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Serving Soup to Nuts for... oh... a couple of weeks now anyway.

Carne de Porco a Alentejana
(Pork With Littlenecks)



     This is one of the classic dishes that makes Portuguese food so popular. You need to start making it at least a day before you plan on eating it, but it's worth all the trouble. I've tasted two renditions of it made by two great Portuguese cooks: Sandy Sousa, who as half of the team known as Sandy and Bobbi, keep the Newport Creamery restaurant on Bellevue Avenenue Newport, Rhode Island, running on an even keel; and Manuela Sardinha, who makes an amazing paella the best restaurant would be proud to serve, and who's husband David Sardinha is the seafood manager at Eastside Marketplace on the Eastside of Providence, Rhode Island. David can fillet fish blind-folded, shuck a cooked lobster in seconds, and knows more about cooking and eating fish than anyone I've ever met. His Portuguese Skate Wings recipe (probably his wife's) appeared in the 08/23/99 Danger Kitchen, #29.

This is my rendition of a Portuguese classic.



Ingredients

> 5 pounds boneless pork, cut in 3/4 or 1 inch cubes.
> 5 pounds potatoes, cubed (same size as the pork).
> 3 large onions chopped.
> 3 dozen littlenecks, scrubbed and rinsed.
> 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper.
> 2 tablespoons Massa de Pimentao (sweet red pepper paste, see recipe below),
    or you can substitute a paste made from 1 peeled and
    crushed garlic clove, 1 teaspoon salt (kosher if you have it),
    1 tablespoon paprika (good Hungarian paprika), and 1 tablespoon olive oil.
> 1 teaspoon salt.
> 2 bay leaves (Spice Islands are the best).
> 1 cup orange juice.
> 1 cup white wine.
> 1 head of garlic, peeled and minced.
> 1 teaspoon paprika.
> 2 tablespoons tomato paste.
> 1 beef bullion cube.
> 2 hot red (Portuguese) peppers, seeded and cut into pieces.
> 1 cup large pitted black olives.
> 1/2 bunch fresh parsley, chopped.

How

> Day Before
> Mix 1 chopped onion, salt, bay leaves, orange juice, 1/2 cup wine, garlic, paprika, and red peppers.
> Cube the pork and marinate (overnight) in the mixture above, add more wine if necessary.
> Two hours before serving
> Cube the potatoes and parboil for a few minutes, not even until tender.
> Fry the potatoes in hot olive oil for a few minutes more, not even until browned.
> Drain the potatoes and set aside.
> Drain the pork mixture, keeping the marinade liquid.
> Fry the remaining onions and pork mixture until just barely browning.
> Add 1/2 cup wine, cover and simmer 20 minutes.
> Bring the remaining marinade to a boil and add the bullion cube and tomato paste. Simmer 5 minutes.
> Put the potatoes, pork and onions in a large baking dish.
> Pour in the remaining marinade.
> Put the black olives and parsley on top.
> Put the littlenecks on top of all.
> Cover with foil and bake at 350 until the clams are done, about 20 minutes.
> Optionally, add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice just before serving.
> Serve with the best crusty bread you can find, a jug of red wine, and maybe a salad.



Massa de Pimentao Ingredients

> 8 sweet red (bell) peppers, cleaned and cut into 1 inch strips.
> 2 to 3 tablespoons kosher salt.
> 4 large garlic cloves, minced (peel first, duh!).
> 1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil.

How

> Put a single layer of pepper strips on the bottom of a 9 or 10 inch ovenproof dish.
> Sprinkle with 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of salt.
> Keep layering pepper strips and salt until all are used.
> Let stand uncovered at room temp over night.
> Drain excess liquid.
> Put uncovered in the oven at 250 to 275 for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until nearly dry.
> Cool, and peel the skin from each pepper strip (I don't usually).
> Put the garlic, peppers and 1/2 the oil in a food processor.
> Proccess until smooth, or use a mortar and pestle, or even a blender.
> Process in the remaining oil slowly to make a whipped butter sort of consistancy.
> Keep in the refridgerator.


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