with this dish is a full body red wine with a rich bouquet like a Pinot Noir especially from California. Obviously the best would be an Alentejo wine, like the "Montes Claros" from Adega Cooperativa de Borba, both the 2005 and 2006 are especiallly good. —Maria Teresa Jorge
paprika, sweet or Spanish smoked paprika
rendered lard (or Extra Virgin Olive Oil but it won't taste the same!)
Peel the garlic, half it and remove the green part inside. Crush teh garlic.
Rub the pork fillet with the crushed garlic, the paprika, a little salt and put the meat in a ceramic or glass bowl. Add the white wine and marinate overnight or for 24 hours, turning the meat over at least once.
Wash the fresh clams under running water. In a big bowl add the clams, cover with fresh water, add 3 tablespoons of water (water should taste like sea water, quite salty!) and stir to dilute the salt. Leave the clams in the water for a minimum of 4 hours in the fridge so they open and squirt out any sand they might have inside. Drain the clams, wash under running water and set aside in the fridge.
Pat dry the meat, and cut in 1 inch cubes.
In a wide pan (that has a tight fitting lid), add the rendered lard (or Olive Oil but try and find the lard, it's worth all your effort - plus you can use the rest to make savoury pie crusts that come absolutely amazing and flaky) and fry the meat until golden all over over medium-high heat.
When you are ready to serve, put the pot with the meat over high heat, add the drained clams and the coriander leaves and mix. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and cook over high heat for 3 minutes, shaking the pan once in a while to distribute the heat evenly.
Serve immediately (discard any clams that haven't opened) and garnish with quarters of fresh lemon.
Some slices of good country bread will come in handy to dip in the sauce. Bom apetite!