Bísaro is the ancient Portuguese breed of pig raised outdoors on herbs and grasses—and is a favorite of Rui Paula, Chef of D.O.C. Restaurant in Portugal’s Douro Valley. This recipe, rich, succulent and unusual, has been adapted for home preparation and our (sad) lack of herb-fed Bísaro pork.
For the stew:
21⁄4 pounds boned pork shoulder, cubed, fat removed
1⁄4 cup olive oil plus more for sautéing
1⁄2 bottle dry white Portuguese wine
One sprig each fresh thyme, rosemary, parsley
1 tablespoons peppercorns
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 onions, chopped
Mixed fresh herbs to taste
11⁄2 cups veal stock
For the potatoes:
24 small potatoes
2 tablespoons duck fat
2 tablespoons olive oil
Crystallized sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Marinate the meat cubes for 12 hours (in the refrigerator) in olive oil, wine, herb sprigs, peppercorns and garlic. Remove the meat, roughly pat it dry and sauté with the onion in generous olive oil until the liquid dries and the meat and onions start to brown. Season with salt and pepper; add mixed herbs and stock. Heat to a simmer then place in a casserole dish that just fits. Oven bake tightly covered for six hours (or until very tender) at 200°F.
Raise temperature to 350°F and cook for ten minutes to finish. Wash potatoes and boil in salted water until barely tender. Drain. Heat duck fat and olive oil to hot in an oven-proof shallow pan, add potatoes, shaking to coat, then bake at 400°F until golden. Season with salt and pepper. Serves four.
WINE RECOMMENDATIONS: Chef Rui Paula recommends a very lightly oaked Douro red wine as an accompaniment; consider the Ramos Pinto Duas Quintas, Quinto de Crasto or Caves Aliança Quinta dos Quatro Ventos.