Madeiran Pork with Wine and Garlic (Carne Vinha d’Alhos) | Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street

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A bracing marinade is the secret to this tangy, garlicky pork shoulder
Milk Street Bowtie Madeiran Pork with Wine and Garlic (Carne Vinha d’Alhos)

Madeiran Pork with Wine and Garlic (Carne Vinha d’Alhos)

Appears in May-June 2021

2½ hours 50 minutes active, plus marinating

Madeiran Pork with Wine and Garlic (Carne Vinha d’Alhos)

Free

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.

4-6

Servings

Tip

Don’t use an uncoated cast-iron Dutch oven. Enamel-coated cast-iron is fine, but in an uncoated cast-iron pot—even in one that is well seasoned—the acidity of the marinade may react with the iron, producing metallic “off” flavors. A stainless steel cooking surface is fine, too, but avoid aluminum unless it has been treated to make it nonreactive. After simmering the pork, be sure to drain the pieces on a rack as directed. This helps ensure nice caramelization when the pork is browned in the skillet. Finally, when skimming the fat off the braising liquid, be sure to reserve it for browning the pork.

2½ hours

50 minutes active, plus marinating

5 pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1- to 1½-inch chunks
2 cups dry white wine
1 cup cider vinegar
10 bay leaves
6 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
6 whole cloves (optional)
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 cup dry Madeira
¼ cup minced fresh oregano
Ingredients
  • 5

    pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1- to 1½-inch chunks

  • 2

    cups dry white wine

  • 1
  • 10

    bay leaves

  • 6

    medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

  • 1

    tablespoon dried oregano

  • 1
  • 6

    whole cloves (optional)

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 1

    cup dry Madeira

  • ¼

    cup minced fresh oregano

Directions
  1. 01
    In a large Dutch oven, stir together the pork, wine, vinegar, bay, garlic, dried oregano, pepper flakes, cloves (if using) and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or for up to 48 hours.
  2. 02
    When you are ready to cook the pork, heat the oven to 325°F with a rack in the lower-middle position. Set the pot, uncovered, over medium-high and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Re-cover, transfer to the oven and cook until a skewer inserted into the pork meets just a little resistance, about 1½ hours, stirring once about halfway through.
  3. 03
    Set a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pork and garlic to the rack, removing and discarding the bay and cloves (if used); set aside. Tilt the pot to pool the cooking liquid to one side, then use a wide spoon to skim off as much fat as possible; reserve the fat.
  4. 04
    Add the Madeira to the pot, bring to a boil over medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has reduced to about 1 cup, 15 to 20 minutes; set aside. Remove and discard any large bits of fat on the exterior of the pieces of pork.
  5. 05
    In a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons of the reserved pork fat until barely smoking. Add the pork and cook, stirring every 2 to 3 minutes, until well browned on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes.Remove the skillet from the heat and add the reduced cooking liquid. Return to medium-high and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced and the pork is lightly glazed and begins to sizzle, 3 to 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt and black pepper, then stir in the fresh oregano. Transfer to a serving dish.
Tip: Don’t use an uncoated cast-iron Dutch oven. Enamel-coated cast-iron is fine, but in an uncoated cast-iron pot—even in one that is well seasoned—the acidity of the marinade may react with the iron, producing metallic “off” flavors. A stainless steel cooking surface is fine, too, but avoid aluminum unless it has been treated to make it nonreactive. After simmering the pork, be sure to drain the pieces on a rack as directed. This helps ensure nice caramelization when the pork is browned in the skillet. Finally, when skimming the fat off the braising liquid, be sure to reserve it for browning the pork.
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Madeiran Pork with Wine and Garlic (Carne Vinha d’Alhos)

Get Ready to Cook

4-6

Servings

2½ hours

50 minutes active, plus marinating

Tip

Don’t use an uncoated cast-iron Dutch oven. Enamel-coated cast-iron is fine, but in an uncoated cast-iron pot—even in one that is well seasoned—the acidity of the marinade may react with the iron, producing metallic “off” flavors. A stainless steel cooking surface is fine, too, but avoid aluminum unless it has been treated to make it nonreactive. After simmering the pork, be sure to drain the pieces on a rack as directed. This helps ensure nice caramelization when the pork is browned in the skillet. Finally, when skimming the fat off the braising liquid, be sure to reserve it for browning the pork.

Ingredients
  • 5

    pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1- to 1½-inch chunks

  • 2

    cups dry white wine

  • 1
  • 10

    bay leaves

  • 6

    medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

  • 1

    tablespoon dried oregano

  • 1
  • 6

    whole cloves (optional)

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 1

    cup dry Madeira

  • ¼

    cup minced fresh oregano

Step 1 of 5

Marinate Pork

5
pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1- to 1½-inch chunks
2
cups dry white wine
1
cup cider vinegar
10
bay leaves
6
medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1
tablespoon dried oregano
1
teaspoon red pepper flakes
6
whole cloves
Kosher salt and ground black pepper

In a large Dutch oven, stir together the pork, wine, vinegar, bay, garlic, dried oregano, pepper flakes, cloves (if using) and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or for up to 48 hours.

Step 2 of 5

Cook Pork

When you are ready to cook the pork, heat the oven to 325°F with a rack in the lower-middle position. Set the pot, uncovered, over medium-high and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.


Re-cover, transfer to the oven and cook until a skewer inserted into the pork meets just a little resistance, about 1½ hours, stirring once about halfway through.

Step 3 of 5

Skim Fat

Set a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pork and garlic to the rack, removing and discarding the bay and cloves (if used); set aside.


Tilt the pot to pool the cooking liquid to one side, then use a wide spoon to skim off as much fat as possible; reserve the fat.

Step 4 of 5

Add Madeira and Reduce Liquid

1
cup dry Madeira

Add the Madeira to the pot, bring to a boil over medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has reduced to about 1 cup, 15 to 20 minutes; set aside. Remove and discard any large bits of fat on the exterior of the pieces of pork.

Step 5 of 5

Brow Pork, Finish and Serve

Kosher salt and ground black pepper
¼
cup minced fresh oregano

In a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons of the reserved pork fat until barely smoking. Add the pork and cook, stirring every 2 to 3 minutes, until well browned on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes.


Remove the skillet from the heat and add the reduced cooking liquid. Return to medium-high and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced and the pork is lightly glazed and begins to sizzle, 3 to 5 minutes.


Taste and season with salt and black pepper, then stir in the fresh oregano. Transfer to a serving dish.

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