We had a very cool, very rainy day here, which was a godsend because it meant I was ok with having the oven and cooktop going all day. And because it meant I did not need to water my garden (yes it is planted) and tree. Or my rhubarb plants. Or the flower bed. You get the point. Wee-hoo!
Anyway, I recently acquired this cookbook, Tacos by Mark Miller because, well, I love tacos. Duh. And he has this fabulous looking recipe for pork tinga tacos, half of the ingredients of which I did not have of course. But it got me wondering and so I went looking elsewhere, and found a more feasible recipe for tinga in Rick Bayless’s Mexican Everyday. I incorporated some of what I liked about Miller’s recipe (namely the sweet), my own contribution (the bacon) and also subbed in smoked Spanish paprika for half of the chipotle peppers, my standard sub for the kids. According to Bayless, meats are interchangeable in tinga recipes, and chorizo is desired but not necessary (I don’t have any at the moment). I am not sure what Bayless would think of subbing bacon for the chorizo flavor, but Miller kept using words like sweet and smoky to describe a tinga–and bacon seemed like it would go awfully well with those flavors.
These were fabulous. Very different from my more standard skirt steak or chicken tacos. Don’t skip using the cheese as it is fabulous. I did not have any queso fresco, but I think French feta is an ok sub and it tasted fine (any feta would probably work but the Greek is much sharper).
*I was making enough for 9 adult servings so you may need to decrease my amounts of pork and potato
1 T olive oil
1/3 lbs bacon, diced
10 small-medium redskin potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2-3 lbs pork shoulder (I used 3 lbs bone-in–cut the pork into 1-inch pieces but if you have a bone leave it in as well)
2-4 canned chipotles en adobo, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 T smoked Spanish paprika (Leave out if you use 4 chipotles)
1 T Wocestershire sauce
1 28 oz can of diced fire roasted tomatoes, such as Muir Glen
1 t dried Mexican oregano
6-8 garlic cloves, minced
1 large onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick
3 T dark brown sugar
warm corn tortillas
crumbled queso fresco or feta
avocados, diced (I did not have)
Preheat the oven to 250 F (for 4-5 hours cooking, 300 F for 2-3 hours cooking–I prefer low and slow).
Heat a 5-6 qt Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and the bacon and lower the heat so that it is sizzling quietly. Cook until the bacon fat has renders and scoop the bacon pieces out with a slotted spoon and set aside. Pour off some of the bacon fat, leaving about 2-3 tablespoons in the pot.
In a large medium-large bowl, mix together the tomatoes (undrained), chipotles, smoked paprika, oregano, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, brown sugar and onion. Layer the potatoes on the bottom of the Dutch oven, then the pork pieces, and last pour this tomato mixture over the pork evenly. Bring to a boil, cover, and place in the oven.
After about 4 hours, take the pot out and check to see if the pork is falling apart tender. You want everything to be quite tender but still hold its shape. If the sauce seems watery–mine did–pour it off into a small saucepan and boil briskly to reduce it. Taste for salt and/or more sugar. You are aiming for syrupy, but it will seem thin because it is boiling.
When you are ready to serve, place 2 layered tortillas on a plate. Put a few pieces of pork and potato on the taco, as well as some of the onion/tomato mixture. Ladle a small amount of the sauce over it as well as some bacon bits. Crumble the queso fresco over the pork as well as diced avocado if using. Roll and eat. You should probably aim to not overload your taco as much as I have a tendency of doing.