Pork in Almond Sauce (Carne en salsa de almendras)

Carne en salsa de almendras, or pork in almond sauce. This Rick Stain recipe takes pork shoulder with an indulgent almond, sweet paprika and white wine sauce.

Introduction

Filming at Matilde Perrero’s casa rural, a house-come-restaurant specializing in home cooking, was a bit tricky. We had been allowed to look around her kitchen, which was as neat and tidy and organized as she was. Her food was exquisite, particularly this slow braise of pork in a sauce flavoured with a little pimentón, garlic and almonds, but at the last minute she told us it was off, quite simply because she was going to be too busy cooking for the local fiesta featuring bulls with flaming horns careering through the town. She was a delightful woman, sort of like your favourite granny, and a very good cook. Serve this dish on its own, as the Spanish do, or with some boiled potatoes or steamed rice and a green vegetable.

Serves 4

Ingredients

5 tbsp olive oil
8 garlic cloves, 4 chopped and 4 left whole
15g slice crustless white bread
1kg piece of rindless free-range shoulder of pork
Plain flour, for dusting
1 large onion, finely chopped
½ tsp pimentón dulce (smoked sweet Spanish paprika)
Leaves from 1 large sprig fresh thyme
2 fresh bay leaves
200ml dry white wine
200ml chicken stock
75g toasted blanched almonds
1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Essential kit

You will need a liquidizer or food processor.

Instructions

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large cazuela or shallow flameproof casserole. Add the whole garlic and the slice of bread and fry over a medium-high heat for 2 minutes, turning once, until golden brown. Lift out and leave to drain and cool.

Cut the pork across into 2.5cm-thick slices and then into 75-100g pieces. You want them to be quite large. Season the pieces of pork well, then dust in the flour. Add another 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan and, when hot, add the pieces of meat and fry briefly to seal but only very lightly colour. Remove to a plate and set to one side.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan with the onion, chopped garlic, pimentón, thyme and bay leaves and cook gently for about 10 minutes until the onions are soft and sweet but not browned. Add the wine and stock and bring to the boil, rubbing the base of the pan to release any bits and pieces. Return the pork to the pan, lower the heat and season with some salt and pepper. Cover and simmer gently for 1½ hours or until the meat is meltingly tender.

Spoon about 16 tablespoons of the sauce into a liquidizer or food processor and add the fried bread, fried garlic cloves, almonds and parsley leaves and blend to a smooth paste. Stir the picada back into the pan, adjust the seasoning to taste, cover and cook for a further 5 minutes or until the sauce has nicely thickened, then serve.

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