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Pig, Delicious Pig: Pork Tacos for the Big Game

Cree LeFavour’s Pork: More than 50 Heavenly Meals that Celebrate the Glory of Pig, Delicious Pig completes a trilogy of irresistible animal protein-centric cookbooks (the prior two: Poulet and Fish).

Pork Cover

The gorgeously designed book’s back cover describes the content within to perfection: “This is pork in all its glorious variations, with recipes and sides inspired by pig-eating traditions all over the world, from luscious slow-cooked belly and shoulder to meatballs and spicy grilled ribs or chops.” Fellow Porkatarians: YESSSSSS.

Try out these three flavorful, easy, recipes and then settle down to watch the World Series with some of the most delicious pork tacos you’ve ever tasted.

Pork Tacos 2

Tacos de Cerdo en Salsa Roja
Serves 6 to 8

Sometimes I want a saucy, spicy taco that can’t be achieved with pulled pork. When I came up with this slow-cooked shoulder in red sauce I knew my call had been answered. A crowd-pleaser that’s within any cook’s reach, the recipe can be easily doubled. Be sure to have some queso fresco and Pico de Gallo along with plenty of warm tortillas.

3 lb/1.4 kg pork shoulder, cut into 1 1⁄2 in/4 cm cubes
2 to 5 tbsp organic, high-heat oil
1 red onion, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp cumin seed
1 tbsp coriander seed, lightly crushed
1 tsp smoked paprika
8 canned San Marzano tomatoes, drained, plus 1 cup/240 ml of the juice
3 dried chiles, such as pasilla, stemmed and partially seeded
3 cups/720 ml water or chicken stock
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup/170 g corn kernels, fresh or frozen
1 red or orange bell pepper, cut into large dice
1⁄4 cup/10 g coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of 1⁄2 lime

For the Table:
1⁄4 cup/10 g coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
20 corn or flour tortillas, wrapped tightly in foil and heated in a 200°F/95°C oven
1⁄2 cup/120 ml sour cream

In a large bowl, toss the meat with 1 to 2 tbsp of the oil to coat. Place your largest Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add 1 tbsp oil and, when it’s hot, begin to brown the meat. Work in four to six batches, so as not to crowd the meat, turning and moving it around to brown on all sides. Transfer the browned meat to a plate as you work, and add more oil to the pot as needed. When all the meat is nicely browned and removed from the pan, turn off the heat and add the onion to the hot pot. Stir, add a little more oil if needed, and turn the heat on low. Cook, stirring often, for 5 to 6 minutes to soften. Add the garlic, cumin seed, coriander seed, and paprika and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the juice from the tomatoes, stir, and turn off the heat.

Heat a cast-iron pan over high heat and roast the chiles until they are fragrant and lightly browned (a little black won’t matter). Transfer the chiles to a blender, add the tomatoes, and work until smooth, 1 minute or so. Pour the tomato-chile blend into the pot and add the onion-spice mixture, the water, and salt. Add the browned meat, stir, and cover the pot tightly. Set over low heat and simmer gently for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. The stew should not dry out or scorch. Remove the lid to cook for the final hour, allowing some liquid to evaporate and leaving you with a thick, rich stew. Don’t stir the pot too vigorously toward the end, or the meat will fall apart.

Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C. Toss the corn and bell pepper with 1 or 2 tsp oil and lay out on a baking sheet. Roast for 12 to 14 min-utes, or until black around the edges. Just before serving, add them to the pot along with the cilantro and the lime juice, and stir briefly. Serve with the chopped cilantro, warm tortillas, and sour cream. I like to put the pot of meat in the center of the table and pass the dishes around, letting everyone build their own taco. Double your taco and stuff it as full as you like.

 

Avocado-Radish Salad
Serves 6 to 8

One is crunchy, spicy, and fresh; the other rich, creamy, and decadent. Together, they’re magnetic opposites that are much improved by the union—think Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn in The African Queen.

1 bunch cherry belle or French breakfast radishes, soaked briefly in ice water and thinly sliced (any radish variety will do)
2 avocados, pitted and diced
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp kosher salt

In a small bowl, combine the radishes, avocados, lime juice, and salt. Toss gently and serve.

 

Yellow Rice
Serves 6 to 8

The subtle hint of sweetness from the onion combined with the heady scent of freshly toasted cumin seed satisfies two of your senses. The visual trick of the rich yellow delivered by the turmeric pleases the eye and makes this rice an asset to any meal.

2 tbsp butter
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 1⁄2 cups/310 g long-grain rice, rinsed
3 1⁄4 cups/770 ml water
Kosher salt
3 tsp cumin seed, toasted

In a medium sauté pan set over medium heat, combine the butter, onion, and turmeric. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the onion is just softened. Transfer to a medium saucepan with a tight-fitting lid and add the rice, water, and 1 1⁄2 tsp salt. Cook, covered, over low heat for 20 to 22 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the water has evaporated.

While the rice cooks, heat the cumin seed very gently in a small cast-iron pan, toasting until fragrant, without burning. The lovely scent will tell you when it’s done. When the rice is cooked, stir in the cumin seed, taste for salt, and serve.

Peter Perez
Associate Director of Marketing, Food & Drink

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