Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Chipotle Puerco Tacos con Guacamole







     Tacos & T-Shirts!
     Summer is taco season!  When at the beach or playing in the great outdoors, nothing satisfies a hunger filled craving for flavor more than tacos.  Tacos were originally created by the Aztecs as a food item that can be eaten with one hand while on the go.  This design has withstood the test of time and in this modern age, tacos are still the number one summertime food staple in most people's book.
     Since the Aztecs were a gourmet society, it is easy to imagine that local herbs, spices and chile peppers were added to whatever was placed on the tortilla wrapper.  Spicing up a meat filling for tacos has also withstood the hands of time and the basic spice mixture really has not changed that much since ancient times.  The addition of cumin during the Spanish occupation of Mexico was the most dominant change made, but not all taco meat fillings rely on this foreign spice for flavor.      
     Chipotle were created by the Pueblo culture in ancient times.  Chipotle are ripe red jalapeño peppers that are smoked over smoldering jalapeño bushes, then sun dried.   Chipotle Peppers have a deep smoky flavor that goes well with a variety of meats.
     Pork that is simmered with chipotle till the meat easily shreds is one of the most popular taco fillings.  Western taquerias usually only place a savory meat on the tortillas with no garnish or extra toppings.  Guacamole and cheese both cost extra, but cheese is not actually a popular addition in authentic taquerias.  Taquerias offer a self serve condiment table with sauces, escabeche and vegetable accompaniments, so a few small tacos on a plate can be turned into a healthy complete meal.  
 
     Guacamole:
     This recipe yields about 3/4 cup.  (2 to 3 garnish portions)   
     Step 1:  Place the pulp of 1 peeled seeded ripe avocado in a mixing bowl.  (About 1/2 cup.)
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of lime juice.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of Mexican style hot sauce.
     Step 2:  Add 1 chopped green onion.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of chopped onion.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of small chopped tomato.
     Add 1 clove of chopped garlic.
     Add 2 tablespoons of chopped seeded green jalapeño pepper.
     Step 3:  Add 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh cilantro.
     Add 1 pinch of Mexican Oregano.
     Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
     Step 4:  Mix and mash the ingredients together till the guacamole is a paste consistency.
     Place the guacamole in a container and chill for 30 minutes so the flavors meld.
          
     Chipotle Puerco:
     This recipe yields enough for 3 or 4 tacos.  (About 1 1/4 cups)
     Step 1:  Select 8 ounces of fairly lean pork shoulder meat.
     Cut the pork into thick strips.
     Step 2:  Heat a wide sauce pot over medium heat.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of lard.
     Add the pork strips.
     Lightly season with sea salt and black pepper.
     Sauté till the pork strips are lightly browned on all sides.
     Step 3:  Drain off any excess grease.
     Return the pot to medium heat.
     Step 4:  Add 1/4 teaspoon of chopped garlic.
     Add 2 tablespoons of chopped green bell pepper.
     Add 2 tablespoons of chopped onion.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of ground anatto.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of cumin.
     Add 3 tablespoons of minced canned Chipotle en Adobo.
     Briefly sauté for 1 minute, so the mixture becomes aromatic.
     Step 5:  Add enough water to cover the pork.  (About 3 cups.)
     Add 10 to 12 whole cilantro leaves.
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Step 6:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Gently simmer till the meat becomes tender enough to easily shred.  (About 1 hour.)  
     *Add water as necessary to barely keep the pork covered.
     Step 7:  After the pork is very tender, simmer and reduce till the excess liquid evaporates and the pork is coated with chipotle mixture.
     Step 8:  Remove the pot from the heat.
     Use 2 forks to coarsely shred the pork meat in the pot.
     Step 9:  Keep the Shredded Chipotle Puerco Taco Meat warm over very low heat or in a 135ºF bain marie.

     Chipotle Puerco Tacos con Guacamole:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.  (2 tacos)
     Step 1:  Warm 2 small corn tortillas (or 2 small flour tortillas) on a dry griddle over medium/medium low heat, till the tortillas become soft and flexible.
     Step 2:  Place the warm tortillas side by side on the front half of a large plate.
     Place 2 1/2 to 3 ounce portion of the Chipotle Puerco across the center of each tortilla.
     Garnish with cilantro sprigs.
     Step 3:  Garnish the back half of the plate with:
     - shredded lettuce
     - chopped tomato
     Place a 2 to 3 dollop of the guacamole on the back half of the plate.
     Garnish the guacamole with thin lime slices.

     Chipotle Puerco Tacos are fun summertime finger food! 

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