Friday, October 16, 2009

Reminiscing Portugal...making Cataplana

Two summers ago, Michele and I took a trip that became our most favorite - a two week adventure in Portugal. Portugal is such a gem - great wines, delicious seafood and pastries, a variety of beautiful beaches ( rocky cliffs and sandy ones), tile-covered houses, and gentle people. We spent most of our time in Lisbon and exploring Algarve and its beaches....and surprisingly, we found our love for Portuguese food, especially Cataplana, which is a savory stew. Of all the different Cataplanas we had, we enjoyed seafood and pork the most.

Me ( extremely tanned) with our very first Cataplana at a restaurant at Portimao
Tapas, Portuguese style, lots of seafood!

One of the posadas we stayed at...

This week, we decided to make amêijoas na cataplana, which is a clam, pork, sausage and bacon stew. Seafood and pork three ways! Making this dish would take us back to our wonderful trip we had in Portugal...the summer where we just went beach hunting, posada hopping, and ate lots of amazing food.

The recipe Michele worked on is inspired by Andrew McMeel's Cataplana, but of course, we made our own slight tweaks and added arborio rice....making a combination of Portuguese seafood and pork stew/ Risotto.....
1 can (28-ounce) Italian diced tomatoes
tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 (1/4-inch-thick) slices bacon, cut into ¼-inch dice
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 chopped red bell pepper
1 chopped yellow bell pepper
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 jalapenos, diced
4 ounces andouille sausage cut into ¼-inch
dice 8 ounces pork tenderloin cut into ¼-inch cut
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
3/4 cup of Arborio rice
2 pounds little neck clams, cleaned
ciabatta bread


There's a specific cataplana pot, but since we did not have one, we used a dutch oven instead.

In a dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat until hot enough to sizzle a piece of bacon. Add the bacon and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add the onion and red and yellow peppers and sauté, stirring, for 8 minutes, or until the vegetables are wilted and beginning to turn golden. Add the garlic and jalapeno, sauté for 2 - 3 minutes. Stir in the andouille and pork tenderloin and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, or until lightly browned. Sprinkle with the paprika and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the wine, tomatoes, and parsley and bring to a boil. Add 3/4 cup of arborio rice. Decrease the heat to low and cook, for 30 - 40 minutes, or until liquid is slightly reduced, the sauce becomes thick and the rice is cooked. Spoon half of the sauce into the cataplana; spoon the clams on top. Spoon the remaining sauce on top. Secure the cover in place.

In the meantime, slice ciabatta bread and toast it in the oven at 350 degrees for 5 minutes.
Place the cataplana over medium heat and cook for 10 minutes, or until the clams have opened. Bring the cataplana to the table and, using oven mitts, carefully remove the cover. Discard any clams that failed to open. Spoon the clams, risotto and rich sauce into warmed shallow bowls and serve at once with toasted ciabatta bread.

With the jalapenos cooked in the stew, this dish is really spicy... its delicious because you can taste all the layers of sausage, bacon, bell peppers, and clams.... all so yummy with a depths of savory!

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