Tacos al pastor

By Bianca Osbourne
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Ingredients

Pork:

  • 2 whole ancho chilies, seeds and stems removed
  • 2 whole pasilla chile peppers, seeds and stems removed
  • 2 whole guajillo chilies, seeds and stems removed
  • 2 whole arbol chilies, seeds and stems removed
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) dried ground cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) achiote powder
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) distilled white vinegar
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons (12.5 ml) kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) sugar
  • 1 pineapple
  • 1/2 pork loin, on the fatty side

Tortillas:

  • 3/4 pound (2-3/4 cups) all-purpose flour, plus a little extra for rolling the tortillas
  • 5 tablespoons (75 ml) lard or shortening
  • 3/4 teaspoon (7.5 ml) salt
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) very warm water

Salsa verde:

  • 1-1/4 pound (514 g) tomatillos, husks removed
  • 2 Poblano peppers, seeds and stems removed
  • 1 white onion, peeled
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 4 Serrano chilies, stems and seeds removed
  • 12 sprigs cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) cooking oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons (7.5 ml) salt
  • 1 lime, juice

To serve:

  • Cilantro
  • Radish, sliced
  • Lime wedges

Directions

  1. For the pork, start by dry toasting the chilies in a large skillet over medium-high heat for about five minutes until puffed, pliable, lightly browned in spots, and very aromatic. 
  2. Add one cup (240 ml) of water, then pour contents of pan into a small bowl. Cover loosely and set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add cumin, oregano, and achiote, and cook, stirring frequently, until aromatic but not browned, about 30 seconds. Add vinegar, salt, and sugar, and remove from heat.
  4. Add to a blender along with chilies with their soaking liquid. Blend on high speed until completely smooth, about one minute, scraping down the sides as necessary. Set sauce aside to cool slightly.
  5. Butterfly pork loin, and pound with a meat mallet to wide even thickness, about 6 inches (15 cm) long, and 12 inches (30 cm) wide. Trim pineapple into a long cylinder 1 inch in diameter using a cannoli tube (or similar tool). Lay pork flat and coat with the chili mixture.
  6. Place pineapple in centre and roll, securing the roast with butcher twine. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour and up to overnight.
  7. Preheat an oven to 325°F (160°C). Bake for one hour to an internal temperature of 160°F (175°C). Remove from oven and let rest for 12 to 15 minutes.
  8. For the tortillas, combine the flour and fat in a large mixing bowl, use hands to incorporate completely.
  9. Dissolve salt in water, then add about 2/3 cup (160 ml) of the salt water to the dry ingredients and use a fork to combine into large clumps. Add more the salt water, as needed, to make a firm, pliable dough. 
  10. Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and medium-stiff.
  11. Let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes.
  12. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to a thickness of about 1/16 inch (2 to 3 mm), then cut into rounds with a 3-inch (7.5 cm) round cookie cutter.
  13. When ready to cook, heat a dry, cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. In a separate pan, heat oil for frying to 350°F (175°C). At the same time, preheat an oven to 325°F (160°C).
  14. Griddle the tortillas in batches in the skillet, about one minute per side, until lightly browned and just cooked through. Transfer to the oil and fry in batches for one minute until starting to crisp. Then transfer to the oven and bake for eight minutes until dry and firm.
  15. For the salsa verde, preheat a broiler to high heat.
  16. Roughly chop and combine the tomatillos, Poblanos, onion, garlic, and Serrano chilies. Spread onto a prepared baking sheet and broil for eight to 10 minutes until slightly charred and soft. Let cool to room temperature.
  17. Transfer the cooked ingredients to a food processor. Add lime, oil, cilantro, and salt, and blend until uniform and smooth, about one minute.
  18. To serve, place one tortilla on plate, top with thinly sliced pork and pineapple, salsa verde, lime crema, cilantro and radish. Place a second tortilla over the top to eat like a sandwich. Serve lime wedges on side.

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