Pork with clams

Pork with clams

Carne de porco a alentejana

Steven Joyce

Porc a l’Alentejo is one of Portugal’s most famous dishes. I learnt to make this classic recipe at the Cooking Lisbon school, but it comes from Alentejo, a large region south of Lisbon. The combination of pork, pickles and clams may sound strange, but it really is delicious.


Quantity Ingredient
800g boneless pork leg, cut into 3 cm cubes
4 garlic cloves, crushed to a paste
3 tablespoons Roasted red pepper paste
2 dried bay leaves, crumbled
2 tablespoons olive oil
200ml white wine
freshly ground black pepper
200g live clams
1kg floury potatoes, suitable for frying, peeled and cut into 2 cm dice
vegetable oil, for deep-frying
1 tablespoon lard
150g shop-bought pickled vegetables, chopped, at room temperature
large handful coriander leaves, chopped, to serve
freshly squeezed lemon juice, to serve
12 black olives, to serve


  1. Place the pork in a large bowl with the crushed garlic, massa de pimentao or red pepper paste, bay leaves, olive oil, wine and some salt and pepper. Toss to ensure the pork is coated in the marinade, then set aside for at least an hour (or up to 8 hours in the fridge).
  2. To prepare the clams, place them in a bowl of cold, salted water to clean off any debris. If any are open, tap them and if they fail to close in the following minute, discard before cooking.
  3. Place a large, deep pan over a medium heat and fill with about 8 cm (3 in) of vegetable oil. Pat the potato cubes dry with paper towel. When the oil is shimmering hot, add the potatoes (do this in batches if necessary as crowding the pan will slow the cooking process down by cooling the oil). Cook for 5–10 minutes until golden brown on the outside and fluffy and cooked within. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Keep warm.
  4. Melt the lard in a wide, high-sided non-stick frying pan with a lid and add the marinated pork. Fry gently (in batches if necessary, to avoid overcrowding the pan), until golden brown all over and just cooked through, then add any remaining marinade and cook for a couple of minutes longer. Just before serving, drain the clams, then tip them into the pan with the pork, and cover with a lid. Cook for 3 minutes, or until the clams have opened (discard any that remain closed after cooking).
  5. Finally, add the chopped pickles and warm fried potatoes and mix well. Sprinkle the dish with the chopped coriander, and serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice on top and 3 black olives on each plate.
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