This dish is the net out of a beautifully chile braised pork shoulder and poor memory. The flavors are big and bold, just like you would expect and the aromatics while it was braising wafted throughout the house. It’s a wonderful fall meal.
I probably should thank the Baby Lady for the inspiration for this dish, if I remembered it was her idea. 😮 You see, we had a 2.5 lb pork roast I had thawed out and Quickstep was coming over for dinner. She had recommended I do what her mother did and make a red chile paste and braise it. Being off in my own little world, I dismissed it without another thought and quickly forgot about it. We had been on one of our chile streaks of late and I needed a change of pace. I was thinking of something more traditionally “Fall like” and with our fresh little pomegranates, to boot. Yep, that was the ticket. Then I got to looking at various recipes searching for ideas and something that would truly be inspirational. As I was pondering reality and the Higgs-Boson I stumbled upon a recipe that for some reason struck my fancy, Chile Braised Pork Tacos. I don’t know why it is that Southwestern/Mexican cuisine always catches my attention but it does. I’m helpless about it. I see it, I like it and want to cook it. Also, I had recently purchased some beautiful ancho chiles at the market, Quickstep was coming over for dinner and he loves Mexican food, particularly tacos. Of course, Quickstep likes food period, any food, but he does particularly like Mexican food. So with this in mind, I set upon the appointed task of making my version of chile braised pork tacos with a variety of different red chiles because of the greater depth of flavor and character you get from multiple chiles. Of course, when Baby Lady realized what I was doing, she asked “So you decided to take my advice after all and do what my mom used to do – make a paste out of red chiles and roast the pork?” And my obvious and oblivious response was “no, I’m braising the pork in a red chile paste.” This then started the discussion of whose idea it was to make a red chile paste for the pork roast and how to cook it, along with another discussion of how my memory is slipping. Hmmmm…Regardless of whose idea this was and whether my memory is slipping, this is a wonderful preparation. Next time you’re in the mood for a taco, give this a try.
- 4 large ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded and toasted
- 2 large pasilla negro chiles, stemmed, seeded and toasted
- 3 cascabels, stemmed, seeded and toasted
- 2 guajillo chile, stemmed, seeded and toasted
- 3 chipotle chiles, stemmed, seeded and toasted
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 boneless pork shoulder, roughly 2.5 lbs
- 2 Tbsp sea salt
- 2 Tbsp lard
- 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
- 2 Tbsp garlic, minced
- 2 bay leaves, crumbled
- 1 Tbsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground allspice
- 1-1/2 cups chicken stock
- 20 6″ corn tortillas
- radishes, trimmed, thinly sliced
- lettuce, chiffonade
- tomatoes, seeded and diced
Stem, seed and lightly toast chiles. Place chiles in a medium bowl. Add enough boiling water to cover, and set a small plate or bowl on chiles to keep submerged.
Let soak until softened, about 30 minutes. Drain and reserve the liquid.
Place chiles in a blender.
Add honey, lime juice, and 1/2 cup of the reserved liquid.
Purée chile mixture to form a smooth paste. Add more liquid as needed.
Season pork shoulder generously with salt, roughly 2 Tbsp will do the trick.
Generously spread the chile paste all over the pork shoulder.
Heat a large heavy pot over medium heat. Melt lard and add onion, garlic, bay leaves, oregano, coriander, cumin, and allspice.
Sweat onions until soft, roughly 8 minutes. Add chicken stock, bring to a boil and add pork shoulder.
Cover and transfer to 350 F preheated oven.
Braise pork for roughly 2-1/2 hours, until very tender, basting occasionally with pan juices.
When done, transfer pork to a large plate and shred with 2 forks. Return shredded meat to pot and mix with remaining juices. Pour into a serving vessel.
Meanwhile, heat tortillas and wrap to keep warm. Chiffonade lettuce, seed and dice tomatoes, slice radishes, serve & enjoy!
NOTE: You will have approximately 1 to 1-1/2 cups of paste remaining. Do not throw this out as it makes a wonderful red sauce for enchiladas but that is a recipe for a future post. 🙂