Tacos Al Pastor

Tacos Al Pastor

Ingredients:

For the Marinade:
- 3 dried guajillo chilies, stemmed and seeded
- 3 dried ancho chilies, stemmed and seeded
- 1 small onion, roughly chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/2 cup pineapple juice
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

- 1 teaspoon Annatto seeds

- 1 Clove
- Salt and pepper to taste


For the Pork:
- 2 pounds thinly sliced pork shoulder or pork butt
- 1 cup pineapple, finely chopped
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced

For Serving:
- Corn tortillas
- Fresh cilantro, chopped
- White onion, finely chopped
- Pineapple, finely chopped
- Lime wedges

Motley Muse


Instructions:

1. **Prepare the Chilies:**
- Toast the dried chilies in a dry skillet over medium heat for about 1-2 minutes on each side until fragrant.
- Soak the toasted chilies in hot water for 15-20 minutes until softened.
- Drain the chilies and place them in a blender.

(The seeds in the marinade are what make this dish spicy. So if you don't want spice take out all of the seeds.)

2. **Make the Marinade:**
- Add chopped onion, garlic, pineapple juice, white vinegar, oregano, cumin, smoked paprika, cinnamon, salt, and pepper to the blender with the softened chilies.
- Blend until a smooth paste forms, adding a little water if necessary.

3. **Marinate the Pork:**
- Place thinly sliced pork in a large bowl or better a large ziploc bag.
- Coat the pork with the marinade, ensuring it's well-covered. Massage the meat by squeezing the outside of the bag. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

4. **Preheat the Oven and Skewer Pan:**
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Assemble a skewer pan by placing the skewer in the middle with the arms of the pan holding the meat and pineapple slices.

5. **Cook the Al Pastor:**
- Thread the marinated pork slices onto the skewer pan, alternating with slices of pineapple and onion.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour, turning the skewer occasionally, until the pork is cooked through and edges are slightly crispy.

6. **Assemble the Tacos:**
- Warm the corn tortillas on the oven rack or a separate pan for about 30 seconds on each side.
- Remove the cooked pork from the skewer pan and place it on the warm tortillas. Chop it into small pieces while on the skewer. (Use scissors or a extremely sharp knife.)
- Top with chopped cilantro, finely chopped white onion, and pineapple.

8. **Enjoy:**
- Serve the tacos al pastor immediately, accompanied by lime wedges on the side.

 

Enjoy the traditional goodness of this Mexican classic.

 

 

Tacos al pastor have a captivating history that reflects the dynamic fusion of cultures in Mexican cuisine. The dish's origins can be traced back to the mid-20th century when Lebanese immigrants arrived in Mexico, bringing with them the culinary tradition of shawarma, a method of vertically roasting meat.

The Lebanese influence on Mexican street food became evident as locals adapted the concept of spit-grilled meat to suit their preferences. Pork, more abundant and affordable in Mexico, replaced the traditional lamb or beef used in shawarma. The marination process evolved, incorporating Mexican spices such as achiote, guajillo chilies, and local herbs.

The vertical rotisserie became a staple in Mexican taquerías, where it acquired its iconic appearance. The name "al pastor," meaning "shepherd-style," reflects the connection to the Lebanese roots while also paying homage to the Mexican adaptation.

Over time, tacos al pastor became an integral part of Mexican street food culture, celebrated for their unique blend of flavors and the theatrical preparation method. This dish exemplifies the beauty of culinary cross-pollination, showcasing how immigrant influences can transform and enrich local cuisines. Today, tacos al pastor are not just a delicious street food item but a symbol of the cultural diversity that defines Mexican gastronomy.

 

 

**Tacos al Pastor Quiz**

1. **Origin and Influence:**
- Where did the influence for tacos al pastor come from?
a) Spain
b) Lebanon
c) Italy
d) Greece

2. **Meat Preparation:**
- Traditionally, what type of meat is used in tacos al pastor?
a) Lamb
b) Chicken
c) Pork
d) Beef

3. **Marinade Magic:**
- Which spice is commonly used in the marinade for tacos al pastor?
a) Basil
b) Achiote
c) Thyme
d) Cumin

4. **Cooking Technique:**
- What cooking method is traditionally used for tacos al pastor?
a) Grilling
b) Frying
c) Baking
d) Boiling

5. **Distinctive Appearance:**
- Tacos al pastor are often cooked on a vertical rotisserie. What is this apparatus called?
a) Parrilla
b) Trompo
c) Comal
d) Molcajete

6. **Accompaniments:**
- What classic toppings are commonly found on tacos al pastor?
a) Lettuce and tomato
b) Salsa and guacamole
c) Pineapple and cilantro
d) Sour cream and cheese

7. **Name Origin:**
- Why are they called "al pastor"?
a) Named after a famous chef
b) Reference to the shepherd-style vertical cooking method
c) Named after a Mexican town
d) In honor of a historical event

8. **Cultural Fusion:**
- Tacos al pastor are a prime example of:
a) French cuisine in Mexico
b) Indigenous Mexican cooking
c) Middle Eastern influence on Mexican cuisine
d) Asian culinary traditions in Mexico

9. **Street Food Tradition:**
- Where would you most likely find tacos al pastor being served?
a) Fine dining restaurants
b) Food trucks
c) Grocery stores
d) Home kitchens

10. **Popular Beverage Pairing:**
- What beverage is often enjoyed with tacos al pastor?
a) Wine
b) Tequila
c) Horchata
d) Lemonade

*Answers: 1-b, 2-c, 3-b, 4-a, 5-b, 6-c, 7-b, 8-c, 9-b, 10-c*

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