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Madeiran Pork with Wine and Garlic (Carne Vinha d’Alhos)
Carne vinha d’alhos, or pork with wine and garlic, is a traditional Christmas dish from the Portuguese island of Madeira and the precursor to the spicy Indian curry called vindaloo. To make it, chunks of pork are marinated in a heady mixture of wine, vinegar, garlic and herbs for up to a few days before they’re cooked until tender. The meat is subtly tangy, lightly garlicky and fragranced with herbs, with browned bits that provide great depth of flavor. The version that we learned to make in Madeira informed this recipe, but to achieve results as delicious as what we tasted there, we opted to use pork shoulder rather than leaner loin. But shoulder is a cut that requires lengthy cooking to become tender, so rather than a quick 30-minute simmer, we oven-braise the pork for about 1½ hours. From there we stay true to what we were taught: brown the meat after simmering to develop rich, flavorful caramelization, reduce the marinade cum cooking liquid to a light glaze, and finish the pork by coating it with the reduction. In Madeira, the pork typically is piled onto crusty rolls to make sandwiches, but we think it also is great with mashed or roasted potatoes alongside.
pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1- to 1½-inch chunks
cups dry white wine
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