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Spicy Pork Kabobs with Moorish Flavors

Spicy Pork Kabobs with Moorish Flavors
The Moors invaded Spain in the 8th century and remained for 500 years. Of Berber and Arab descent, they left their influence on every aspect of Spanish life, including the kitchen. This recipe shows their legacy in its heavy use of spices. Lamb can be substituted for the pork.

Ingredients:

  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 3/4 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 lb. lean pork, cut into 3/4 to 1-inch cubes
  • Lemon wedges for garnish

Directions:

In a mortar, combine the garlic with 1/4 tsp. of the salt. Mash together with a pestle to form a paste.

In a dry small fry pan over high heat, combine the coriander seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, thyme and red pepper flakes. Heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until hot and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder.

In a bowl, stir together the garlic paste, ground spices, the remaining 3/4 tsp. salt, the black pepper, olive oil, lemon juice and parsley.

Add the pork cubes and turn to coat well. Cover and let stand at cool room temperature for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill. At the same time, put 12 bamboo skewers in water to cover.

Remove the pork cubes from the marinade, reserving the marinade, and drain the skewers. Thread the pork cubes onto the skewers, dividing the cubes evenly among them. In a small pan, bring the reserved marinade to a boil over high heat and boil for about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Place the kabobs on the grill rack 4 to 5 inches from the fire and grill, basting occasionally with the reserved marinade and turning every 2 to 3 minutes, until browned but still juicy, 10 to 15 minutes.

Transfer to a warmed platter and garnish with lemon wedges. Serve immediately.
Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Small Plates, by Joanne Weir (Time-Life Books, 1998).