I have had some slow roasted pork in my freezer for a while. I decided that it was time to do something with it and pulled pork tacos seemed like a good idea. The decision was a popular one with Jan and Eilene.
While many Americans like crispy fried taco shells, I do not. I do not need the extra oil and the crunchy bits always cut my mouth. I prefer soft steamed tacos.
It is a weekday meal, so I decided that I would go ahead and use a spice packet. I had looked at the McCormick’s Taco Seasoning mix and I had found that it really did not have anything objectionable in it. No sand, no strange preservatives, just spice and milk solids as an anti-caking agent.
I usually pack the vegetables into my taco meat mixes. This is both to stretch the meat and to up the roughage and vitamins. In addition to the usual onions and chilies, I add celery. Although this is not a traditional ingredient, my mother, Claudia, always added it and it makes tacos taste “right” to me. We also had a very large chili growing in our garden, a Holy Mole, so in it went.
When I serve tacos, I always offer a selection of condiments. For pork tacos I usually provide bowls of raw onions, grated cheese, fresh cilantro, chopped tomato, salsa, and avocado. The diners may choose any or all of these as it pleases them to add to their taco.
Karl’s Pulled Pork Tacos
1 Holy Mole chili (or Anaheim chili)
1 Poblano chile
1 medium bell pepper
1 ½ tomatoes
2 Tbs. butter (separate uses)
1 lb. Pulled pork (or ground pork)
1cup yellow onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
8 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup cilantro stems
1 package of McCormick’s low sodium Taco Seasoning (or Karl’s Taco Seasoning)
½ cup beer, Mexican dark preferred
1 cup cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
1 cup cheddar cheese, course grated
½ cup onion, diced finely
½ tomato, seeded and chopped finely
½ cup Karl’s salsa fresca (or bottled salsa)
1 avocado, diced with fresh lime juice (optional)
2-3 tortillas per person
1. Roast the chilies, green pepper and tomato. Wash the peppers and place them on a lipped baking sheet. Wash the tomatoes cut then in half and lay them, cut side down, on the baking sheet.
2. Broil the vegtables 3-4 inches away from the heating element. Turn the chilies about every five minutes until they are well charred on all sides. Remove the tomatoes when the skin starts to pop off.
Tip: As the skin of the tomatoes heat up, they will start to balloon and slide up. Remove the tomatoes to a bowl, seed and chop them coarsely.
3. Remove the chilies from the oven and put them in a plastic bag until they are cool enough to handle.
Tip: The plastic bag continues to steam the chilies and makes it easier to remove the tough skins.
4. Skin and seed the chilies and dice them finely. Reserve the chilies until later.
5. Pull the pork into shreds and fry it in a large sauté pan with one tablespoon of butter until the strips are well brown.
Tip: I am using roast pork left over from another meal. If you do not have this, you may use ground pork. Brown the ground pork over a low heat and reserve until later. The ground pork will also produce some left-over cooking liquid, reserve this and add it with the beer later.
6. Without cleaning the pan, add the remaining butter and sauté the onions and celery until they are starting to pick up some color, about 5 minutes.
7. Pull the vegetables to the edges of the skillet and add the garlic and cilantro stems. Continue to sauté until fragrant, about one minute, and then stir them into the rest of the vegetables.
8. Pull the vegetables to the edges of the skillet again and add the seasoning to the open space. Toast the spices for 30 to 40 seconds and then pull the vegetables back into the center of the pan.
9. Add the chopped chilies, tomatoes and beer to the skillet and continue to cook. Stir to mix and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes
10. Add the pork to the skillet and stir to blend. Simmer for 5 more minutes.
11. Use this time to prep the rest of the condiments, if you have not already.
Tip: After you have diced the avocado squeeze one tablespoon of lime juice on it and toss to coat. This prevents it from turning brown.
12. Wrap the tortilla in 2 sheets of paper towel and microwave for one minute to steam them.
Tip: Open the package of tortillas and use a knife or fork to peel them apart right after you remove them from the microwave. This prevents them from turning into a solid block as they cool. Rewrap the tortillas and serve.
13. When most of the moisture has cooked off from the taco meat, transfer it to a serving bowl.
14. Present the meat with the tortillas and a selection of condiments.