Mexican grub is communal, punchy and so hip it hurts. This recipe is a subtly southern American reinterpretation of carnitas, Mexican pulled pork. There’s none of the usual messy browning of meat required. Yes, the list of ingredients may look intimidating. But just measure them out, throw into a pot, bring to a simmer, then dump into the oven. We’ve also added a splash of barbecue sauce for a smokier hit. The resulting spicy, smoky, tangy flavours permeating the unctuous pork are fab for something so simple to make.
Pulled Pork Tacos
Makes about 20
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp chipotle pepper powder
½ tsp ground cumin
2 tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
1.6kg boneless pork collar (or pork shoulder), cut into 2 -3-inch chunks
1 onion, peeled and quartered
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 cup Campbell’s Real Stock (Chicken)
400g canned tomato puree
1 tbsp honey
1 orange, juice only
1 large lime, juice only (plus extra wedges for serving)
2 whole chipotle chiles in adobe sauce, plus a few tbsp extra sauce
A dash of barbecue sauce
20 corn tortillas, warmed
1 bunch chopped cilantro leaves (also known as coriander leaves)
Sour cream or guacamole, for garnish
4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
4 tbsp lemon or lime juice
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp sugar
450g coleslaw mix
3 tbsp onions, diced
Salt and pepper, to taste
For the pulled pork:
1. Preheat oven to 160°C.
2. Mix oregano, chipotle powder, cumin, salt and pepper together in a bowl.
3. Season pork chunks with the spice mixture and place in a large Dutch oven (covered cast iron pot). Add onion, garlic, chicken stock, tomato puree, honey, orange juice and lime juice. Stir. Place pot on stove over medium heat and bring to simmer. Transfer pot to the oven and cook, covered, until the pork is tender and tears easily, about 1 hour 45 mins.
4. Remove pork from Dutch oven and transfer to a large bowl. Heat Dutch oven on stove over medium heat and reduce liquid until it is gently thickened, about 10 minutes.
5. Season gravy with the 2 whole chipotle chiles in adobo sauce plus a few tablespoons of its sauce. Add a dash of barbecue sauce.
6. Meanwhile, roughly shred pork with two forks. Return shredded meat to Dutch oven with the reduced gravy and mix. Adjust seasoning with more salt and honey, if desired.
7. Serve with warm tortillas, cilantro, sour cream or guacamole, lime wedges, coleslaw (recipe below) and hot sauce (try Cholula).
For the coleslaw:
1. Mix apple cider vinegar, lime juice, canola oil, and sugar in a large serving bowl.
2. Add coleslaw mix, cilantro and onions to dressing and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Can be prepared and refrigerated a day ahead.
1. The pork can be prepared two days ahead (un-shredded) and refrigerated till needed.
2. Buy chipotle pepper powder, canned chipotle chiles in adobe sauce & corn tortillas from Mexican food haven, Belmonte Latin Foods (5 Ridgewood Close, #G5 Ridgewood Condo Retail Wing. Tel: 6245-1413).
3. What are chipotle pepper powder and chipotle chiles in adobe sauce? The former is ground smoke-dried jalapeno pepper, which adds a smoky, mildly spicy kick. The latter is the same smoked pepper in a vinegary, fiery tomato-based sauce. It adds oomph to many Mexican dishes.
4. Buy pre-washed coleslaw mix from Cold Storage supermarkets.