Pork Soft Tacos with Homemade Corn Tortillas
There is just something undeniably good about tacos. When the ingredients are fresh and made with care, this humble street food is transformed into a complete meal, and the whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts.
Boozy Epicure's Pork Soft Tacos with Homemade Corn Tortillas
This is a multi-step meal that isn't particularly difficult, but does require a little prep if you are making the corn tortillas. I like to use both my guacamole and pickled onions as condiments (just follow those links for the recipes,) but the perfect taco starts with carnitas.
For the Pork Carnitas
1 tblsp grapeseed oil
2-3 lbs of boneless pork shoulder
1 large onion, sliced
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1/2 cup tequila
3 cloves of garlic
1 small can of fire roasted tomatoes
2-3 chipotle chiles in adobo, chopped
Ancho chile powder to taste
Salt/Pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 325 F.
Season your meat with salt and pepper liberally, then get to browning the pork in the grapessed oil. Once it has browned on all sides, pull the meat out and add the onions and carrots to the pot to begin to brown as well. Once the vegetables have softened, deglaze the pot with the tequila then put the meat back in along with the roasted tomatoes, garlic, chipotle chiles and ancho chile powder. Bring to a boil, add salt and pepper to taste, then put the entire pot into the oven, partially covered, to cook for 2 to 3 hours, until the pork is tender.
|Carnitas mixture ready to go in the oven.|
Pull the pork out into a separate bowl and shred with two forks. Meanwhile, puree the cooking liquid and vegetables and place back in the pot over medium heat to reduce to a thick sauce. Once your sauce is done, add about 1/2 cup to the shredded pork.
|Pork taken out and shredded|
|Braising mixture pureed and reducing|
For the Tortillas
1 cup Masa Harina
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup hot water
Start by mixing the salt into the Masa Harina. Add the hot water and mix to form a springy dough. Cover and let rest 30 minutes to an hour.
|Masa Harina and salt|
Separate your dough into 6 equal portions, roll into balls and pull out a ziplock bag and a pie plate. Meanwhile, place a non-stick pan or cast iron griddle onto medium heat. Place the balls, one at a time, in the ziplock, use the pie plate to flatten/press the dough into tortillas, then place each tortilla in the hot pan (dry - do not use oil).
Cook the tortilla for just a minute or two (until it starts to brown) then flip it over and cook the other side. Place in a covered pan or dish to keep warm until time to eat.
Garnishes and Assembly
As I said before, I like to use both guacamole and pickled onions as condiments along with lettuce, cabbage, or some other crunch green, diced jicama, shredded carrots, fresh cilantro leaves, and mild cheese (mexican cheeses are great, but Monterey Jack works well too.) Mexican crema or sour cream is also a good choice, but honestly, use whatever toppings strike your fancy. If you like diced tomatoes and cheddar cheese, go for it. I've enjoyed radishes too, and while fruit salsas aren't my thing, corn salsa or black beans are also welcome additions.
I like to assemble by putting down a base of guacamole, then veggies, then meat, then cheese, then cilantro. You can do as you wish - just don't overstuff the taco or you won't be able to fit it in your mouth or hold it together.