Carcamusa, a traditional Spanish tapas dish, calls for three different types of pork—fresh pork, cured ham and chorizo—all simmered with seasonal vegetables in tomato sauce. Just seeing this recipe immediately reminded us of our Spanish vacation in Toledo, where Carcamusa is a specialty, and was a culinary highlight of our trip.
That day in Toledo, hungry for our mid-afternoon Menu del Dia (the most economical way to eat in Spain), we inquired from our hotel staff where we could dine on traditional fare. Without hesitation they eagerly suggested Bar Ludeña on Plaza Magdalena. Opened for nearly 60 years, this local hub was where we savored our first taste of the Spanish stew, or “chili” if you will. Their version showcased larger pieces of meat and included peas (shown below, right), and transported us to another dimension.
Inside the Bar Ludeña “bar area” where we waited for an outside table, hung varying legs of aged Jamón, a kind of dry-cured ham that is typically included in Carcamusa.
Otherwise known as Pork and Chorizo with Piquillo Peppers, it’s all about concentrating a few flavors to make a very bold taste, and isn’t that difficult to cook but the takes quite a bit of prep. However to simplify, 177 Milk Street skipped the ham and opted for jarred roasted red peppers (although we did use piquillos). I highly suggest locating jarred piquillo peppers from Spain (try online) because their flavor is slightly deeper, sweeter and more intense.
It is common to serve the dish with slices of grilled rustic bread. Often like chilis and stews, this Carcamusa was even more flavorful the next day after ingredients got a chance to marry and get happy with each other
NOTE: Don’t use Mexican chorizo, which is a fresh sausage, in place of the Spanish chorizo called for here. Spanish chorizo is dry-cured and therefore has a firm, sliceable texture similar to salami.
Carcamusa: Pork & Chorizo with Piquillo Peppers
- 6 oz. Spanish chorizo, casing removed, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
- 8 medium garlic cloves, peeled
- 2½ tsp. dried oregano
- 2½ tsp. ground cumin
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, drained, juices reserved
- 1¼ lb. pork tenderloin, trimmed of silver skin and cut into ½-inch pieces
- 3 Tbsp. grapeseed or other neutral oil, divided
- 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
- ½ cup dry sherry, such as Fino
- 1½ cups jarred piquillo (or roasted red peppers), patted dry and cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 cup packed flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
- In a food processor, combine half of the chorizo, the garlic, oregano, cumin, 1 teaspoon pepper and 3 tablespoons of the tomato juices. Process until smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping 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 juices. Add the tenderloin and toss, then let marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add the drained tomatoes to the chorizo paste in the processor and process until smooth, about 1 minute; set aside. (I used our mini processor which was filed to the top!)
- In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil until beginning to smoke. Add the pork in a single layer and cook without stirring until well-browned, 4 to 6 minutes. Return the pork to the bowl.
- Add the remaining 2 tablespoons 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 until the flavors meld, about 10 minutes.
- Uncover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, another 5 minutes. (Ours took 10 minutes before it showed signs of enough thickening.)
- Return the pork and any accumulated juices to the skillet and add the remaining chorizo and piquillo 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. Ladle into shallow bowls and serve hot with crusty bread.
Recipe from 177 Milk Street