Pork Kebabs with Orange and Thyme with Toasted Bulgur with Almonds

Ever since I met Martha Stewart a few months ago, I have had a special affection for her recipes. I saw the test kitchen, showcasing the time and energy they put into each recipes to make every flavor just perfect. And, I saw Martha’s talent and knowledge about EVERYTHING related to food. Not to mention I have only tried one of her recipes to date, and it was quickly deemed “blog-worthy.”

So, last weekend when the weather was nice and we wanted to grill out, I turned to Martha for inspiration. We had just done chicken and I feel like we always do steak, so I was looking for an alternative. I can’t believe I am saying this, but I had never grilled pork kebabs before. Chicken – sure. Steak – of course. A pork tenderloin – sometimes. But, for some reason pork kebabs never crossed my mind…

There is something in the marinade of this dish that gives the pork an amazing flavor. The ingredients , mixed with the bulgur, have a middle-eastern/Mediterranean, fresh and summery feel. I would make these for a group in a heartbeat – they are fast (can marinate before company comes) and require only 10-12 minutes on the grill.

Thanks, Martha, for giving me another keeper for my blog and my recipe box. I am sure you will give me many more!

PORK KEBABS WITH THYME
Serves 4

1/4 cup fresh orange juice, plus 1 tablespoon freshly grated zest, and orange wedges for garnish
5 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh thyme, plus sprigs for garnish
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/4 pounds boneless pork loin, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes

Whisk together orange juice and zest, garlic, thyme, mustard, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Whisking constantly, pour in oil in a slow, steady stream; whisk until emulsified. Add pork; toss to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and let pork marinate 20 minutes at room temperature. While your pork is marinating, make sure to soak your wooden skewers in water so they don’t burn on your grill.

Heat a grill or grill pan until medium-hot. Thread 5 or 6 cubes of pork onto each of 4 skewers; season with salt and pepper. Discard marinade. Grill pork, turning occasionally, until cooked through and slightly charred, about 12 minutes. Garnish with thyme sprigs, and serve with orange wedges.

TOASTED BULGUR WITH ALMONDS
Serves 4

1 cup bulgur
3/4 cup homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
1 whole cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
Coarse salt
1/2 cup salted roasted almonds, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bulgur, and toast, stirring frequently, until golden and fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes.

Stir together toasted bulgur, stock, 3/4 cup water, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer until all liquid is absorbed and bulgur is tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Discard bay leaf and cinnamon stick (or, if desired, leave in as a garnish). Stir in almonds and oil; season with salt and pepper.

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