Taco Tuesday! Al Pastor Inspired Tacos
Continued from The Weeknight Meal Game Plan
Tuesday is like Monday’s ugly stepsister. Especially Tuesdays in winter. So our family adopted a weekly tradition of Tacos on Tuesday. It’s a little bright spot in the beginning of the week, and it simplifies my decision of what to make.
Al Pastor Inspired Tacos
Al pastor (from Spanish, In the style of the shepherd) is a dish developed in Central Mexico, likely as a result of the adoption of the shawarma spit-grilled meat brought by Lebanese immigrants to Mexico.Having derived from the shawarma, it is also similar to the Turkish doner kebab and the Greek gyros. Whereas shawarma is usually lamb-based (thus the “shepherd style” name), gyros and tacos al pastor in Mexico are made from pork. Pork is marinated over one or two days in a combination of dried chiles and then slowly cooked with a gas flame on a vertical rotisserie called a trompo (lit: spinning top), very similar to how shawarma is cooked, with a piece of fresh onion and a pineapple on top. The juice from the pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme that breaks down protein and thus makes meat tender. When ready, the meat is then thinly sliced off the spit with a large knife. It is served on small tortillas, with finely chopped onions, cilantro and a small slice of pineapple, and usually topped with some lime juice and hot salsa. (from wiki)
My Californian husband loves this dish, so I try to keep the old boy happy now and then.
I had my pork tenderloin marinating from Sunday night. I made a fast marinade of 1 cup pineapple juice, a clove of garlic minced, a teaspoon of cumin, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, and 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce chopped. (I used chipotle chiles canned in adobo sauce)
I removed the meat from the fridge and allowed it to come to room temperature before grilling on my outdoor gas grill. I seared it on high heat (grill was at 550 degrees) for about 10 minutes, rotating, then turned the heat down and allowed it to cook for another 20 minutes on medium low heat.
I let it rest, covered in foil for about 10 minutes while I made my guacamole and prepared my other toppings for the tacos.
This is my favourite Guacamole recipe. I like to keep it simple. I prefer garlic to onions and lemon over limes.
- 2 Avocados chopped, skin and pit removed
- 1 clove of Garlic minced fine
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed Lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon of Cilantro chopped
- A dash of mexican hot sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
Add all ingredients to bowl, and mash with a fork or mortar and pestle to a desired consistency. (I like mine a little chunky) Taste. Adjust salt and pepper to your liking. Enjoy.
Back to the tacos…
I chop the meat into small pieces, and add to a frying pan to warm up.
At this point I like to warm the meat on low and add a bit extra flavor. I added a few more dashes of soy sauce, a tablespoon of the adobo sauce from the chipotle chiles, two dashes of cinnamon, and the drippings from the pork. The meat is now ready to serve.
I garnished the Tacos with Chopped Pineapple, Thinly sliced Green Cabbage, Cilantro, Onion, and my favorite Hot Sauce. I served the Tacos with a side of Refried Beans.
I hope you give this idea a try, and that you enjoy this as much as we did. These tacos were not as fast and easy to make as Last Night’s Salad because of all of the toppings that I prepared, making the guacamole, etc… but it was nice to have the meat ready to go.
I’m being beckoned to play Barbie’s with the Hurricane. I will get back at you tomorrow with day three of my simplified meal plan.