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Marinated Iberian pork with raisin couscous

in Andalucia, Spain
By Nick Nutter | 3 Aug 2019

Ingredients (serves 4)

600g pork loin, cut into 1cm thick slices
1 head of garlic, broken into cloves
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 leek, roughly chopped
90 ml aged sherry vinegar
100ml fino or white wine
3 or 4 cloves
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp fresh oregano
bay leaf
twist of black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
sprigs of coriander for garnish

Extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 small onion, finely chopped
250g couscous grains
250ml vegetable stock
1 red pepper, hulled and finely chopped
4 thin asparagus spears, woody end broken off then cut in half
50g seedless raisins
1 tsp ground cumin
salt to season

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1. Bring the pork to room temperature and hour or so before cooking.
2. Heat some olive oil in a frying-pan over high heat and quickly brown the pork on both sides. Remove and set aside. Lower the heat and cook a further minute on each side. Transfer the pork to a plate, leaving the oil in the pan.
3. Toss in the garlic, carrots and leek. Sauté until tender then add the wine, vinegar and spices, season then simmer for 15 – 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and submerge the pork loin in this escabeche (marinade) for 4 hours.
4. About 20 minutes before serving, make the couscous.
5. In a large saucepan, heat some olive oil over a low heat and sauté the garlic, onion and pepper for 5 minutes. Add the cumin and asparagus and continue to cook until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the raisins, season with salt, then set aside.
6. In a separate saucepan, heat the vegetable stock. Once it starts to boil, tip in the couscous and remove from the heat. Allow the grains to absorb the stock for 3 minutes. Return the pan to a low heat, stir in 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and fluff up the grains with a fork to separate them. Tip the couscous into the saucepan of vegetables and stir to combine.
7. Remove the pork from the escabeche and serve with the couscous. The sauce from the escabeche can be used as a dressing if desired.


Escabeche (pickle or brine) is one of the great cooking techniques bequeathed the Arabs, designed to preserve meat before the days of refrigeration. Here the sweet-sour flavour and tender Iberian pork is balanced by grainy couscous. This recipe by Luismi Lopez of Arrieros, Linares de la Sierra, Huelva, needs top quality pork - preferably Iberian though farm-sourced organic works too.

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About the Author

Nick has lived and worked in Andalucia for over 20 years. He and his partner, Julie Evans, have travelled extensively and dug deep into the history and culture, producing authoritative articles on all aspects of the region. Nick has written four books about Andalucia and writes articles for other websites and blogs.

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