Porc et palourdes au Cidre accompagnes de flageolets (Pork and clams with cider and butter beans)
The Basque coast is a surfers’ paradise. The rocky, ragged coastline is punctuated with stretches of windswept beach, much more rough and ready than its Mediterranean counterpart. I’ve always been an envious spectator, watching the surfers gracefully (or not so gracefully, depending on their skill) catch and tame the waves whatever the weather.
Surf ‘n’ turf is not what you would traditionally think of when it comes to Basque food but it’s my homage to the Basque love of pork with the addition of some gems from the ocean: clams. These are thrown in right at the end, adding a lip-smacking saltiness to the broth.
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and flattened
- 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1kg pork shoulder, tied
- 1 bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 375ml dry cider
- 4 tbsp cider vinegar
- 4 bay leaves
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- 1l vegetable stock
- 4 small apples, peeled and cored
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 10 black peppercorns, crushed
- 1kg clams, cleaned
- 1 x 400g can of haricot or butter beans (drained weight - 230g), drained and rinsed
Fry the garlic and onion in the butter on a medium heat until translucent. Add the pork shoulder and fry on all sides until golden. Tie a string around the parsley stalks to make a tight bundle. Cut off the leaves (save for later) and add the stems to the pot with the cider, vinegar, bay leaves, thyme, stock, apples, sugar, salt and peppercorns. Bring to a gentle simmer. Skim any scum that comes to the top using a slotted spoon. Simmer very gently for 2 to 2½ hours, or until the meat is tender and falling apart.
Remove the meat from the pan, set aside in a tray and cover with aluminium foil. Leave to rest for 10 minutes. Pour the cooking liquid through a fine sieve into a bowl, discarding the remaining bits. Rinse out the pot with water before pouring the cooking liquid back in. Bring the juices to a boil and add the clams and beans. Bring back to the boil and cook for a further 3 minutes with the lid on. Check that the clams are open and taste for seasoning. To serve, shred the pork meat using your fingers or a fork and serve with the clams and beans. Sprinkle with finely chopped parsley.