Slow-Cooked Pork Tacos

By Merrill Stubbs
March 21, 2011
36 Comments


Author Notes: This dish was inspired by a recipe from Fine Cooking for chili con carne. We'd been eating a lot of beef recently, so I decided to try the chili with pork shoulder instead. Then, I thought I might reduce the liquid a little and get rid of the cannellini beans, so I'd end up with more of a thick stew than a soup. Maybe I should stuff the pork into corn tortillas, instead of serving it in bowls? And while I was at it, I might as well sub in aargersi's addictive, multi-purpose pickled onions for the plain old red onion, right? With these and a few other modifications, some delicious pork tacos were born -- all thanks to the fine folks at Fine Cooking.Merrill Stubbs

Serves: 4 to 6, depending on hunger level

Ingredients

Pork Tacos

  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons ancho chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 pounds boneless pork shoulder (not too lean), cut into 3/4-inch chunks
  • Kosher salt
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 poblano pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 serrano chili, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes, with their juices
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock (homemade or low sodium)
  • 2 large limes
  • Corn tortillas
  • 2 avocados
  • Pickled onions (recipe below)
  • Cilantro, washed and dried
  • Sour cream (optional)

Pickled Onions, à la aargersi

  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 medium beet, peeled
  • Handful cilantro
  • Cider vinegar

Directions

Pork Tacos

  1. Put the cumin and coriander in a small pan and set over medium heat. Toast the spices for a minute or two, shaking the pan occasionally, until they’re fragrant. (Be careful not to scorch them.) Grind the spices finally using a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle. Transfer to a small bowl, stir in both chile powders and the oregano and set aside.
  2. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the pork well with salt and add about half of the meat to the pot. Brown it well on all sides, about 4 minutes total, and transfer it to a bowl using a slotted spoon. Add more oil and brown the second batch of meat, adding it to the bowl once it’s done.
  3. Lower the heat to medium and add another tablespoon of oil to the pot. Add the onion, poblano, serrano and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or so, until fragrant. Stir in the spice mixture and cook for another minute.
  4. Return the meat to the pot, with any juices that have accumulated, and add the tomatoes and chicken stock. (The meat should be covered in liquid – if it’s not, add a little water.) Squeeze in the juice of half a lime and add 2 teaspoons of salt. Turn the heat up to high and bring the liquid to a boil. Turn down the heat, cover the pot and simmer gently for an hour. Uncover the pot and continue to simmer until the pork is very tender and the sauce is reduced and thick, 30 to 60 minutes longer. Taste for seasoning, adding salt if needed, and squeeze in the juice of another half a lime.
  5. To serve, heat the tortillas in the oven or in a dry pan. Peel and roughly chop the avocados and cut the remaining lime into thin wedges. Fill each taco with some of the pork, pickled onions, avocado, cilantro and sour cream if you like. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing.

Pickled Onions, à la aargersi

  1. Slice the onion thinly and put it in a microwaveable container. Add the salt, sugar, beet and cilantro. Cover everything with 1 part water to 2 parts vinegar. Microwave for 1 minute, stir, and microwave for another minute. Cool, then cover and refrigerate overnight.

More Great Recipes:
Pork|Slow Cook|Entree

Reviews (36) Questions (12)

36 Comments

erin May 21, 2018
I'm not usually one to write reviews-- but this recipe is truly a WINNER! It's so so delish. I made it for a dinner party or 8 and double the recipe. I followed other reviews and after 2hr of simmering I did remove the pork from the pot and reduce the sauce down further. I also didn't include the serrano chili-- just the poblanos since I'm not into super spicy foods. It was perfect-- it had a ton of flavor and a little kick. Would certainly make again!
 
Wendy February 26, 2018
This is a winner! Perfect kick to the heat level. Doubled the batch and am dreaming of the many ways to enjoy this recipe (enchilada filling, on a Mex-inspired rice bowl, with eggs and tortilla chips for a weekend breakfast...). Great!
 
