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It’s funny, but in recent years I have tended to drink beer more in the summer, I suspect partly as we keep not getting round to buying wine and it can be easier with just two of us. However I do miss some of the lovely days and evenings sharing tapas and wine with friends in years gone by.
Along with my challenge to myself to be more creative with grilling this summer, we also want to get better at having people over and I can’t wait to combine the two serving up these pinchos morunos – delicious aromatic-spice-marinaded pork skewers. They have so much flavor and are great as part of a range of tapas dishes (see more ideas in what are tapas). It’s perfect summer finger food!
I know I’ve mentioned before how many Spanish dishes use only a few ingredients. Well pinchos morunos kind of break the norm on that but don’t worry, they are still really easy to make. As you might be able to tell from the name they are Moorish in origin and use a range of spices to marinade the pork before threading onto skewers and grilling.
Some say the spice mix is essentially ras al hanout – literally ‘top of the shelf’ – a spice blend common in Moroccan cooking, and as such I’ve added in a couple more flavors than some other recipes for a similarly aromatic flavor. The flavors are reminiscent of a Moroccan tagine but without the long cook.
Spanish cooking, particularly in the South, has incorporated many flavors from the times of Moorish rule. The Moors would probably have used lamb but since pork is more common in Spain, and the favored meat, these days that’s what pinchos morunos are always made with.
I nearly always drank wine with tapas when I lived in Spain and to me the flavors in these pinchos morunos pair perfectly with a red wine such as Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi‘s Cabernet Sauvingnon. For a particularly hot day, you can make the wine into tinto de verano – ‘summer red wine’ (mixed with sparkling water or, for a slightly sweeter version, something like seven up or sprite). I’d also add a few favorite easy tapas dishes, like some of the simple summer tapas and Spanish tortilla I have shared before.
Tapas and Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi’s wines are both made for sharing, so perfect for any summer get together, whether it’s a casual gathering or a bigger party. Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi has been around over 30 years so they know a thing or two about making wine that’s perfect for catching up with friends. As well as the cabernet sauvignon, there are a number of other varieties to suit other tastes, like sauvingnon blanc, pinot noir and chardonnay.
So head to the store, grab some pork and the rest of the ingredients and get these pinchos morunos marinading for your guests, or while you figure out who you want to enjoy them with. Then enjoy their delicious flavors in between sips of wine and conversation. What other tapas would you make to go alongside?
A classic Spanish tapas, these marinated pork skewers draw on Spain's moorish influence.
- 1 lb pork tenderloin 450g (or other lean pork cut)
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp paprika (recommended Spanish sweet paprika but smokey would be OK)
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds , ground if not already
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- a few grinds black pepper
Trim the pork of any excess flat and sinew. Cut into approx 1.5in/3cm dice - if using pork tenderloin, vcut in half lengthwise then cut into slices.
Mix together all the remaining ingredients - the spices (cumin, coriander, oregano, paprika, turmeric, fennel seeds, allspice and cinnamon), salt, lemon juice, olive oil and pepper into a paste. Add the diced pork, ensure it is well covered with the marinade then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but overnight would also be good.
When ready to cook, thread the pork onto skewers - try to put the pieces on so that they flatten out slightly and are even in thickness so they cook evenly.
Cook on the grill for a few minutes each side until just charring and cooked through - exact cooking time will vary depending on thickness of pork and grill heat etc.
Serve with other tapas of your choice (eg tortilla, pan tomate, salad) and enjoy!
Note prep time does not include marinading time of 2hrs+.