Tacos Al Pastor
A TACO TRUCK IN THE VINEYARD
You’re going to laugh. I ran into these tacos while wine touring. How does one do that? Well, I’m not really sure. What I do know is that I attract unusual circumstances. It’s been that way all my life and one day I’m going to write a book about it. This day, it was a taco truck in the vineyard. My sister, her beau, my husband and I were touring Washington wine country and at one of our last stops before the long drive home we drove to a vineyard on a bluff overlooking Rattlesnake Hills called Knights Hill Vineyard. The vineyard was situated up a gravel drive. In the dusty sunshine we crested the hill and there it was. The glorious……taco truck. Bright yellow, it seemed a vision of heaven for very hungry wine enthusiasts.
We had our priorities in order. Wine tasting first, then tacos. After making our wine purchases, we got in line to read the taco menu posted on the side of the truck. Tiffany (my sister), pointed us in the direction of Tacos Al Pastor. She said they would be the best around. One thing I know for sure is that you never come between my sister and a taco. Never. I never ate Tacos Al Pastor but when one is staring in the eyes of the taco truck, the smell of the grill is wafting out the door and Tiffany is very enthusiastically convincing us this is the way, we were all listening and pooling our cash. They were wonderful. She was right. I took a few photos to share with you all and researched recipes when I got home. I made them and my husband and I shared them only communicating with raised brows and eyes open wide. “It’s a hit. It’s going in the blog” I said.
There are several methods for making Tacos Al Pastor, but since I do not have a rotisserie or a spit, or time for that matter, I did mine in the crock pot for a weeknight meal, but it is wonderful roasted to perfection in the oven.
Tacos Al Pastor
1 1/2 lb pork loin meat, cut into striplike pieces
1 C. white vinegar
2 jalapeno or serrano chile peppers
1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 medium white onions, finely diced, divided
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1 pkg Mexican Grill Seasoning (red)
1 C. pineapple juice
40 very small corn or flour tortillas (about four inches in diameter)
6 limes cut into wedges
1 bunch chopped cilantro
1 can salsa verde
1 can salsa ranchero
Soak the pork in the vinegar for two hours prior to cooking. Remove and drain well.
To soften the chilis, boil them in about 2 cups of water on stovetop until soft and fragrant. Save your liquid and set aside. Remove from water bath and remove seeds. In a food processor, combine chilis, tomatoes, one of the chopped onions (remember these were divided), garlic, Mexican Grill Seasoning, pineapple juice and salt. Blend until smooth.
In a hot skillet, add sauce and simmer, stirring often for about ten minutes. Remove sauce and let cool completely.
When you are ready to assemble, add pork to crock pot with the reserved pepper water and half the sauce. Keep the other half of the sauce refrigerated. Cook either in a crock pot on low for four to six hours or in a roasting pan on 325 for 2 1/2 or 3 hours depending on thickness of pork. At the end of the cooking time, drain the liquid. Take a fork in each hand and gently pull the pieces of the pork apart, similarly to pulled pork. Heat up the remaining sauce on stovetop or in microwave and pour over the top of the cooked pork and work in with a fork until combined.
Preparing your tortillasYou can do this two different ways; steam or lightly fry. Both are good options. To steam, preheat oven to 200 degrees. Soak a teatowel in warm water and ring out. Lay wet towel on a cookie sheet so half of the towel is covering it. Lay your tortillas in a row next to eachother until sheet is filled. Pull the wet cloth over the top and tuck in the sides so nothing can burn. Place sheet in 200 degree oven and turn off the heat. Get out one of your biggest plates or a platter. After 10 minutes in the oven your tortillas should be moist and hot. To fry, pour a tiny bit of oil in a skillet and heat until hot. Lay the tortilla down for about one minute until it puffs. Using tongs, turn it over and cook the other side. Remove on plate lined with paper towel until ready to assemble your taco.
Layer two tortilla shells on top of one another and fill the plate. Place the marinated meat on top and layer chopped onion and cilantro on top of the meat until all tortillas are filled. squeeze your limes over the top excessively and serve with salsa verde and ranchero sauce. After you taste these, you’ll know why I said “40 tortillas”!
Enjoy along side your favorite vineyard!