Sunday, March 7, 2010

Chile-Braised Pork Tacos with Sopaipillas

I have so many taco recipes that I want to try out. This one was really fun to make. Mostly, because I got to use my mortar and pestle to mash up some stuff.

I found everything for this recipe at King Soopers (a regular grocery store). The dried chiles were in the produce department (right by the fresh herbs and mushrooms). I substituted New Mexican chiles for the guajillo chiles (because that is what they had and it was a suggested sub. by Food.People.Want). The recipe is really easy, except for making the chile paste, which just takes a bit of time. Rehydrating the chiles, seeding and stemming them, and blending them up. The paste is surprising not that spicy. While making it, it smells and feels spicy (like when I touched my face after seeding the peppers and my face was burning for about an hour), but is a very mild spiciness.

I also made sopaipillas to use instead of tortillas. I just wanted to make the tacos just that extra bit healthier. Actually, I really love the soft texture. And I am not a HUGE fan of store bought tortillas. Which is sad. Making homemade tortillas or sopaipillas is not hard at all....bbbbut it is harder than buying them. So, it makes the whole taco night just a bit more complicated. The worst part, is once you go homemade, it is hard to go back.

For toppings we had thinly sliced radishes (great topping idea from Food.People.Want), cotija cheese and cilantro.

And we had some chips and guac. chips and guac. chips and guac!

Chile-Braised Pork Tacos

by Food.People.Want

2 medium dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded

4 medium dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded

1 dried chipotle chile, stemmed and seeded

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1/2 small white onion, roughly chopped

2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

Pinch of ground cloves

1 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon table salt (plus more to taste)

3 pounds, boneless pork shoulder

Warm corn tortillas or sopaipillas (recipe below)

Cotija cheese

Sour cream, hot sauce, thinly sliced radishes and cilantro, for garnish

Place the chiles in a small bowl, cover with very warm water and let stand for 30 minutes. Drain, reserving 2/3 cup of the soaking liquid, then transfer the rehydrated chiles and the reserved liquid to a blender.

Pulverize the bay leaves in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and add them to the blender along with the vinegar, onion, garlic, oregano, allspice and cloves. Process to a smooth puree, adding water if needed to keep the mixture moving through the blades. Press through a medium mesh strainer into a bowl.

Set a large, 6-quart pot with a lid over medium-high heat and add the oil. When very hot and almost smoking, pour in the puree and stir constantly until it sears, concentrates and darkens into a spicy-smelling paste, about 5 minutes. Remove the pot from heat and season the sauce with salt.

Preheat the oven to 325°. Cut the pork shoulder into slabs about 3-inches thick. Lay the meat into the pot with the chile paste, then flip it over to cover evenly, spooning on more sauce over the top to coat the pork well. Pour 1/2 cup water around the meat, cover tightly and place in the oven. Roast for 2 1/2 hours, basting the meat every 30 minutes with the liquid and rendered fat that accumulates. If all of the moisture evaporates, feel free to add more water to the plan to allow you to continue basting. Let the pork rest for 20-30 minutes before serving.

Shred or pull the meat apart into-bite size pieces using two forks. Toss the meat to incorporate any of the leftover chile braising liquid, check for seasoning and add more salt to taste.

Place the chile pork in a warm bowl and serve alongside the warm corn tortillas. Have your guests assemble their own tacos, adding their own garnishes to taste.

(Servings: 20 tacos, Prep time: 75 min., Cook time: 3 hrs, Difficulty: Intermediate)

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from Authentic Southwestern Cooking

3 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup warm water

vegetable oil for frying

Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together, pour in the warm water and mix, then knead until the dough is oft not sticky, adding more flour if necessary.

Place in a bowl, cover, and let sit for 15 min. Divide the dough into 12 equal-sized balls. Roll each ball out until it is approximately 5 inches in diameter and poke a hole in the middle.

Heat the oil in a deep, heavy pan or large cast iron skillet to 375 degrees. Drop the breads, one at a time, in the hot oil and fry, turning. They only take about 2 minutes, unless you want them crispy, then fry longer.

Serve with butter, jam, or honey. Or use to make tacos!

(Servings: 12 Sopaipillas, Prep time: 45 min., Cook time: 30 min., Difficulty: Easy)

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1 comment:

  1. They look gorgeous. Makes me hungry just looking at them. Like all good braises, they do taste even better the next day. I can't wait to try your sopaipillas.