Serve with Portuguese bread, a green salad, and very cold vinho verde
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/4 -pound boneless pork butt, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound onions, finely chopped
6 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and finely minced
1 bay leaf
28-ounce can tomatoes in tomato purée
1 cup dry white wine
2-ounce chunk of fatty prosciutto (top-quality not necessary)
6 ounces chorizo
72 small clams (preferably Manila clams or New Zealand cockles), scrubbed
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1. Place the olive oil in a heavy Dutch oven over moderately high heat. Add the pork pieces and sauté until lightly browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Add the onions, garlic, green pepper, and bay leaf, and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes more.
2. Add half the tomatoes with all their purée, breaking the tomatoes into small chunks with the back of a wooden spoon. (Save the other half of the tomatoes for another use.) Add 3/4 cup of the wine, and bring to a rapid boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
3. Cut the prosciutto into tiny dice, and add to the stew. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes more.
4. Add the chorizo to the stew. Cook, covered, until the pork is tender, another 15 to 30 minutes.
5. When almost ready to serve, add the clams to the pot, stir them into the tomato sauce, and sprinkle them with the remaining 1/4 cup of white wine. Increase heat to moderately high, cover the Dutch oven, and cook until the clams open. While the clams are cooking, grasp the Dutch oven with both hands and shake it a few times to move them around.
6. When the clams have opened, reduce heat to low, cover Dutch oven, and cook for 5 minutes more, allowing the clam juices to blend with the stew. While the clams are cooking, remove the chorizo, cut it into thin slices, and return to the Dutch oven. Taste sauce for seasoning. Sprinkle stew with cilantro and serve immediately in a large bowl.
This fabulous specialty of the Alentejo region is cooked there in a special hinged copper pot called a cataplana; its beauty is that it can be turned on either side on top of the stove, which enables the cook to shake the clams in the pan so they open evenly. If you can find one, by all means use it to cook this dish. But if you can't, don't fret; proceed with a regular Dutch oven. The dish will be just as delicious. By the way, the Portuguese would use presunto (their cured ham) and chouriço (their spicy sausage) in this dish; you may substitute the more available prosciutto (Italian) and chorizo (Spanish). Serve with Portuguese bread, a green salad, and very cold vinho verde. Serves 6