Thursday, May 14, 2009

Braised Pork Tacos

(This is really old. I've been hanging onto these pictures for a few months now, and I finally figured it was time to write a post about them. Also, I really want this book, which just came out, and seeing it reminded me to post about tacos.)

After reading a bunch of posts on Serious Eats on a Saturday morning a few months ago, I had a craving for pulled pork tacos, so, it was off to Wegman's to get the ingredients:

Pork Shoulder
Canned tomatoes with green chilis
Assorted spices and herbs
Chicken stock
Corn tortillas
Assorted toppings and sides (you'll see them, but the sides are another whole post in themselves).

Once back home, I immediately marinated the pork shoulder:

It was a while back, but I think I see lime juice, lime zest, whole hunks of lime (I like limes), cilantro, chili powder (a secret blend), cumin, olive oil, and black pepper. I probably threw some chopped garlic in there, too. If I liked things spicy, I'd put in a few fresh chilis, but I don't really like the heat, so I left them out. You guys can add them, though.

After the pork marinated for a bit (I think like 3 or 4 hours, you could definitely marinate it for longer though, but I'd cut back on the acid if you're marinating overnight), I took the pork out of the fridge and brought it up to room temperature. Then, I browned it in my awesome 5 1/2 quart Le Creuset french Oven:

After shot:

First, please ignore my filthy stove, I've since cleaned it. Second, as you can see, there was some burning of the spices at the bottom of the oven - no worries, just take the pork out, rinse out your pot, and start browning your onions (you do NOT want that burned chili powder taste in your tacos, believe me):

Notice the pork resting patiently before it's bath on the side.

Once the onions were browned, I added a few cracked cloves of garlic and some tomato paste and cooked that for about 1 minute. Then I added the pork back in, along with some chicken stock and a 14-oz can of tomatoes with green chilis, enough liquid to come about 2/3 of the way up the side of the pork.

Next, I brought the whole mixture up to a simmer on the stove, skimmed off the excess fat and foamy stuff that came to the surface, turned the heat way, way down and covered the pot. I braised it until the pork was falling apart (I have no idea how long, as I no longer remember what size pork shoulder I bought, but it was probably in the neighborhood of 3 -4 hours). I periodically skimmed the braising liquid and kept the liquid at a very low simmer. Once the pork was done, I shredded it up and placed it neatly on a plate along with some other taco toppings, cheese, cilantro, and a chimichurri-like sauce:

I guess it's hard to be neat with a big mass of shredded pork.

Then, I made up a nice plate for myself, two tacos, some black beans, and some corn:

DE-lish. I think I had some wine, but this would be even better with some freshly made margaritas. You can get a head start on the drinking while the pork is braising. It makes the 4 hours go by even more quickly.

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