TACOS AL PASTOR

14 May

 

Tacos-al-Pastor

 

 

 

Tacos al pastor come from Mexico, right? .

The method of cooking “al pastor” actually comes from Lebanon.  leb

It’s inspired by shawarma!

Shawarma or Shawurma (Arabic : شاورما‎ / 😉 is a Levantine Arab  meat preparation, where lamb , chicken , beef , or mixed meats are placed on a spit  ), and may be grilled for as long as a day

You can find some version of shawarma everywhere in the Middle East where the Ottoman Empire once reigned.  otto

“Turks call it döner kebab;     Greeks call it gyro;       Iraqis call it kas,” .      “This shows you the all-pervasive influence of the Ottoman Empire, because all the subjects of the Ottoman Empire eat shawarma even though they call it by different names.”

Of course, the people of the Ottoman Empire didn’t all stay there.     About 36,000 people under Ottoman rule left for Mexico between the late 19th and early 20th century.

“People came from as far as Egypt. Some people came from Iraq,.  The majority came from the Levant, as it was called during that time, which is now modern-day Lebanon and Syria.”   but

The migrants left for the usual reasons: looking for economic opportunity, dodging army conscription and escaping sectarian violence. And when they arrived, they brought their food with them. “By the 1930s, there were restaurants that served shawarma .

Gyros ,  being the one you are  most familiar with , probably.

 

 

Aside note :  Copious use of fresh herbs is a hallmark of Lebanese cooking, and in earlier times one of the questions considered when looking for a bride was how finely she could chop parsley.)       bride       …………….   chop ………  .what22

 

 

The English translation of al pastor is “in the style of the shepherd.” Mexican shepherds adapted the Lebanese style of spit-roasting lamb, using pork instead, and al pastor tacos became a beloved Mexican food the world over.

Tacos al pastor are made from thin strips of pork that have been marinated in spices and chiles and then stacked onto a long spit called a trompo. ( spinning top )In many — but not all — cases, a pineapple and onion are placed on top of the spit. As the meat cooks, the outside layer gets crispy from exposure to the heat. The taco-maker  shaves off the outer layers straight into tortillas, and might top the pork with sliced pineapple, onion, cilantro and salsa.

The vertical skewer is a key part of the equation, facilitating fat and juices to drip down onto the stack, “basting it as it crisps,”

trompo

Some people think the pineapple on top of the spit marinates the meat as well, but the  pineapple rests on top of the spit so that it’s easily accessible to the taco makers, and the belief that it marinates the meat is pure speculation.

 

 

  • For the Pork:
  • 2 whole ancho chilies, seeds and stems removed – ancho
  • 2 whole pasilla or guajillo chilies, seeds and stems removed
  • guj
  • 1/2 cup homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano ( it makes a difference )  mco
  • 1 teaspoon dried ground cumin seed
  • 1 tablespoon sazon   sazan
  • 1 chipotle chili packed in adobo sauce, plus 2 teaspoons sauce from canchip
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 3 whole cloves garlic
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 pounds boneless blade-end loin or sirloin pork roast
  • 8 ounces (1/2 pound) sliced bacon
  • disposable aluminum loaf pan

 

  • To Finish and Serve:
  • 1 small pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into quarters lengthwise
  • corn tortillas,  heated and kept warm
  • 1 medium white onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup finely minced fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 1 cup  your favorite salsa
  • 3 to 4 limes, cut into 8 wedges each for serving

    Place chilies in a large saucepan over medium high heat and cook, turning chilies occasionally, until puffed, pliable, lightly browned in spots, and very aromatic, about 5 minutes. Add chicken stock (it should boil immediately), then pour contents of pan into a small bowl. Cover loosely and set aside.2.

    Wipe out saucepan, add oil, and return to medium-high heat until oil is shimmering. Add cumin, oregano, and achiote and cook, stirring frequently, until a aromatic but not browned, about 30 seconds. Add chipotle chilies and sauce and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds longer. Add vinegar, salt, and sugar and remove from heat.3.

    Scrape contents of saucepan into a blender along with garlic and chilies with their soaking liquid. Blend on high speed until completely smooth, about 1 minute, scraping down sides as necessary. Set sauce aside to cool slightly.4.

    Using a very sharp chef’s knife or slicing knife, slice the meat as thin as possible. If necessary, place meat in freezer for 15 minutes to firm it up.

    Split the sides of a heavy duty zipper-lock bag. Place one slice of meat inside bag and pound with the bottom of a heavy 8-inch skillet or a meat pounder until less than 1/4-inch thick. Transfer to a large bowl. Repeat with remaining meat.

    Add marinade to bowl and toss with hands until every piece of meat is evenly coated in marinade.

    Line the bottom of a disposable aluminum loaf pan with bacon. Add a layer of thin-sliced marinated meat. Continue layering in bacon and meat until all the meat is used up. (It may pile above the pan a little bit. This is ok.) Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 36.

    Oven to 275°F. Uncover aluminum loaf pan and place on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Transfer to oven and cook until meat is completely tender (It will drip lots of fat), about 4 hours. Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly, cover with aluminum foil, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

    To Serve: Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove cooked meat from aluminum tray, scraping off any fat or jellied juices from its sides. Use a spoon to collect fat and juices from tray, reserving each separately. Using a sharp chef’s knife or slicing knife, slice meat as thinly as possible to create fine shavings of meat and fat. Transfer to a bowl.

    If fat from meat is solid, heat gently in the microwave or in the oven until melted. Transfer pineapple pieces to a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Brush with fat. Transfer to oven and roast until completely tender, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.

    About 10 minutes before pineapple is done roasting, transfer meat and 1 tablespoon of fat to a large cast iron or non-stick skillet. Heat over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until meat crisps and deeply browns in spots. Add any reserved juices and toss to combine, allowing it to cook until reduced to a moist glaze. Transfer meat to a warmed serving bowl.

    Chop roasted pineapple into large chunks. Serve meat and pineapple immediately with warmed tortillas, onions, cilantro, salsa, and lime wedges.

    Meat will be very moist and should be packed into double-stacked tortillas for serving.   pine

    Don’t forget the cold beer  !!mb

    Eat and Enjoy !

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