Recipes from Home: Portuguese Pork and Clams

Menu Part: 
Cuisine Type: 
6 servings

Tony Almeida, director of food and nutrition, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, New Brunswick, N.J., says: “Being Portuguese, one of my favorite dishes is Portuguese Pork and Clams. My mom made this dish four or five times a year but only on special occasions because the clams were expensive in Portugal. It was a real treat, and I love to prepare this dish as often as I can.”


2 lb. boneless pork shoulder or butt, cut into 1-in. cubes
1 cup dry white wine, or as needed
3 tbsp. sweet paprika
1 bay leaf
2 whole cloves
5 cloves garlic, chopped
4 tbsp. lard or olive oil
2 yellow onions, chopped
4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, diced
2 lb. small clams such as Manila, well scrubbed
3 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


1. Place pork in non-aluminum container and add wine, paprika, bay leaf, cloves and three garlic cloves. Toss well to mix evenly, cover and refrigerate overnight. The next day, drain pork, reserving marinade. Pat meat dry.

2. In large frying pan over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp. lard or warm 2 tbsp. olive oil. Working in batches, brown pork cubes on all sides until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to plate.

3. In large saucepan over medium heat, melt remaining lard or warm remaining oil. Add onions and sauté until soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Add remaining garlic and tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally until tomatoes are soft, about 5 minutes. Add browned pork to onion mixture along with reserved marinade. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook until pork is tender, about 1 hour. Add wine if pork threatens to scorch.

4. Add clams, cover, raise heat to high and cook until clams open, about 5 minutes.

5. Transfer pork and clams to serving dish and sprinkle with cilantro and parsley. 

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