Friday, April 18, 2014

Chow Down to Eurovision 2014 - Portugal

Boa Noite this is Portugal calling!

Please let us all welcome Portugal to their first appearance in the Chow Down to Eurovision. YAAAY!!

I have spared no expensive on their debut in the competition with this dish coming directly from Lisbon, well via Facebook.

I met Manel while he was visiting Melbourne many, many years ago through a mutual friend Anne.

We then all caught up again a few years later for a great New Years Eve party in London with a very excellent chilli if I remember rightly (there may have been 1 or 2 beverages consumed).

Being both wonderful cooks and Manel being from Portugal I knew that this was the brains trust I needed to consult.

Manel suggested pork belly and claims to which I replied that he had me at pork belly!

Hopefully we will get to catch up in person again soon to cook and eat more Portuguese food, naturally in the name of Chow Down to Eurovision research.

Portugal's highest placing since first joining Eurovision in 1964 was in 1996 with O meu coração não tem cor sung by Lúcia Moniz who later went on to the hopelessly romantic bilingual relationship with Colin Firth in Love Actually.
They placed 6th.

Portuguese Pork Belly and Clams
  • 1kg pork belly (rasher, less cutting)
  • White wine dry (about 400ml, enough to cover pork)
  • 1-2 tbsp. hot paprika
  • 1 tbsp.  sea salt flakes
  • 1 tsp. cracked black pepper
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 4 red capsicum
  • 2 red onions
  • 3 shallots
  • 1 cup vermouth
  • 1kg clams, cleaned
  • 1/2 bunch coriander
  • Remove the rind from the pork belly and reserve
  • Cut the pork belly into 2cm pieces
  • Rub the pork belly with paprika, salt, pepper
  • Place in a container and cover with white wine, about 400mls
  • Crush bay leaves onto the pork belly
  • Add 4 crushed cloves of garlic
  • Cover and let marinate overnight
  • Roast the capsicums covered in a tray for about 45 minutes in a 160°C oven
  • Remove the skin and seeds and add to a jug
  • Add 4 cloves of garlic and a pinch of salt
  • Blend until smooth
  • Pass through a fine sieve to catch any stray seeds (there is always one!)
  • Drain the pork belly and pat dry
  • Finely chop the onions and shallots
  • In a heavy based oven proof pan heat a good swig of olive oil 3-4 tbsps.
  • Add the reserved rind to add additional flavour to the oil
  • Fry till crisp but not burnt then discard the rind (let's be honest we know what that means, yum!)
  • Add the onion and shallots and sauté to soften
  • Add the pork belly to brown it (do in batches to avoid over crowding)
  • Add the capsicum puree and stir through
  • Bake in a 180°C oven for 30 minutes
  • Take the pan from the oven and stir through the vermouth
  • Add the clams and cover with a lid or tin foil
  • Bake for a further 10-15 minutes till the clams open (discard any non openers)
  • Serve topped with chopped coriander and a drizzle of olive oil
You can reduce the number of clams, but mine came in a 1kg bag from the fish monger and I wasn't going to waste any.
This pork is also delicious without adding the vermouth and clams as it is all crispy and sticky.
Some warm ciabatta and I could happily be left alone with this dish

Making a return to Eurovision this year after not participating in 2013, Portugal will be represented by Suzy singing Quero ser tua
Boa sorte!

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