Portuguese Pork with Potatoes and Clams (Porco Alentejana)

by Min Merrell
Portuguese Pork and Clams

Portuguese Pork with Potatoes and Clams opened our eyes to the goodness of pork butt cooked without smoke.

When immersed in any kind of project it’s often hard to step out and see the big picture. That definitely happened to us with Cheater BBQ–our foray into exploring new methods for making great barbecue with liquid smoke. We got so carried away with the liquid smoke (an all-natural product, BTW) that we completely ignored all the great pork recipes that don’t use any form of smoke.

Relax about the smoke already! Our eyes and minds are now open to the possibilities.

We got schooled in Rhode Island with a classic Portuguese recipe called Porco Alentejana (Alentejo is a region in south central Portugal). Rhode Island’s Portuguese lineage has made the dish popular there as well.

In this dish the pork is combined with some of the classic barbecue seasonings. Wine replaces cider vinegar to give it an acidic punch and there’s still plenty of garlic and classic dry rub ingredients. The only thing missing is the smoke! And we loved it. Even better, the pork is paired with potatoes and clams. It’s interesting to note that many clam recipes are seasoned with a little salty pork and this recipe completely turns that on its head. It’s pork flavored with briny clams. And potatoes go with everything.

First, we cooked pork butt Cheater BBQ style in the slow cooker without the smoke until it was pull-apart tender. You can prepare the pork in advance. When it’s time to start dinner, place the pork and juices with the cooked new potatoes in a Dutch oven and heat it all up together. When the stew is bubbly add the clams, cover, and cook until they pop open. Garlicy, tangy pork, creamy potatoes and briny Rhode Island clams.

If you want to include a Portuguese/healthy green component to the stew add cooked chopped kale to the meat and potatoes. 

All this dish needs is a big green salad and a cold, crisp old world white wine. 













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