Sunday, March 11, 2012

Make Ahead Sunday: Braised Pork Tacos

  • 1 boneless pork shoulder (4-5 pounds)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 yellow onions, cut into 8 wedges - remove root, but try to keep each piece together
  • 4 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano leaves chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 bay leaves, divided
  • 1 bottle Mexican beer (12 ounces)
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • Juice of 1 orange + 1/2 cup orange juice (1 cup totoal)
  • 1 chipotle in adobo, seeded and finely chopped, plus 1 tablespoon of adobo sauce
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • pickled red onion (see recipe below)
  • Store-bought pickled jalapeño peppers or banana pepper rings, drained1/4 head red cabbage, shredded
  • Shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • Corn tortillas
  • 1 avocado (sliced)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro (finely chopped)
Pre-heat the oven to 325°F.

Season the pork generously with salt and pepper, to taste, and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.  Pat the pork dry with a paper towel. Heat a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over high heat with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, two turns of the pan. Put the pork in the pot and evenly brown the meat all over (it will take about 10-12 minutes); remove the pork to a plate and reserve.
Turn the heat down to medium-high. Add the onions, garlic, salt and pepper, to taste, oregano, one of the sliced peppers and two of the bay leaves and cook for 7-8 minutes. Deglaze the pot with the beer, scraping up the bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Stir in the chicken stock and orange juice. Add the reserved pork back to the pot (the liquid should come about two-thirds the way up the meat) and bring to a simmer. Cover and put the pork in the oven, turning the meat halfway through cooking, until the meat is very tender, about 2 1/2-3 hours. Remove the pork from the pot to a cutting board and tent with foil to keep warm. When cool enough to handle, pull the meat apart with two forks.
Simmer the braising liquid over medium heat until reduced by half. Add the chipotle and adobo sauce and the lime juice. Add the shredded meat and stir.

To serve, wrap in corn tortillas and top with pickled onions, cheese, avocado, jalapeno, shredded cabbage, and cilanto.  Altered version of original recipe by Rachael Ray.

Pickled Red Onion


  • 1 1/2 cups white wine vinegar

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 2 small red onions, thinly sliced

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

  • 2 bay leaves

  • In a small saucepot, bring the white wine vinegar, sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 bay leaves to a simmer over low heat. Put the sliced red onions in a small sealable container. Carefully pour the hot liquid over the onions, cover and give the container a shake. You may need to lift the lid to release some of the pressure. Every now and then shake the container to mix the ingredients.
    Refrigerate to cool. Leftovers are great in salad.

    Borracho Beans (source: All recipes)

    • 1 pound dried pinto beans, washed
    • 2 quarts chicken stock
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • 1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
    • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle dark beer
    • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans chopped stewed tomatoes
    • 1 white onion, diced
    • 1/4 cup pickled jalapeno peppers
    • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
    • 3 bay leaves
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
    • 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh cilantro


    1. Soak beans in a large pot of water overnight.
    2. Drain beans, and refill the pot with chicken stock and enough water to cover the beans with 2 inches of liquid. Season with salt and pepper. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Stir the beans occasionally through out the entire cooking process to make sure they do not burn or stick to the bottom of the pot.
    3. Stir beer, tomatoes, onion, jalapeno peppers, garlic, bay leaves, oregano, and cilantro into the beans. Continue to cook uncovered for 1 hour, or until beans are tender.
    4. With a potato masher, crush the beans slightly to thicken the bean liquid. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper to taste.               

    LEFTOVERS - Pork Chili
    Combine 2 cups of pork and sauce with 2 cup of borracho beans + 1 cup chicken stock + 2 Tbsp chili powder.  Let simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes.  Serve in bowls topped with cheese, fritos and chives.

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