A little over two years ago, I was attending the International Olive Oil conference in Madrid, Spain. At the recommendation of some Madrid friends, I was studying the lunch menu at the famed Madrid restaurant, La Viridiana.
For some reason, I was not particularly inspired by the menu and decided to leave. As I was walking up the stairs, I was stopped by the gentle voice of chef Abraham Garcia who asked “if anything was wrong.” I explained that I was not particularly hungry and had decided to seek somewhat less expensive fare.
He asked, “What are you prepared to spend?”
I responded, “Well, not more than 25 Euros.”
“Madam, please sit down and I will serve you a wonderful meal for 25 Euros.”
I did and it was one of the most memorable meals I have eaten in Europe. Now, I am quite sure that Mr. Garcia doesn’t extend this kind invitation to battle-fatigued travelers on a regular basis since he would soon be out of business. Nevertheless, I have never forgotten his generosity and his undeniable virtuosity in the kitchen.
I am thrilled that Christopher Kimball of Milk Street has also been impressed by the inspired cooking of Abraham Garcia. I am thrilled to reprint Mr. Garcia’s recipe for Spanish pork stew that was recently published in Milk Street. It is a stew with subtle tastes, but be sure and use Spanish chorizo. We served it on a bed of cauliflower “rice” with green beans.
Spanish Pork Stew in a Skillet
- 6 ounces Spanish chorizo casing removed, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced.
- 8 medium garlic cloves peeled
- 2 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 1 28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes drained, juice reserved
- 1 1/4 pound pork tenderloin trimmed of silverskin and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 3 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil divided
- 1 large yellow onion finely chopped
- 1/2 cup dry sherry
- 1 1/2 cups jarred roasted red peppers patted dry and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley roughly chopped
- In a food processor, combine half of the chorizo, the garlic, oregano, cumin, 1 teaspoon pepper and 3 tablespoons of the tomato juice. Process until smooth, about 2 minutes, craping the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Transfer 3 tablespoons of the chorizo paste to a medium bowl and stir in 1 teaspoon salt and another 1 tablespoon of the tomato juice. Add the tenderloin and toss, then let marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, add the drained tomatoes to the remaining chorizo paste in the processor and process until smooth, about 1 minute, set aside
- In a 12-inch skilled over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil until barely smoking. Add the pork in a single layer and cook without stirring until well browned, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Return the bork to the bowl. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the skillet and heat over medium until shimmering. Add the onion cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Pour in the sherry and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until most of the liquid evaporates, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in the tomato-chorizo mixture and remaining tomato juice. Bring to a simmer, then reduce to medium-low. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
- Uncover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, another 5 minutes. Return the port and any accumulated juices to the skillet, then add the remaining chorizo and roasted red peppers. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pork is heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley, then taste and season with salt and pepper.
Found below is another image of a wonderful cuttlefish and rice presentation from Abraham Garcia. La Viridiana is a wonderful dining experience.