Now to be honest, I am shamefully undereducated when it comes to Portuguese cuisine. I've eaten it at restaurants and parties many times, but have really never cooked it at home. Maybe that's why the hubs took this bull by the horns. It flavor and style is very similar to Mediterranean cuisine with lots of garlic and olive oil, but with an amazing wallop of spicy flavor that can knock your socks off. After Googling around a bit, I found that their wide use of spice dates back to the Portuguese empire when they began importing items such as black pepper, vanilla, saffron and chili peppers from various colonies. All the delicious flavors of the Mediterranean with the best spices of the world...no wonder their food is so good.
Portugese Pork with Bell Peppers & Broccoli (about 3 servings)
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 tbs coarse salt
- 1/2 tbs whole black peppercorns
- 1 tbs + 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 lb pork tenderloin, trimmed
- 1 1/2 red bell peppers (about 2 1/2 cups)
- 2 small head broccoli (about 2 cups)
- 1/2 c dry white wine (chardonnay is great)
- 1/2 lemon, cut into wedges
Start by making the marinade for the meat. Using a mortar and pestle, mash the garlic, salt, peppercorns and one tablespoon of the olive oil together until a smooth paste forms. If you don't have a mortar and pestle, chop the spices on a cutting board, then crush with a rolling pin before transferring to a small bowl to mix with the oil. Set aside.
On a cutting board, pound the pork tenderloin with a meat mallet until the pork is about 1/4 inch thick. Cut into pieces about 2-3 inches in size. Transfer the prepared pork into a Ziplock bag and pour in the garlic marinade. Seal and shake until the meat is completely coated. Set the bag in a pie dish (to prevent leaks) and place in the refrigerator. Marinade for at least 3 hours.
Thinly slice the red pepper and cut the broccoli into small floretts. If you like the broccoli stem, cut off the exterior and slice the stem into strips about the same size as the peppers.
Place a large skillet or pan over medium high heat. When hot, add two teaspoons of olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the pork and cook about 20-25 seconds on each side, just long enough to brown the meat, before removing to a small plate and setting aside. Reduce the heat to medium and add the vegetables to the skillet. Cook until tender-firm, about 3-4 minutes. Pour the white wine into the skillet and scrape the bottom to remove any drippings. Reduce heat to medium-low and add back the pork. Cook together for about 8-10 minutes to let the flavors combine.
Transfer the cooked pork to a serving plate and squeeze the juice from your lemon half over the dish. Serve with crusty bread or over brown rice.