Welcome to the Curly Cook, a food blog dedicated to good food and wine with Portuguese flare!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Portuguese Surf & Turf (Carne Porco à Alentejana)

So 'Portuguese Surf & Turf' isn't the literal translation, but it gives you an idea of what this dish is about. Again, it's a dish from the southern Alentejo province, where much of the more creative of Portuguese cuisine comes from. A few notes about this one, small clams are better since they cook faster and usually taste better...just make sure they are fresh. I've used shrimp when I can't find clams in land-locked Ontario, not the same, but better than nothing.
Let me know what you think of the video!


2 ½ lbs. boneless pork loin, cut into 1 inch cubes
6 to 8 potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
2 tbsp. Portuguese pimento sauce*
1 cup dry white wine
2 large bay leaves, crumbled
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
15- 20 clams in the shell, scrubbed and purged of grit
Salt and pepper to taste

*If you don’t have pimento sauce, you can substitute it with your own homemade version using 1 crushed garlic clove, 1 tsp salt, 1 tbsp. sweet paprika, 1 tbsp olive oil

1. Marinade the pork with the pimento sauce, wine, bay leaves, and garlic in a non-metallic bowl, overnight if possible.

2. Bake potatoes in one layer with a good drizzle of olive oil, and salt and pepper @ 425 C for about 30 minutes or until they look lightly brown and toasty. Alternatively, the potatoes can be deep fried; you’re choice.

3. In a large sauce pan, heat olive oil and add marinated pork and brown on all sides.

4. Remove pork from pan, and set aside. Add chopped onion and leftover marinade to the saucepan and sauté until onions are translucent. Add tomato paste.

5. Put the browned pork back in the saucepan and incorporate the onion/tomato mixture. Lower the heat and let the contents simmer.

6.Add the clams on top of the pork, distributing them as evenly as possible and cook about 20 minutes or until they open.

7. Arrange the baked (or fried) potatoes on a serving platter and pour the pork/clam mixture on top.

8. Garnish with sliced orange and lemon slices and freshly chopped cilantro.


Stephanie Ciccarelli said...


Absolutely stunning work. You have great camera presence and I'm very impressed :)

Have you got an offer from the Food Network yet?!! You're awesome.


Stephanie Ciccarelli

Andy Paulo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Curly Cook said...

Thanks for the positive feedback! If you know anyone hiring at the food network, let me know! I need a career change!


I'm glad you found my recipe to be useful; that's the ultimate point of my blog :) Let me know how it ends up!


Anonymous said...

Hi "Curly Sandra"
Liked your dinamic camera friendly
presence, and an almost perfect portuguese accent.
I'll comment in english, not in portuguese, so everyone can understand.

I have some comments to this recipe, and some I'll post in the other recipes.
Please try to look at it as an help (that you really didn't ask for), and not just a "Pain in the A..." :).

1. It is not "Vinho e Alhos" but "Vinha d'alhos" that's why "Vin-D-Aloo".
2. Browning the pork for half-an-hour? It should be browned at the worst in 10 mins.
3. Onions and tomato? It might even be a tasty option but... NEVER in the traditional recipe!
4. The real Alentejo traditional recipe isn't served with potatoes or coriander but, it came out to be very usualy served with fried potato cubes (same size of pork cubes) and seasoned with coriander but, it is NEVER served with baked potatoes, so you will not find it that way "in pretty much any portuguese restaurant"...
5. The clams don't need to be totally open. Yours were open enough, just loose those wich are totaly closed, that means they were already dead.
6. And to finish, please don't mislead your eventual watchers, if you don't know portuguese History or Geography.
Portugal bordered by the south by Morocco?
If you draw a vertical straight line from southern Portugal to the nearest moroccan coast it will be 250 miles long, trough the Atlantic Ocean.
Portugal is 861 years old, the oldest country in the world with it's actual borders and... "it was once rulled by Africans"??? FGS!
Where did you learn that? You were fooled! You should ask them your money back!


The Curly Cook said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for your comments and portuguese-language corrections :)

As with any recipe, I think there is always room for some "artistic license." Whether it be because of food constraints (eg. the risk of trichuriasis in undercooked pork) or simply to be creative (eg. baked potatoes vs. fried potatoes) the idea , for me at least, is to have fun and eat some good food!

I look forward to future comments and hope you had an overall positive experience at the Curly Cook :)


PS You might want to leave some comments on Wikipedia since they seem to have the same information on Portuguese History & Geography that I was taught. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portugal

Anonymous said...

