Following on from the previous taco recipe comes another tasty taco straight from "Tacos" by Alex Stupak. This is my husbands favourite type of taco and in fairness to him he actually cooked it - I just photographed it!
This is a basic version of the traditional recipe which involves wrapping a whole suckling pig in banana leaves and cooking it in a fire pit in your back garden! In fact its much simpler and only requires a Le Cruset pot and a pork shoulder. Easy peasy!
Again a certain number of the elements in the recipe can be made in advance with only the pork and the fresh tortillas to be made on the day of eating... and even then its only a matter of popping the pork in the oven for three hours then shredding it - again easy peasy!
I doubt I will ever cook a pig in the back garden... but if you fancy the challenge please don't forget to invite me round :)
Cochinita Pibil Tacos
1 stick of Cinnamon
2 tbsp Black Peppercorns
2 tbsp Allspice Berries
3 tbsp Dried Oregano (Mexican if possible)
75g Achiote Seeds
40 Garlic Cloves, skins on
300ml Cider Vinegar
3 tbsp Dried Oregano (Mexican if possible)
10 Habanero Chiles
Half White Onion, cut into quarters-inch slices
1 tsp Salt
1 tbsp Sugar
1 Orange, juices and zest finely grated
1 Lime, juiced and zest finely grated
1 tbsp Cider Vinegar
1 medium red onion, sliced finely into rounds
0.5 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
180ml Vinegar, (Rice wine/white wine/apple cider)
2 Garlic Cloves, peeled
7 Peppercorns, whole
7 Allspice Berries, whole
1 Chile, whatever you have in… dried, habanero, jalapeño…
2 lbs Boneless pork Shoulder
Salt as needed, preferably Maldon
2 Limes, cut into 6 wedges
1 Quantity of Flour Tortillas or Corn Tortillas (Home-made tastes best)
Makes about 12 tacos
Up to a week beforehand - Make the Achiote Paste
Set a 12-inch cast-iron pan over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the cinnamon stick, black peppercorns, allspice berries, oregano and achiote seeds. Toast, shaking the pan, until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Remove from the heat, transfer to a spice grinder, and grind to a fine powder, working in batches if necessary.
Reheat the pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic cloves and roast, turning them from time to time, until softened slightly and blackened in spots, about 6 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove the garlic from the skillet and set aside to cool at room temperature. Once they are cool enough to handle, peel the garlic cloves and discard the skins.
In a blender, combine the ground spices and seeds, roasted garlic, and the cider vinegar, and puree until smooth. Transfer to an air tight container and refrigerate until ready to use.
Up to 3 days beforehand - Make the Salsa Habanera
Set a 12-inch cast-iron pan over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the oregano and toast briefly, shaking the pan until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Remove from the heat and transfer to a blender.
Roast the habanero chiles in the hot pan, turning them from time to time, until blackened in spots, about 15 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool to room temperature.
Add the onion slices to the pan and roast, turning them from time to time, until softened slightly and blackened in spots, about 6 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool to room temperature.
Roughly chop the roasted onion and add to the blender along with the sugar and salt. Blend into a paste. Remove and discard the stems of the roasted chiles and cut into quarters lengthwise. Roughly chop the chiles and add to the blender, followed by the orange and lime zest and juices. Blend the salsa to a coarse texture. Stir in the cider vinegar. Transfer to a container and refrigerate until ready to use it.
At least 48 hours beforehand - Make the Pickled Onions
Boil a kettle of water. Put the onions into a sieve or colander.
Pour the vinegar, salt and sugar into the jar you are using to store the pickled onions. Stir to dissolve. Add the garlic, peppercorns, allspice berries and Chile.
When the kettle has just boiled, pour the water slowly over the onions to blanch them. Put the onions into the jar full of the pickling liquid.
Leave to let the flavors infuse for at least 30 minutes. (Store the unused onions in the fridge)
on the day:
At least 48 hours beforehand - Make the filling
Preheat the oven to 300F/150C. Slather 230ml of the Achiote Paste over the pork and season well with salt. Put the joint into a Le Cruset pot (size 26/5.5 Quart) along with 230ml of water. Cook with the lid on for 3 hours, to until fork tender. Take the pot out of the oven and rest the meat (still in the covered pot) undisturbed for an hour at room temperature, then transfer the pork to a cutting board to rest.
Set up a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl and pass the cooking juices through the strainer. Clean the Le Cruset, then pour the strained cooking juices back into it.
Using two forks shred the pork shoulder and put the meat into the pot, mixing it to coat with the cooking juices. Set aside in a warm place.
Make one set of tortillas and keep them warm.
Assemble the Tacos
Lay out the warm tortillas on serving plates. Place some of the Cochinita Pibil on each tortilla and top with some pickled onions, a little freshly squeezed lime juice and a splash of Salsa Habanera. Serve.