Surf and Turf: Lombo de Porco com Ameijoas or, Pork with Clams

Surf and Turf:  Lombo de Porco com Ameijoas or, Pork with Clams
In doing my Portuguese recipe search, I learned that pork is a heavy favorite. From sausages to stews, the Portuguese embrace the other white meat and serve it in all variations and all cuts.  Corn farming in the 17th and 18th centuries meant pigs were plentiful, though it was largely considered peasant food, shunned by the rich in lieu of game.  One of those most traditional pork dishes adds a seafood element:  Lombo de Porco com Amêijoas, or pork with clams. It sounded like a weird combo in my head. That, and I’ve never cooked with clams,  really only putting them in the context of a clam bake or steamed with wine.  Time for something new.

Sometimes I find it hard to cook for one, particularly when it comes to making more stew-y type things.  Packages tend to be one size fits all, so usually it ends up being more food than I need for just myself before I get tired of eating whatever I made.  It’s for this reason that sometimes I find shopping at a more expensive butcher to be the way to go.  My freezer is perpetually overstuffed, and I’ve found it’s better to spend maybe more per pound on something than paying more in general for too much food.  Another upside of this is that my ingredients are always fresh.  In the case of these clams, very fresh.  Like I said before, I’d never cooked with clams, and therefore never bought them.  Did you know are alive upon purchase? I did not. I must have sounded pretty dumb when the fishmonger handed me an open plastic bag of clams on ice. “So…I need to keep this bag open? Don’t you have to seal it?”  “No, best to keep it open,” he replied.  “Umm…ok.”   I then started to panic because I had not intended on making the pork that day, but was now afraid my clams would die and no longer be good if I waited the next day and surely, they’d suffocate in the fridge overnight, right?  Unsure of what to do, I kept them on ice on my counter until the next evening and they seemed to be okay with that. I’m still here to tell the tale, so clearly no strange bacteria manifested from the wait.

Anyhoo, this was really easy, with minimal ingredients, few steps and tons of flavor. And remember that broa? Well, I got a lot of mileage out of that loaf, and I was perfect for sopping up this tasty juice.
Serves 2-3
Ingredients
1 pound pork stew meat
6 clams
1 large onion, sliced
1 large tomato, diced
1 carrot, shredded
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 red pepper, diced
about 1 TB smoked paprika
1 cup dry white wine
1 lemon
cilantro, for garnish
1 bay leaf
olive oil, for the pan
clams2
I grated some leftover Manchego on top of mine. I don’t think you’re supposed to do that, but I did. And it was good.
Directions
1.   Coat the pork in the paprika.   Place the pork, garlic, bay, wine, salt and pepper in a plastic zipper bag.  Marinate for 6 hours, or overnight if you prefer.
2.  After it has finished marinating, drain the meat, keeping the marinade aside for now, and heat a stock pot coated in olive oil on medium heat.  Add the pork and brown.  Once brown on all sides, remove from the pan.
3.  Saute the onion until soft.  Add the red pepper, tomato, carrot and garlic and cook for 8-10 minutes.  Add the meat back and add the marinade.  Boil, uncovered and let simmer  for about 20 minutes.
4.  Add the clams, cover the pan and allow them to open, about 10 minutes.  Squeeze lemon over the entire dish and garnish with cilantro.**
5.  Serve with bread for dipping.
**At this point if you want the sauce to be a bit thicker, remove the clams and beat, and boil until it is as thick as you’d like**.
clams
Here’s an interesting article on Epicurious that talks more about Portuguese cuisine in general.
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