Sorry Sandra
But you there was nothing - as it couldn't ever be, about Portugal being bordered by the south by Morocco. It just takes a look at a map.
The same way, there's no info about africans rulling Portugal,
simply because it didn't ever happened. The region that
would became Portugal was ruled, from the 8th to the 12th century,
by the moors who were arabs from the Yemen region, that also colonized the region that is today Morocco.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous,

Regarding your comment "ruled by the moors who were arabs from the Yemen region, that also colonized the region that is today Morocco."

The term "Moors" refers to people of Berber and Arab descent from North Africa, some of whom came to inhabit the Iberian Peninsula.

Moors are not distinct or self defined people but an appellation applied by medieval and early modern Europeans PRIMARILY to Berbers, but also Arabs, and Muslim Iberians.

Arab conquests of the Rashidun and Umayyad Caliphates, and the final Umayyad conquest of Hispania. These conquests stretched south to modern-day Mauritania, Western Sahara, and West African countries as far south as the Senegal River. Earlier, the Classical Romans interacted (and later conquered) Mauretania, a state in what is now Algeria. The people of the region are remembered in Classical literature as the MAURI (see the resemlance? Mauri...Mour...Moor) This name, not their own, was applied by cultures north of the Mediterranean.

So, in summary, the Moors were Muslims from North Africa...the Berbers.

The Curly Cook said...

Dear Anonymous #2,

Thank you for clarifying the 'ongoing debate' between, Moors/Muslims/Africans.
I will be more careful in the future with my history references!
Hope you enjoyed the recipe and the blog :)


Anonymous said...

Hi Sandra!
Thank you so much for your recipe and demonstration! My partner is Portuguese and I have felt totally welcomed into the culture. Carne Alentejana was one of the first Portuguese dishes that I ever tasted and since then I don’t think I have ever stopped expanding my Portuguese palate (including some great dishes while we travelled through Portugal). I can sometimes find cooking traditional dishes a little daunting as I often have a crew of discerning family and friends to prepare them for, but your demo was wonderful and took all the guess work out of the preparation. I often search for my favourite Portuguese recipes online and it can be a challenge translating them into English, so it was very helpful to come across your blog. I also loved your twist on roasting the potatoes (as opposed to frying them) because I am always out to make more “heart healthy” meals. I will be making this dish again as it got rave reviews from all!
Thanks so much and I look forward to trying more recipes!
London, ON
P.S. Do you happen to have any good recipes for Feijoada?

The Curly Cook said...

Dear Vanessa,

I'm happy to hear that my version of carne porco a Alentejana was a hit! You made my day :)
I've been meaning to ask my grandma for a good feijoada recipe, especially since the weather has been getting colder! What version of feijoada are you familiar with? The one with white kidney beans, or the black bean version? I'll try my best to get a recipe up on the site in the next few weeks.
Thanks again for the positive comment and hope the blog can provide you with more portuguese pleasing recipes :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Sandra,

Thank you very much for the recipe for Carne Porco a Alentejana, I am definitely going to try it this weekend!! I was in Portugal with my boyfriend for a 2 week holiday and we simply fell in love with this flavoursome dish.
Thanks a lot for sharing this recipe!
Have a wonderful day! :)


The Curly Cook said...

Hi Laura,

Glad to hear that you enjoyed the recipe. Let me know how it turns out!
Thanks for visiting the blog and please come again :)



Anonymous said...

Carne DE porco a Alentjana is Portuguese Surf & Turf? Yikes! That's a scary thought.

Although this dish might turn out tasty; I don't know I haven't tried it, this is not the way it is made in Portugal. There is no tomato in it. In fact, the tomato will completely change the basic taste of this dish.

BTW, I've never heard any reputable historian refer to the Moors as "Africans".

patricio said...

thanks for the recipe, its my favorite dish. I didn't know how it was made, and I only could eat in the few portuguese restaurants in my area.

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

The Curly Cook said...

Glad you think the blog has improved. That is always a good sign!
Happy Eating :)

N said...


Great to find this Blog, and brilliant to find that there are so many people interested in Portuguese Cookery. I thought I would drop the line in case anyone needs anything translated, I set up a site that offers free translation and reviews on courses and books on Portuguese Language, feel free to visit:

Link http://www.portuguese.im

Best Regards and keep up the good work!

N said...

sorry, wrong link it is:



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sandy said...

love this...its my favorite and you did a good job on showing me how to make my favorite dish. thanks =)

Fernando Matias said...

Hey Sandra, a few weeks ago I met a norwegian guy in a portuguese restaurant who was salivating over my Pork Alentejana, he was absolutely charmed with it. I promised to send him the recipe and luckly I've found your video. Just perfect!
Thank you,

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