North Africa, especially Morocco, is home to both non-pork-eating Muslims and Christians who do cook with pork. The flavors and spices of that region influence this recipe, which would work equally well with lamb or chicken. My favorite cut for kebabs is Boston butt, though blade-end loin, boneless country spareribs, pork tenderloin, and boneless rib center-cut loin would work fine.
North African Marinade
2 small garlic cloves
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons fresh mint
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons sweet Hungarian paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground fennel seed
Pinch ground cinnamon
2 pounds boneless pork, cut in 1-1/2-inch cubes,
or 4 (1-1/2-inch-thick) rib pork chops
16 dried apricots, soaked in hot water for about 5 minutes and drained
1 red onion, cut into 1-1/2-inch chunks
1-1/2 cups instant couscous
1/2 cup dried currants or raisins
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup reserved marinade
1/3 cup apricot jam
1/4 cup homemade chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
Cilantro leaves, for garnish
1. To make the marinade: Put all of the marinade ingredients in a blender and process until the mixture forms a wet paste.
2. Rub the mixture over the pork cubes and marinate for 2 hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.
3. Set up a gas or charcoal grill for medium-hot heat. Remove meat from marinade. Reserve 1/4 cup of marinade and discard the rest. Thread the pork cubes onto 4 separate skewers, alternating them with the apricots and chunks of onion. Grill the skewers about 4 to 5 minutes on one side, turn, and grill 4 to 5 minutes more. Set the skewers aside to rest for 5 minutes while you make the accompaniments.
4. Combine the couscous, currants, salt and 2-1/2 cups boiling water in a heatproof bowl and cover. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes while you make the sauce.
5. To make the sauce: Combine the reserved marinade, apricot jam, and stock or in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer until the mixture becomes syrupy.
6. To serve, spoon the couscous into a shallow serving bowl. Sprinkle the pine nuts over the top. Arrange the kebabs on the couscous and brush them generously with the sauce. Garnish with the cilantro leaves and serve.
Bruce Aidells's Complete Book of Pork
A Guide to Buying, Storing, and Cooking the World's Favorite Meat
by Bruce Aidells
Hardcover: 352 pages
$29.95; $42.50 (CAN)
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created February 2005
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