Saturday, 5 April 2014

Pinchitos Morunos - Pork Kebabs (with Green Peppers)

Tasty pork kebabs, flavoured with Moorish spices - popular in many Tapas bars.

With warm and heady spices, these are beautiful grilled (USA broiled), and perfect for cooking over a barbecue - you could even griddle them if you want to catch the smoky, slightly charred flavour. Delicious served over rice (or cauliflower rice) with my Artichoke, Asparagus and Fennel salad.

Makes four main portions, or serves six to twelve as tapas. 228 calories per serving (three skewers), 76 calories per skewer.The little green Padron peppers take on a smoky flavour when cooked under a home grill (broiler) on the pork kebabs. If you can’t get hold of Padron peppers (or other small cooking peppers, I picked up the Padron peppers on a whim as the shop just so happened to be selling them as peppers suitable for Spanish tapas dishes that day), then just cut up regular peppers into large dice and thread onto the kebabs.

450g piece of pork fillet (tenderloin) [675]
135g green Padron peppers (about 12) [86]
2 tsp olive oil [90]
2 tsp lemon juice [3]
1 tsp each coriander, cumin and fennel seeds, ground to a powder (use a spice grinder, or a pestle and mortar, or use ready ground spices) [19]
3 garlic cloves, crushed [18]
2 tsp smoked mild/sweet paprika [12]
1/2 tsp smoked hot paprika, or chilli powder (pure, not with cumin, salt etc., or use ¼ tsp cayenne pepper. Halve these quantities for a milder dish) [3]
1 tsp dried oregano [5]

Freshly ground black pepper [1]

Salt to taste

12 skewers (metal or wooden)

If you’re using wooden skewers, put them in some water to soak before preparing the beef, so that they don’t burn under the grill (broiler). Put all of the ingredients except for the pork, peppers and salt* into a large non-reactive (not metal) bowl, and stir thoroughly.

Cut the pork into cubes approximately 1.5cm square (I cut the fillet into four strips lengthwise, and then cut the strips all together into twelve pieces, giving me 48 cubes of pork altogether, if that helps!).
Toss the pork thoroughly in the marinade, so that every piece is evenly coated (you may find this easiest using your clean hands), then add in the (washed) peppers (you can leave them whole, stalks and all) and briefly mix in. Leave to marinade for at least half an hour, more if you can.

Pre-heat the grill to high, add salt to taste to the pork and marinade (personally, I use just under a level teaspoon of fine sea salt, but use your judgement depending on your tastes) then thread the pork onto the skewers, with a pepper in the middle of each skewer (if you’ve cut your pork like mine, you’ll have four pieces per skewer) and arrange on a wire rack over a foil-lined tray/grill pan. You may find they fit best on your rack if you sit them top to bottom alternatively, so that the peppers aren’t sitting next to each other.

Grill for about eight minutes, turning once, (and also turning the tray round once for each side, if you’ve set them top to tail, so that they cook evenly) until they’re all cooked through. Delicious served with my Artichoke, Asparagus and Fennel salad with a Lemon Dressing (pictured on plate, recipe in Files, and in the ‘Spain’ photo album, 91 calories per serving) and some rice or cauliflower rice.

*Salt: I have kept the salt out of the marinade until the end, because if you put it in, and leave the pork sitting in it, it will start to draw the juices out of the pork, leaving you with drier meat. It is better to season just before, or during cooking for more moist meat.

If you don’t want the peppers to brown too much, you can have the oven set at gas mark 4 / 180C / 350F and reduce the grilling time, finishing off the kebabs in the oven for five to ten minutes, until cooked through. These would also be fantastic cooked on the barbeque in hot weather. N.B. Don’t eat the stalks, they won’t taste too good!

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