Moorish Pork Skewers
This recipe makes for an excellent tapas, an appetizer that is usually paired with beer or some other alcoholic beverage. They are also wonderful as a pre-dinner snack or a light lunch. The name "Moorish" might seem a little out of place for those who are familiar with the Moor people. Moors are predominantly Muslim and so they don't eat pork. These tapas were invented by Christian Spaniards who loved Moorish and Arabic spices and seasonings and wanted to find a way to incorporate these flavors into their diets. "Moorish" then is just a title that means "inspired by the Moors" not something that would necessarily be part of the Moor diet.
We used cubed pork tenderloin for this recipe, which was marinated overnight. The wooden skewers used were also soaked in the marinade overnight to prevent them from burning or starting on fire while the skewers cooked. If you are using metal skewers marinating them is completely unnecessary, obviously. Unless you have the magic ability to get metal to absorb liquid and flavor, in which case maybe you should stop cooking and see a specialist.
The sauce made for these skewers was called mojo picon and is unique because it features a piece of fried bread that’s torn up and gives the sauce a nice texture. You don’t really need the sauce, you can eat the skewers alone if you’d like. The sauce just gives them some extra flavor, which is always welcome. In our test kitchen, the taste testers especially loved the sauce however, with some of them even going so far as to suggest it could be eaten with a spoon. This is not an unusual occurrence with sauces that Jeff makes. He has made blue cheese dressing on more than one occasion that has actually been eaten with a spoon.
Jeff used two skewers instead of one, so the meat would stay in place better when it was being flipped. It’s very easy for the meat to spin around while it is turning when it is on just one skewer, and two keeps the meat steady. Plus, this makes the meat easier to eat. We can’t tell you what to do with your skewers, but this is certainly something I hadn’t thought about doing before Jeff mentioned it.
- Trim pork of any excess fat and cut into 1 inch cubes. Place meat into a bowl and add the paprika, cumin, pepper, oregano, thyme ,and garlic. Mix well and drizzle olive oil in with mixture and marinate for at least an hour, or overnight.
- Make the mojo picon. Fry the bread in a little olive oil, drain on paper, and tear into pieces. In a food processor, pulse the garlic, chiles, cumin seed, paprika, bread, sherry vinegar and salt to taste until a paste forms. Drizzle olive oil in Tbsp by Tbsp while mixing.
- Grill the skewers. Place skewers on grill and cook each side around 2-3 minutes. Make sure you soak your skewers for at least 20 minutes. Serve with the mojo picon.