Sirloin Steak with Whiskey
Sirloin Steak with Whiskey

Andalusia, the southernmost region of Spain, is one of the most geographically diverse regions of Spain. From the high peaks of the Sierra Nevadas, to the sprawling meadows of Aracena, to the miles of beautiful coastline, the landscape offers up an incredible range of ingredients and cuisines. You'll find some of the freshest seafood, the best pork (Ibérico of course), and an expansive variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and spices. 

In Andalusia's capital, Seville, one of the most famous tapas is the solomilllo al whisky, or the pork tenderloin with whiskey sauce. Most restaurants offer this popular tapa, each with their own recipe and flare. The origins of the dish are peculiar, but the flavor is exceptional and totally addicting--especially when you're using Ibérico tenderloin. 

The History of the Sirloin Steak with Whiskey

The history of this popular dish goes back to the 1960s. A man by the name of Damaso Bellanato was welcoming a friend who had just arrived from France to his cafe. The friend was so excited by a dish he had tasted while traveling in France and asked Damaso to make him the same preparation. 

Damaso did what he could with the ingredients he had in the restaurant. While a bit different from the dish his friend had tasted in France, the friend gave his full approval and the cafe began selling this dish on the menu. 

Oddly enough, the original recipe does not actually contain whiskey. Domaso served the pork tenderloin with brandy, a common spirit in southern Spain. No one knows why Damaso didn't simply call the dish pork tenderloin with brandy, but the name stuck regardless of the original ingredients. 

How to Prepare Sirloin Steak with Whiskey

Here we're sharing the original version of the recipe, with brandy. But you can easily substitute whiskey and still get great results. 

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Campo Grande Ibérico Tenderloin 
  • 1 head's worth garlic cloves, unpeeled and crushed
  • 1 beef or chicken bouillon cube
  • 4 oz. butter
  • ½ cup brandy (or whiskey) 
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • Potatoes, cut into thin sticks for fries 

Preparation

  1. Trim any excess fat from the tenderloin and cut into medallions approximately 1.5 cm (about 1/2 inch) thick.
  2. Pour olive oil into a large frying pan and brown the tenderloin medallions on each side. No need to cook them all the way through, you're simply getting a nice browned crust on the outside. Once browned, sprinkle with salt, remove from the pan, and set aside. 
  3. Add the garlic cloves (make sure to leave the peel on) to the same pan and brown, being careful not to burn.
  4. Once browned, lower the heat and add the bouillon cube and stir, letting it melt completely in the oil.  
  5. Increase the heat to medium and add the butter.
  6. Once melted, slowly add the lemon juice and simmer over medium heat for one minute. 
  7. Increase the heat again and add the brandy or whiskey. Cook for abut 5 minutes to let the alcohol evaporate. Then lower the heat to medium and cook for another couple of minutes to reduce some of the liquid. 
  8. Add the tenderloin medallions back into the pan and cook for another 3 minutes. Once cooked, remove from heat and let rest in the pan. 
  9. While the meat is resting, fry the potatoes in a separate pan. 
  10. Serve the tenderloin and potatoes with plenty of whiskey sauce. ¡Buen provecho! 

    Tips for a Perfect Whiskey Sirloin Steak

    • The type of liquor may change from one recipe to another, so feel free to use whatever brandy you have on hand or your whiskey of choice. You could even try it out with rum or wine. Just keep in mind that if you use wine, the alcohol flavors won't be as intense. You may need to add a bit more wine and then reduce a little longer to get the perfect texture and flavor. 
    • The lemon is essential for adding a burst of acid and brightness to the dish. Don't leave it out. 
    • Use Ibérico pork for this recipe. The quality of the fat, the flavor, and the texture will make all the difference. An American-bred pork will not give you the same results. 
    • Serve with bread to sop up every drop of the whiskey sauce. 
    • This recipe is designed as a main dish but you can also serve it in small tapas-size portions along with other dishes or tapas you're preparing. 

    Are there other versions of sirloin steak with whiskey?

    Solomillo al whisky has several variations. Only the original recipe uses brandy and butter, but most folks in southern Spain tend to use whiskey and olive oil. Test out a few versions of the recipe to see what you prefer. The only rule? Ibérico tenderloin or bust. 

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