The combination of pork and clams in this dish is unusual, but creates a rich flavour that makes it easy to see why this stew has become so popular across the country. The roast capsicum paste will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week. You will need to marinate the pork overnight.
1 kg pork belly, rind removed, cut into 2 cm cubes
100 ml dry white wine
500 ml (2 cups) milk
4 bay leaves
2 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed
8 eschalots, thinly sliced
200 ml vermouth
1.5 kg clams or pippies, purged
375 ml (1½ cups) chicken stock
1 bunch thyme, tied with kitchen string
chopped coriander leaves and fried potatoes, to serve
Roast capsicum paste
4 red capsicums
15 (about 1 bulb) garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 tbsp olive oil
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
To make roast capsicum paste, preheat oven to 200°C. Place capsicums and garlic cloves on a greased oven tray and roast for 45 minutes or until softened and slightly blackened. Transfer to a bowl, cool slightly, then remove capsicum and garlic skins.
Cut open capsicums and discard seeds and juices. Process with garlic in a food processor until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and cover with oil. Makes 1 cup.
Place pork in a bowl with white wine, milk, bay leaves, ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp white pepper. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Drain, discard liquid and pat dry with paper towel.
Preheat oven to 180°C. Heat oil in a large ovenproof saucepan over high heat. Brown pork, in 2 batches, for 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl.
Add garlic and eschalots to the same pan and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes or until softened. Stir in ¼ cup capsicum paste, vermouth and pork. Transfer pan to the oven and bake, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or until pork is tender.
Add clams, stock and thyme, cover the pan and bake for a further 10 minutes or until the clams have opened. Remove bunch of thyme. Season, scatter with coriander and serve with fried potatoes.
Drink 2008 St Hallett Grenache Shiraz Touriga, Barossa Valley ($30)
As seen in Feast Magazine, Issue 13, pg76.
Photography by Derek Swalwell