Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Pork Tacos and Black Beans
Lisa Fain....who is this gal? Where have they been hiding her (from me)? I want to kick myself for not knowing who she was until recently.
She comes from a loooooong line of Texans but has moved to New York City (I can just hear the Pace Picante "guys" sayin'...'New York City?!'). And Lisa is the author of a fabulous cookbook that I have the pleasure of 'playing with'. It's called The Homesick Texan. It's packed with page after page of mouthwatering recipes.
By the way...she has a blog herself called Homesick Texan. I highly recommend you pay her a visit. You'll thank me for it, I'm sure.
Several of us bloggers have joined with Heather over at Girlichef to spotlight The Homesick Texan and you know what? I am going to thoroughly enjoy this little glimpse of Texas.
Our first recipe is for Pork Tacos, Dallas Gas Station Style. Apparently them hungry cowboys get to feed on some good grub will filling their tank. I guess you could say...they're fillin' up both tanks. If I hadn't seen this recipe and it's history in this book....I know I would not even consider buying a taco from a gas station. Now? You bet your boots I'd grub on a gas station taco in Dallas. I'd probably stop at a gas station just to get one of these tacos....whether or not my car needed gas.
4 dried pasilla chiles (stems and seeds removed) (we'll have a little chat about these chiles in a minute)
2 lbs pork shoulder
1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce (not the whole can....just one)
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 tsp dried oregano (I used Mexican oregano)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Small pinch of ground cloves
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1 TB white vinegar
2 TB olive oil
Salt to taste
1 TB vegetable oil
Lets talk about those chiles. You may not be able to find pasilla chiles. Or at least they may not be called that. Apparently here in the states, things get mixed up in translation. I found this great website for reference...talks about the chiles and their substitutes for dried chiles (as well as other things)....Foodsubs.com There's also a great chapter in The Homesick Texan Cookbook called 'The Larder' that provides information and graphics that I found very helpful. I happen to live very close to a Mexican grocery store and was able to pick up "Chile Negro"...which is the same (from what I understand) as Pasilla Chiles. Which by the way is mild in the heat department.
So...you have your chiles all ready, right? Take a nice heavy skillet (I love my cast iron skillets) and heat it up (no oil). Place the chiles in there and heat them for about 10 seconds on each side. Add enough water to cover the chiles. Bring to a boil and then remove from heat, letting the chiles soak until softened which takes about 30 minutes.
While the pasillas are enjoying their little hot tub experience, get out that pork shoulder and get ready to do a lot of chopping. Trim off the fat and cut the pork into little 1/2" pieces. This will most likely take up most if not all of that 30 minute chile hot tub time.
Once the pork is chopped and chiles are softened...drain the water out and rinse the chiles. Place them into a blender. Add the chipotle chile (if you're a-feared of the heat...remove the chipotle seeds), garlic, oregano, cumin, cloves, orange juice, pineapple juice, vinegar and olive oil. Puree it all. Taste it and add some salt.
In a zip lock bag (or non-reactive dish) combine the chopped pork with the pureed chile sauce
I love that rich, deep color....
Mix it all up to make sure all the pieces are covered and stick in the fridge for 8 hours. (yup...you're gonna wanna get this baby started rather early.)
Once all that time has passed and you've spent the day...I dunno...grocery shopping? Reading recipes? Lounging by the pool with a margarita.....
Take the pork out of the fridge and allow to come to room temperature for 30 minutes. Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat.
Fry the pork until done. And tender. And tasty. (takes about 15 minutes or more). Don't forget to stir it every so often.
Serve in a warmed taco shell, topped with onions, cilantro and a little lime juice.
If you'd like a little side dish to go along with these Dallas Gas Station Tacos....I recommend the Austin-Style Black Beans.
I don't know if you know this about me or not...but I'm not a huge bean fan. Some I can tolerate more than others. And I can certainly do without. Let me just say....these beans are GOOD!!
Austin-Style Black Beans
1 lb dried black beans
1 TB vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion (I think I used a white one) diced
1 carrot, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, divided
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 TB tomato paste
1/4 cup line juice
Salt to taste
Rinse and sort your beans to make sure there aren't any pebbles or other weird things in with the beans.
Place them in a large pot. Cover the beans with 1 inch of water and bring to a boil. Cook for about 15 minutes. Drain and rinse.
In the same pot, on a medium low heat, saute the onions and carrots in oil until the onions are translucent and the carrots are lighter in color. This takes a few minutes....8? 10? Just keep an eye on it and make sure you stir them up a bit occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
Add the beans to the pot with the veggies. Add the chipotle chiles and 1/4 cup of cilantro. Cover everything with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and simmer, uncovered for about 1 1/2 hours.
Once that time has passed (maybe this time you did a load of laundry and watched your favorite movie for the umpteenth time while sipping on another margarita)....
Add the remaining cilantro to the beans along with the cumin, tomato paste and lime juice. Salt to taste. Cook some more for about 30 minutes or until the beans are tender. Here, Lisa states that the actual cooking times may vary depending on how fresh your dried beans are (never thought about the freshness of dried anything before but apparently it does matter).
When the beans are done, smash a few of them on the side of your pan with a spoon to thicken things up a bit....and then get ready to enjoy the best beans ever! (I can say that since I don't like beans....and I think these are amazing!)
*This post is part of The Homesick Texan Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off sponsored by Hyperion and hosted at Girlichef*