PORK STEW WITH COCKLES AND SPICY RED PEPPER SAUCE

PORK STEW WITH COCKLES AND SPICY RED PEPPER SAUCE (Portuguese, for six)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Pork, stews, pork stew with cockles and red pepper sauce (Portuguese) 2

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

3 pounds 1 inch thick boneless pork blade chops, cut into 1 inch cubes

kosher salt

1 very large onion, very finely chopped

5 large garlic cloves, 4 minced, one whole

1-1/2 cups dry white wine

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1-1/2 cups water

finely grated zest of 1 lemon

3 large bay leaves

3 large thyme sprigs

1-1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika

1 baguette, sliced ½ inch thick

1-1/2 pounds kale, inner ribs and stems discarded, leaves coarsely chopped

Spicy red pepper sauce

freshly ground black pepper

3 pounds cockles, rinsed

3 tablespoons chopped cilantro

 


 

1.In a large, enameled cast iron casserole, heat ¼ cup of olive oil until shimmering. Working in 3 batches, sear the pork over moderately high heat until browned all over, about 7 minutes per batch; you should not need to add oil between batches. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pork to a platter and season with salt.

2. Preheat the oven to 325*. Add half each of the minced onion and garlic to the casserole and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the wine and cook over moderately high heat until reduced by a third, scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the casserole. Whisk in the tomato paste, then add the water, lemon zest, bay leaves, thyme, paprika and a generous pinch of salt. Return the meat and any accumulated juices to the casserole and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender, about 1-1/2 hours. Skim the fat from the stew.

3. Meanwhile, brush the baguette slices with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and arrange on a baking sheet; bake until lightly toasted. Rub the toasts with the whole garlic clove while they’re still warm.

4. Add the kale to the stew, a handful at a time; let it wilt slightly and add more. Stir in ½ cup of the spicy red pepper sauce; season with pepper. Cover and keep warm over very low heat.

5. In a large saucepan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the remaining minced onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the cockles and the remaining spicy red pepper sauce, cover and cook until most of the shells have opened, about 4 minutes. Pour the cockles and their juices into the pork stew and gently stir. Ladle the stew into shallow bowls. Top with the cilantro and serve with the garlic toasts.

 

NOTE: This combination of briny cockles and smoky pork is traditional in southern Portugal’s Alentejo region.

 

from Stanley Lobel, Food & Wine Magazine, October, 2005

 

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