Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tacos al Pastor

You can never have a conversation about good tacos without someone mentioning tacos al pastor, they are a staple of Mexican street food. With thinly sliced and marinated pork layered to create a huge ‘trompo’ the meat is then roasted on a spit with a fresh pineapple and a large knife is used to slice off thin pieces of caramelized meat. Here is our version, simplified for home but still with the same great flavors.



1 kg Pork Tenderloin

1 cup white vinegar

2 cups cider vinegar

2 tbsp salt

Stir together vinegars and salt to dissolve. Add whole pork and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Meanwhile prepare marinade.


2 dry pasilla chilies

2 dry ancho chilies

2 dry guajillo chilies

2 plum tomatoes, cut into quarters

1 small onion

2 unpeeled garlic cloves

1 ½ cups pineapple puree (1/4 fresh pineapple blended with 1/4 cup water)

½ tbsp cumin

3 whole cloves

1 tbsp smoked paprika

½ tsp coriander seed

2 tbsp olive oil

2 cups water

juice of 1 lime


Char tomatoes and garlic over high heat in a dry pan. Add olive oil and onion, sweat over medium heat for 4 minutes. Add spices and dry chilies. Remove garlic, peel and return to pan. Add pineapple puree and 1 cup water and bring to a simmer. Cook to re-hydrate chilies and break down tomatoes for 5 minutes. Add contents of pan to blender with lime juice and remaining cup of water. Blend until smooth. Season and cool.

Remove pork from vinegar and slice into 4 cm medallions Add pork to marinade and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

Remove pork from marinade and heat pan to high. Sear medallions to caramelize all sides and finish cooking pork on a sheet pan in a 375 degree oven for about 5 minutes or until pork is medium to medium-well. Let rest, then slice against the grain thinly and serve in a fresh tortilla topped with our pineapple salsa.

Pineapple Salsa

Because tacos al pastor are traditionally cooked and served with pineapple, we decided to kick it up a little with a warm caramelized pineapple and onion salsa.


1 onion

3 plum tomatoes, cut into quarters

¼ fresh pineapple

1 dry ancho chili

1 unpeeled clove of garlic

2 tsp chili piquin, lightly crushed

2 cups water

2 tbsp oliv eoil

2 tbsp lime juice

Char tomatoes and garlic clove in a hot, dry pan. Add ancho chili and toast all sides. Add water and simmer to rehydrate chili. Blend contents of pan in a blender to liquefy Season with salt and lime juice. Heat a pan to high and sautee onions and pineapple in oil over high heat until very caramelized, add chili piquin and salt then pour contents of blender into pineapple pan, simmer for 5 minutes until desired consistency is reached. Serve warm over tacos and top with fresh cilantro.

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