This Taco Tuesday, get a group together!
This recipe for mouthwatering pork carnitas tacos serves 10, two tacos each, and is so packed with authentic flavor, you’ll have everyone begging for more.
Complemented by a Mango, Tomatilla and Chipotle Salsa made with mangos, white onion, adobo chipotles and ripe tomatillos, these tacos are a win.
Recipe and image courtesy of the National Mango Board.
For the Pork Carnitas
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 1 lb. pork shoulder
- 1 lb. pork top loin
- 1 lb. pork rib, boneless
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 each whole banana leaf
- 2 Mexican bay leaves
- 6 berries allspice
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 medium white onion, thin sliced
- 1/3 cup rendered pork lard
- 20 corn tortillas (4 1/2-inches)
- 1 cup cilantro, chopped
- 20 fresh lime wedges
For the Mango, Tomatillo and Chipotle Salsa
- 12 medium ripe tomatillos
- 1 mango, sliced into cubes
- 2/3 medium white onion, cut into 1-inch rings
- 1/2 cup chipotles in adobo, drain and reserve adobo sauce
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
Pork Carnitas Tacos:
- 1 Peel the garlic cloves and grind well in a food processor, while slowly adding the water. Reserve.
- 2 Rinse the meat and pat dry with paper towels.
- 3 Place the meat in a large dish.
- 4 Cover the meat with the pureed garlic mixture using a basting brush, then sprinkle with sea salt.
- 5 Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
- 6 Remove meat from the marinade.
- 7 Heat the oil in a heavy bottom pan, Dutch oven, or directly in the pressure cooker over medium high heat.
- 8 Sear all the pieces of meat in the oil until brown on all sides (the meat will look thoroughly cooked and will start to smell good). Using tongs, remove the meat from the pan and set aside on a tray that will catch any drippings.
- 9 When all the meat is browned, let it rest for at about 15 minutes on the tray.
- 10 Add all the meat drippings to the pot, along with the Mexican bay leaves, the allspice and the 2 cups of water.
- 11 Cut the long banana leaf in two shorter sections, placing the two sections – dull side down and shiny side on top – to make a cross. Wrap the meat with the crossed banana leaves, then place into the pressure cooker.
- 12 Place the meat in the pressure cooker for 45 minutes, starting to time it when the pot begins to hiss, or when the pressure has reached optimal level.
- 13 Meanwhile, using a large fry pan, melt the lard over medium-high heat and add the sliced white onion. Sauté until the onion until it darkens on the thinner parts.
- 14 Take the meat out of the pressure cooker, drain well and add into the lard and onion mixture. Reduce the heat to medium.
- 15 Allow the meat to caramelize, turning occasionally. Continue to heat on the stove until it darkens on all sides and begins to fall apart.
Mango, Tomatillo, and Chipotle Salsa:
- 1 Remove the paper-like husk from the tomatillo, wipe them if necessary with a moist kitchen towel and put them whole on a very hot griddle or comal. (Granny says that when you remove the outer husk of the tomatillos, you shouldn’t even rinse them “it’ll make them lose their flavor”… so make sure you don’t.) Turn them occasionally.
- 2 Put the onion slices on the griddle, turn and allow to char on both sides.
- 3 As soon as the tomatillos are evenly browned, take half of them off the griddle and place them on a tray to cool down. These shouldn’t be over cooked, as we want them to retain their form. Allow the other half of the tomatillos to completely char.
- 4 Remove any dark or burnt spots form the tomatillos that came off the griddle first then cut them in thin wedges or slices.
- 5 When the second batch of tomatillos on the griddle start bubbling, take them off. Remove any burnt or dark skin then place them in a molcajete.
- 6 Using the pestle, grind them to a chunky but homogeneous sauce.
- 7 Cut the mango cheeks off the mango, mark squares with a knife in each cheek and proceed to scoop the mango cubes out of the skin using a kitchen spoon. Add the mango to the molcajete and set aside.
- 8 Remove the charred onion from the griddle, cut and discard any dark char then slice onions thinly. Add to the molcajete.
- 9 Chop the chipotles and add them to the molcajete. Alternatively, you can also add them whole. Add some of the adobo sauce of the chipotle, too.
- 10 Finally, add the sliced tomatillos and sea salt; mix to combine.
- 1 Serve immediately with warm tortillas, chopped cilantro, slice of lime and Mango, Tomatillo and Chipotle Salsa.