Portuguese Pork and Clam Stew Recipe

Portuguese Pork and Clam Stew

Carne de Porco à Alentejana, a popular stew recipe of pork and clams from the Alentejo region in Portugal. The Alentejo, the region east of Lisbon, beyond (além) the river Tejo, is known for its rural beauty, ancient towns, villages, and its excellent food and wine.

The origin of this dish probably dates back a few hundred years when poor farmers/fishermen in the Algarve, the southernmost region of Portugal, fed their pigs fish waste which resulted in a slightly fishy taste of the meat. To make up for it they included clams to the pork stew and adding insult to injury named it after their richer neighbor, the Alentejo, well known for its excellent ham and pork sausages.

Yield: 4 servings

Time: about 60 minutes plus overnight marinating


  • 2 lbs (900 g) lean pork shoulder, cut into 2 inch (5 cm) cubes
  • 24 clams, cleaned and debearded
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) olive oil
  • 2 medium size onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 thyme twig
  • 1 cup (240 ml) dry white wine
  • pinch of hot chile pepper flakes
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 cups (800 g) canned plum tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 cup (14 g) cilantro (coriander leaves) or flat-leaf parsley, chopped


In a bowl, make a marinade with the white wine, bay leaf, thyme, chile pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Add the pork cubes and let it marinate overnight.

When ready to cook, remove pork from marinade and dry it well with paper towels. Save marinade.

Heat olive oil in a saucepan over high heat. Brown pork cubes all over. Set aside on towel paper.

Drain fat from pan leaving about 2 tablespoons. Add onions and sauté over medium heat stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and simmer for about 30 minutes stirring once in a while. If the sauce is too thick, add a bit of the saved marinade.

Place clams over the simmering pork, cover saucepan, and steam clams for about 3 to 6 minutes, or until they open. Taste for salt and pepper.

Serve pork and clams sprinkled with the chopped cilantro (coriander leaves) accompanied by crusty bread and a light, crisp white wine.

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