Pinchos Morunos — try it, you’ll like it

Published 12:10 am Saturday, May 6, 2017

As my husband and I continue on our low-carb diet I am looking for ways to prepare meats and vegetables. I received a new magazine called ‘Milk Street’, named after a street in Boston, and founded by Christopher Kimball who founded Cook’s magazine in 1980. It is a magazine of techniques and methods but I find these very useful as I continue on my cooking journey.

In the U.S. we have reduced tapas to almost anything served in a small plate, but in Spain it is as much about the experience as the food—simple bites with big, friendly flavors, consumed with others. These pork tapas are from the Basque region of Spain, where skewered meats are a common pintxos, as tapas are known there. Loosely translated as “Moorish bites impaled on thorns or small pointed sticks,” pinchos morunos is a dish of seared pork tenderloin rubbed with a blend of spices, garlic, herbs and olive oil. The recipe dates back generations, boasting influences from Spain and North Africa.

This tenderloin is cut into small cubes, so it cooks quickly. It gets deep flavor in little time from a seasoning rub. Classic versions skewer the meat, which is seasoned with ras el hanout, a Moroccan spice blend. This recipe does not use the ras el hanout which can be found in most grocery stores these days but went with a blend of cumin, coriander, and black pepper. A bit of smoked paprika added a Basque touch. Adding a bit of honey worked well with the pork. The beauty of this little tapas is it can be served over rice, served in lettuce cups, or with some steamed or roasted vegetables.

I loved this recipe because it was fast and tasty and something different from your usual pork. Good enough for company! It would be perfect for a cocktail pickup at a Kentucky Derby party or a Cinco di Mayo party.


From ‘Milk Street’ Magazine, Charter Issue, Fall 2016

Pinchos Morunos

(Spanish Spice-Crusted Pork Tenderloin Bites)

Serves 4

1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander

1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin

1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika

¾ teaspoon each kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper

1-pound pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1-to-1 ½ -inch pieces

1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus lemon wedge for serving

1 tablespoon honey

1 large garlic clove, finely grated

2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

In a medium bowl, combine the coriander, cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper. Add the pork and toss to coat evenly, massaging the spices into the meat until no dry rub remains. Let the pork sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour. Meanwhile, in another bowl, combine the lemon juice, honey and garlic. Set aside.

In a large skillet over high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil until just smoking. Add the meat in a single layer and cook without moving until deeply browned on one side, about 3 minutes. Using tongs, flip the pork and cook, turning occasionally, until cooked through and browned all over, another 2 to 3 minutes. Off the heat, pour the lemon juice-garlic mixture over the meat and toss until evenly coated, then transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle the oregano over the pork and drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Serve with lemon wedges.