Tacos are a recurring weeknight meal for my family. One of our favorite versions is spiced ground pork with lime, pineapple, and black beans, piled high with diced avocado. It was only recently that I thought to add coconut milk to the mix. This one ingredient elevates the dish and plays really well with the other flavors. Similar to pork shoulder or loin braised in milk, simmering the ground pork in coconut milk infuses it with flavor and helps avert the typical dryness that comes with ground meat. This meal can go from kitchen to table in about 20 minutes, perfect for those nights when you don’t have a lot of time but crave (and deserve) an interesting, flavorful meal. Recommended toppings for the tacos include avocado, corn salsa, chopped cilantro, sour cream, shredded cheddar or Monterey jack cheese —EmilyC
Test Kitchen Notes
WHO: EmilyC has been charming us with recipes since the beginning -- this one is no different.
WHAT: A speedy taco that is much more than a vehicle for avocado and sour cream.
HOW: Brown the meat, toast your spices, pile everything in a tortilla. Wash down with a margarita.
WHY WE LOVE IT: The care that went into flavoring these tacos is what makes them wonderful. A serious, toasted spice blend gives them another dimension, and the lime and pineapple juices another still. Then everything gets tempered in a cloak of creamy coconut milk. We love tortillas, but we could eat this straight out the pan. —The Editors
4 to 6
small onion, finely chopped
large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons
1 1/2 teaspoons
Spanish smoked paprika
Cayenne pepper, to taste
coconut milk, stirred (full-fat recommended)
pineapple juice (I keep small cans on hand for this dish)
freshly squeezed lime juice, from 1 lime
or one 15 ounce can cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
In a large skillet, heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and a large pinch of salt and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until they’ve softened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Push the onion and garlic to one side of the pan, and add the cumin, chili powder, paprika, oregano, and cayenne. Let sizzle in the pan until they’re toasted and fragrant, about 1 minute, then stir well until the onions and garlic are evenly coated with the spices.
Add the ground pork to the pan. Cook over medium-high heat, breaking up any large chunks of pork and stirring occasionally, until the pork is just cooked through. Season with salt to taste. Remove any excess fat from the pan.
Add the coconut milk; simmer for about 5 minutes until thickened, then stir in the black beans, pineapple juice and 1 tablespoon lime juice and cook for an additional minute or two. Taste and add more lime juice if needed. Adjust the seasoning to taste. You can serve right away, or cover the pan and let the pork gently simmer over low heat.
Using a slotted spoon, divide the ground pork equally among lightly warmed flour tortillas. Serve with lots of avocado and other toppings of your choice.