Most people I know are somewhat surprised when they see me indulge in tacos. But truth be told, tacos (when made the authentic way), are not entirely bad for you. They’ve somewhat been “demonized” and placed on the same category as chili dogs or other very unhealthy processed foods. I believe this is a North American phenomenon, really and truly. When tacos crossed the border, they became a sensation, but quickly morphed into something else that would be better suited to the palate of their newly acquired fan base. So-called “Tex Mex” food was born, and with it; tacos & enormous burritos took a very interesting form. Dairy became a key component of this new Tex Mex taco, dollops of sour cream where soon poured onto them, as well as processed yellow cheddar. Rice was soon added as a filler, and sugary bottled salsa jars are now ubiquitous across grocery stores. But this is certainly not the taco I would like to introduce to you today, this is an authentic, mouth-watering version that is not going to hurt your waistline. It’s spicy, rich, and only comes with homemade salsas. For the sake of simplicity; we will divide preparation into 2 areas: meat (pork) & chirmol salsa or relish. I often also serve these with a bowl of freshly made guacamole at the table. Topping options are always good, as everyone has a different taste penchant.
Ingredients Serves 4-6
- 1 lime
- 1 white or yellow onion
- 3 tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons of finely chopped cilantro
- 1 teaspoon of sea salt (or sea salt to taste)
All you need to do is finely chop all the vegetables, add the juice of 1 lime and the 1 teaspoon of sea salt. You can refrigerate in an air tight container for up to 3 days and it will stay fresh.
Al Pastor Pork- For the Meat
- 2-3 pounds of organic pork loin cut into 1 inch slices
- 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon of paprika
- 1 tablespoon “achiote” powder or paste
- 1 lime
- 2 teaspoons of sea salt
- The juice of 1 orange
- 1 white onion (coarsely chopped)
- 3-4 whole cloves of garlic
- 2 guajillo chilies; seeds and stems removed
- 1/2 cup of pineapple chunks
- 1 teaspoon of dried Mexican oregano
* You will also need 1 package of white or yellow corn tortillas. Most grocery stores sell the frozen variety. For best results, never microwave them. I like to warm them up in a regular oven at 350 degrees for 3-5 minutes- if taken straight out of the refrigerator. Once warmed up, an easy way to keep them from hardening for that soft, moist bite is to wrap them up tightly in a kitchen fabric cloth or keep them sandwiched in between 2 small plates when bringing them to the table.
After you cut the pork loin, you place all of the above ingredients in a blender and blend until a smooth, uniform reddish mixture is visible. I then use a large Ziploc bag or Tupperware container and let the pork sit in the marinade for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight. All of these amazing juices seep deep into the meat and the resulting flavor packed punch is incredible! When you finally cook the pork, I like to pan fry it on a non-stick pan with either a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil. If you have any remaining pineapple, it’s great to cook with the pork. I always wait until the meat is slightly browned and then proceed to add it. Happy Eating!!!