August 31, 2010

Smoky Pork Tinga Tacos

My birthday is coming up...October 2. I'm not afraid to say that I LOVE my birthday, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I usually--happily--make my own birthday plans...way in advance, mind you...where we're going out for dinner, what I'll do with my friends, etc. Hell, I even make my own birthday cake!

This year, I asked Jerad & his mom to buy me the new Vitamix, which should be delivered any day now (more about that later). I'm planning dinner with the Food Blog Mafia at Araka sometime that week. But, since my birthday is on a Saturday this year, I really want to do something fun that day. As of now, the plan is to do a taco crawl on Cherokee Street, go to the City Museum (I've never been), have cocktails at Taste, then dinner somewhere still to be decided.

All that talk about tacos & my friend's constant praise of tacos as "happy-making" made us browse Rick Bayless's book for an easy, authentic taco recipe for yesterday's dinner. This one was indeed easy, despite the long cooking time, and it tasted pretty damned amazing...smoky, spicy, rich, deep. We're having leftovers for dinner again tonight.

Smoky Pork Tinga Tacos
from Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless

serves 8

2 pounds lean, boneless pork shoulder, trimmed & cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes *
1 pound (4 or 5 small) red-skinned potatoes, quartered
1 mediu, white onion, sliced 1/4–inch thick
3 garlic cloves, minced
1  28-ounce can diced tomatoes, in juice (preferably fire-roasted)
2 to 3 canned chipotle chiles, en adobo, seeded & finely chopped
1 tablespoon chipotle canning sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 ounces fresh Mexican chorizo sausage, removed from its casing
About 1 cup crumbled Mexican queso fresco **
2 ripe avocados, pitted, scooped from the skin & diced
Warm corn tortillas

* I used pork steaks.
** If you can't find queso fresco, use another fresh cheese like salted pressed farmers cheese. I couldn't find either at my local supermarket, so I just used shredded Mexican blend.
  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  • Layer the meat in the bottom of a 4-6 quart heavy pot (like a Dutch-oven). Top with the potatoes.
  • In a large bowl, combine the onions, garlic, tomatoes, chipotles, adobo sauce, Worcestershire, oregano & salt.  Pour over the pork & potatoes.
  • Cover & bake for 2-2 1/2 hours, until the pork is completely tender.
  • Meanwhile, cook the chorizo in a small skillet. Set aside until the pork is cooked.
  • Stir the chorizo into the pot with the pork & potatoes, breaking up the pork. If the sauce seems too thick, stir in a little water.  Taste & season with salt if needed.
  • Serve on warm corn tortillas topped with cheese & diced avocado. 
NOTE: This can also be done in a crockpot. Spread the potatoes over the bottom & top with the pork. Pour the tomato mixture over the top. Cover & cook on high for 6 hours. Finish & serve as described above.

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