As promised, here is the amazing braised pork recipe with the delicious homemade Massa de Pimentão (recipe from last week, scroll down for the link)! I know it requires a bit of planning and time to make, but it is so worthy to invest your time into it, perhaps a great weekend project for you?
This dish was inspired by a recipe from a cook book I have, ‘Lisbon – recipes from the heart of Portugal’ by Rebecca Seal. The said recipe is Pork with Clams (Carne de Porco á Alentejana) in which Seal cooked pork and clams with Massa de Pimentão. It looks delicious on the cook book so I decided to do a similar one which in many ways, reminds me of my childhood. My version of the Massa de Pimentão has Chinese spices in it, so in order to compliment it, I opt for pork belly (instead of pork leg, the traditional ingredient for Porc a l’Alentejo) which is one of the most popular cuts of meat we use in Chinese cuisine. Choose a piece that is not too fatty but definitely not too lean because the combination of the two makes the texture of the meat desirable, every bite is a joyful sensation! You will know what I mean if you try it.
Another addition in my recipe is Portuguese chouriço, which I thought would enrich the taste of the whole dish and I was right, it gives an extra depth of flavour and texture to the final result. If you are up for something rich in taste and balance in texture as a special treat, this recipe is the one for you and I highly recommend it!
- 800g Free range pork belly, cut into bite size pieces
- 3 tbsp. of homemade Massa de Pimentão (recipe here)
- 1 tbsp. shaoxing rice wine or Marsala wine
- 250g Portuguese chouriço (or Spanish chorizo as alternative), cut into small pieces
- 2 medium carrot, cut into bite size pieces
- 5 waxy potato, such as Linda, peeled and cut into bite size pieces
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 2 bay leaf
- 1 litre of chicken stock (you might not need all)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Vegetable oil
- Steamed Jasmin rice or Basmati
- Crusty bread
- A handful of chopped fresh coriander
- Good quality Portuguese olive oil
Add a good pinch of sea salt, and a few twists of freshly ground black pepper, Shaoxing wine (or Marsala), Massa de Pimentão and bay leaf to the pork belly. Stir well and make sure all meat is evenly coated with the marinade. Refrigerate for 1 hour or best overnight (recommended).
Warm a couple of teaspoons of vegetable oil in a cast iron casserole (or heavy bottomed sauce pan), sauté shallots and a small pinch of salt until slightly soft and fragrant (not brown). Add chouriço. Sauté until chouriço is crispy and golden brown and released the beautiful paprika oil. Remove the sausages (but leave the oil in), and then add the marinaded pork belly into the casserole. Brown the meat in all sides for a couple of minutes, be careful not to scorch the bottom of the pan.
Add a splash of stock (or water) to deglaze the casserole. Then add the remaining chicken stock (about 2 cm above the meat). Stir until everything is combined. Bring the content to boil and then reduce to slow simmer, for about 1.5 hours or until the meat is very tender.
Add potato and chouriço to the casserole and bring it back to slow simmer (make sure there is enough liquid, add more stock or water if needed) for another 30-45 minutes or until the potatoes are soft but still have some bites. Season with salt and pepper.
Just before serving, drizzle generous amount of olive oil to round up the overall taste. Serve with steamy hot rice or mop up all the sauce with warm crusty bread. Don’t forget to sprinkle the chopped fresh coriander leaves to compliment the richness and silkiness of this dish.
If you have made this dish and liked it, please leave a comment as I would love to hear from you!