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Dec192011

December 14: Portugal

Clams and Pork in Cataplana and Portuguese Rice

I was inspired to select a catalpana- (Portuguese cooking dish) based meal by someone who gifted me one due to this journey. It is a stunning vessel (check them out on Williams Sonoma), but the dinner cooks equally well in a Dutch oven. Once again, my photography skills (or lack of them) do not do this meal justice. It was amazing! Unfortunately, in holiday mayhem, we did not find time to eat it until after the children were asleep, so cannot comment on how kid-friendly it is. But it is dinner-party worthy.

We served ours with kale I had cooked with garlic, more chorizo, and chicken stock for the day in the slow cooker. Perfect!

Clams and Pork in Cataplana and Portuguese Rice

  • 3 dozen small clams in the shell
  • 1 1/2 medium onions, 1 peeled and sliced thin, 1/2 diced finele
  • 3 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • 2 cans (12-16 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 2 ounces lean prosciutto, cut into small dice (I purchased an end piece for a fraction of the price)
  • 1/4 pound lean smoked ham, cubed
  • 1/4 pound chorizo or pepperoni, sliced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
  • handful cornmeal, grits, or oatmeal

Scrub the clams well in cool water, pile in a large deep kettle, cover with cold water and cornmeal or oatmeal, which acts as an irritant that forces the clams to purge themselves of grit. Let the clams stand in the cold water about 1 hour.

In a heavy Dutch-oven, stir-fry the the sliced onions and 2 cloves garlic (and sliced chorizo, if using raw) in 1/4 cup oil in a large heavy skillet over moderate heat 8 to 10 minutes until limp and golden. Add 1 bay leaf, 1 can diced tomatoes (with juice), and tomato sauce. Bring mixture to a simmer, cover, and cook slowly for 30 minutes. Add the prosciutto, smoked ham, and pepperoni, re-cover, and cook 30 minutes longer. 

In a smaller saucepan, with lid, cook the diced onion in the remaining 1/4 cup oil. When softened, add the remaining garlic, bay leaf, and and can of diced tomatoes. Cook one minute. Add the rice, 2 tablespoons parsley, and amount of water indicated on the rice directions. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook 20 minutes or until rice is tender.

To assemble the cataplana, spoon half the tomato mixture into the bottom of a very large cataplana (it should measure about 15 inches across). Adjust the heat so that the mixture barely boils, arrange the clams on top, spoon in the remaining tomato sauce, and cover tightly. (If using your Dutch oven, leave sauce where it is, and burry the clams in the sauce.) Cook for 10 minutes -- no peeking. Open the cataplana or kettle, pour in the wine, scatter the parsley evenly on top, then toss the clams lightly. Re-cover and cook slowly 15 to 20 minutes longer until the clams open — discard any that do not.

Serve clams along side the rice.

Printable Recipes

Did you know?

Portugal is home to the longest bridge in Europe, the Vasco de Gama bridge. It stretches over 17 kilometers (more than 10.5 miles) and spans the Tagus river just outside of the city of Lisbon.

From 1910 to 1926 Portugal had 44 governments, 20 military takeovers, and 12 different presidents.

Portugal is home to the first commercial wave farm, which creates and sells electricity. The farm was constructed in 2006.

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