This past weekend was spent hanging out with my kids. It was father’s day weekend, and I wanted to do something special with them. I always think what I can do with them in the kitchen, whether it is making pizza dough, or helping out…
Month: June 2010
You should probably know by now that I could live off of tacos, pizza, or for that matter bacon. Many of these favorites of mine have some pork product in them. I love pork, and pretty much every piece of the pork. As much as I try a lot of new things, I stick to my standards when it comes to pork; ribs, chops, bacon, ham, shoulder. So this past week, I already knew I wanted slow roasted pork. At first, I was thinking tacos, but then the Asian influence stumbled upon me and I could not get the taste of a Banh Mi sandwich out of my mind.
This is when I came up with the Banh Mi taco. It was so worth it.
- Pork shoulder, cut into large chunks, browned and slow roasted
- Pickled carrots and daikon
- 1 large cucumber, peeled, and sliced lengthwise, seeds removed
- Fresh cilantro sprigs
- 1 large jalapeno, seeds removed, thinly sliced
- Fresh corn tortillas, warmed
- Soy sauce, optional
Simple ingredients. Huge flavors.
At first my wife asked if we had these tacos before. I asked her why, and she said the pickled carrots and daikon really reminded her of something. She had her mind on the pork tinga that I had made for a family gathering some time ago. Granted, the pork tinga was delicious, and the pickled red onions were a great balance, it had nothing on the sweet, heat of these delicious tacos.
I’ll admit it now. I love Mexican and Asian flavors, and this taco married the two, and it was apparent to both my wife and I.
When your pork shoulder is fully cooked, and basically falls apart, make sure you shred it, much like you would handle pulled pork. Heat a large nonstick skillet on medium heat, and add enough of the cooked pulled pork to fill your tacos. The goal here is to get a bit of texture, a bit of light crisp if you will, on the pork.
Remove the lightly crisp pork, and arrange your tacos. I always double up my corn tortillas. I love the texture of two, plus they hold up well when being loaded with ingredients.
Add the pork, drizzle with a bit of soy sauce if you want, add the cucumber strips, pickled daikon and carrots, cilantro sprigs and a couple of the thinly sliced jalapenos.
Trust me, these bring out some really great memories of a Bahn Mi, while at the same time really satisfying your taco cravings.
I often frequent a local Mexican grocery story and eatery in Milwaukee, known as El Rey Supermercado. I am really hooked at this place, and think that they have some of the best tacos in town. Granted, I tend not to think what happens beyond the scenes in many of these restaurants, and I realize their food inspections are not top notch, but I quickly get through that thought when I think of their delicious tacos. There are popular places in town where everyone thinks they have great food, including La Fuente and La Perla, but not me. They have nothing on El Rey, or for that matter Cielito Lindo.
One thing I love about El Rey, in all of their locations is their daily specials that they have cooking, and showcased in their food window. The standard rice and beans are always present, but then, there are things like a Mexican spaghetti (which I have never seen before), cooked vegetables including nopales, and then there is this dark and rich looking batch of chicken simmering in a dark mole sauce.
I always look at that mole and always watch those around me, sopping up the mole sauce with corn tortillas as they pull apart the tender chicken. I have had great mole before, and realize it takes about a half a day to simmer, and includes about thirty ingredients. There are times however, when you do not have half a day, and crave that rich, dark and spicy chocolate sauce. I had one of those occasions last week and decided to concoct my own version of a quick mole poblano sauce. It came out great and it was just that right balance in texture, spice, and sweet. Then, I decided to make nachos with it. A definite must make.
- 3 dried ancho chili peppers, seeds and stem removed
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 cup of cilantro
- 4 tomatillos, halved
- 1/2 red onion
- 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup of dark chocolate chip morsels
- 1/2 cup (or more) of ancho chili water
- 1/4 cup of sugar
- cooked chicken, shredded
Begin by preheating your oven to 450 degrees. To a small bowl, add in the garlic, tomatillos, red onion, and add in the vegetable oil. Make sure everything is coated. Add this to a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 12-15 minutes.
During this time, add the ancho chili peppers and cinnamon stick to a small pot, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then cover, turn off the heat, and let this sit for about thirty minutes.
Get a blender out, or food processor, and add in the cooked ancho peppers, the roasted mixture, the fresh cilantro, chocolate, sugar, and enough water to make a nice and smooth sauce. Pulse down into a sauce. If it is too thick, add a bit more of the ancho chili water.
Remove the cinnamon stick, and add the sauce back to the pot, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes, or longer if you have the time.
Before you are ready to serve, add the shredded chicken to the mole sauce, and cook, getting the chicken warm.
Serve with your favorite style of nachos, place in tacos, or place in your burritos. This quick and easy mole sauce was really right on and beats a store bought can of paste any day of the week. Enjoy.