A weeknight tenderloin tapa, spiced
Spanish Spice-Crusted Pork Tenderloin Bites (Pinchos Morunos)

Spanish Spice-Crusted Pork Tenderloin Bites (Pinchos Morunos)

50 minutes 25 minutes active

4 Servings

We found our weeknight-friendly pork in Spain’s Basque region, 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. The tenderloin is cut into small cubes, so it cooks quickly, and gets deep flavor in little time from a seasoning rub. Cubes that were 1- to 1½-inch cubes produced more surface area, allowing the spice rub to quickly penetrate and season the meat. Any smaller and the meat cooked too quickly. Classic versions skewer the meat, which is seasoned with ras al hanout, a Moroccan spice blend. We streamlined, skipping the skewers. And since ras al hanout can be hard to find, we went with cumin, coriander and black pepper. A bit of smoked paprika added the requisite Basque touch. We finished with a drizzle of honey, which worked well with the pork and seasonings.

Ingredients

  • teaspoons ground coriander

  • teaspoons ground cumin

  • teaspoons smoked paprika

  • ¾

    teaspoon each kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper

  • 1

    -pound pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1- to 1½-inch pieces

  • 1

    tablespoon lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving

  • 1

    tablespoon honey

  • 1

    large garlic clove, finely grated

  • 2

    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1

    tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

Spanish Spice-Crusted Pork Tenderloin Bites (Pinchos Morunos)

Get Ready to Cook

4

Servings

50 minutes

25 minutes active

Tip

Don’t cut the pork tenderloin too small. Cutting it into 1- to 1½-inch cubes produced more surface area, allowing the spice rub to quickly penetrate and season the meat. Any smaller and the meat cooked too quickly.

Ingredients

  • teaspoons ground coriander

  • teaspoons ground cumin

  • teaspoons smoked paprika

  • ¾

    teaspoon each kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper

  • 1

    -pound pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1- to 1½-inch pieces

  • 1

    tablespoon lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving

  • 1

    tablespoon honey

  • 1

    large garlic clove, finely grated

  • 2

    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1

    tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

Step 1 of 2

Combine the spices and coat the pork

teaspoons ground coriander
teaspoons ground cumin
teaspoons smoked paprika
¾
teaspoon each kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper
1
-pound pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1- to 1½-inch pieces
1
tablespoon lemon juice
1
tablespoon honey
1
large garlic clove, finely grated

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.

Step 2 of 2

Cook the pork, coat, and serve

2
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1
tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
lemon wedges (to serve)

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 to evenly coat, 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.

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