FJT December 13, 2015
Delicious - wish I'd made a double quantity and next time I will!
 
justwildbeat July 26, 2015
Simply delicious! I also suggest removing the meat once tender to speed up the reducing process. The pickled onions were a great touch and very easy to make. Also omitted the beet but as long as you use a red onion, they come out bright pink.
 
windysiprits May 5, 2015
This was absolutely a stunner. Made it this evening and my tummy is very happy! Even the husband, who is not a fan of Mexican food, was devouring this. The pickled onions add a very nice crunch to the whole thing. Thanks for a great recipe!
 
Diane August 23, 2014
I made this for guests and it was delicious. I doubled the recipe and was happy that there were lots of left overs. It made great sandwiches the next day. Reducing/thickening the sauce was key, however it did take a lot longer (about 2 hours or so) then indicated in the recipe. Next time I make it I will remove the pork once it's tender. Then continue to reduce sauce until thick, returning the pork at end to coat. Definitely make the pickled onions. They add a nice texture and wonderful additional flavour. Really good on the sandwich the next day too. I will definitely make this again. It's a winner!
 
BurntCream July 2, 2014
The pickled onions are fantastic! Unbelievably simple and easy to prepare. I didn't have a beet so left it out any they are still a vibrant pink.
 
debsiegel July 23, 2013
This was stupid delicious. Thanks for an AWESOME recipe.
 
WifeyAndrea June 7, 2013
Made these for dinner tonight, EXCELLENT!!! The whole family loved them. Even the kids raved about the pickled onions...
 
cateler April 27, 2012
This was just AMAZING. Thanks Merrill - will be making this all summer long.
 
WCmom March 10, 2012
This is my go to meal now when we have a ton of teenagers coming over for dinner. A true crowd pleaser!
 
Vitkin February 22, 2012
I was thinking of substituting the pork for tofu and mushrooms, and vegetable stock for the chicken stock to make a vegetarian (even vegan) version. Any tips on adjusting the cooking time
 
Kat December 11, 2015
Did you ever try making a vegetarian version? If so, would you mind sharing your results?
 
raisedbycoffee January 1, 2012
I made this last night for a "New Years 2012 Taco Party" and the pork was a huge hit (for those who ate meat). A couple people asked for me to come to their house every week and make a batch for them. I appreciate the variety of chilis used for how they meld and create a flavorful kick. I'm also glad you included the onions in the recipe; they're a necessary flavor contrast for the taco.
 
wahini December 12, 2011
Approximately how much water/vinegar mixture?
 
wahini December 12, 2011
Approximately how much water/vinegar mixture?
 
spinal77 December 7, 2011
Absolutely delicious. Could use a bit more kick though. I made 3lbs instead of just two, and I ended up having to simmer what seemed a long time, eventually the pork was starting to break up a little so thats when I stopped simmering it. I didn't bother with the onions, I just put it on some tortillas with a little cheese and its so simple but good.
 
phyllis July 26, 2011
I made this on Sunday for a house full of people and everyone loved it. I played around with the spices, and made two versions--one for the timid and a spicier one for the rest of us. I also have a family member who doesn't eat pork, so I roasted some chicken parts for her, shredded and poured off some of the sauce and put in the chicken to simmer. I made the tortillas, grilled some corn and we had a wonderful feast. Thank you!!!!!
 
cookinbklyn June 19, 2011
Just made this--so delicious! I bought some homemade corn tortillas at the farmer's market, which put it over the top. Never going back to the store bought stuff which is like wallpaper. Made a pot of black beans to serve on the side.
 
Author Comment
Merrill S. June 19, 2011
Wow, sounds great!
 
lexilarkin June 17, 2011
making these again tonight they are so unbelievably good!! my boyfriend has been asking to make them again!! Thanks for the recipe and for my favorite food site!
 
Author Comment
Merrill S. June 17, 2011
You're so welcome!
 
wendymoore May 8, 2011
These pork tacos were unbelievably delicious. I marinated my pickled onions with cloves and cinnamon sticks, based on a recipe I found on David Lebovitz's blog. The combo of the pork and the onions was really mind-blowing!