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Tacos al pastor

Tacos al pastor
  • Main
  • easy
  • Makes 20 tacos
  • 40 minutes, plus overnight marinating time

PT40M

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Pastor is the definitive Mexico City taco. This technique of grilling layered, marinated meat on a vertical spit was introduced to Mexico by immigrating Lebanese textile workers in the 1950s, in the form of lamb shawarma. Soon enough, Mexicans replaced the scarcely available lamb with marinated pork and taco al pastor was born.

This recipe makes a little more marinade than you need, but it will last up to a week in the fridge and is fantastic on chicken, fish or even potatoes.

Ingredients

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Method

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1
To prepare the marinade, remove the stems from the chillies and tear each chilli open. Shake out and discard the seeds, then tear the chillies into small pieces and set aside
2
Place a frying pan over a medium heat and add the cinnamon, clove, peppercorns, oregano and cumin seeds. Toast for 15 seconds until fragrant, then transfer to a spice grinder or pestle and mortar and grind to a fine powder
3
In the same pan, toast the torn chillies for 30 seconds until they start to smoke. Transfer to a bowl, cover with hot water and leave to soak for 20 minutes until soft and pliable
4
Add the unpeeled garlic cloves to the pan and toast until they begin to char and have softened slightly (about 8 minutes). Remove from the heat and leave until cool enough to handle, then peel and discard the skins
5
Drain the chillies and place them in a blender with the ground spices, garlic cloves, vinegar, achiote and orange juice. Blitz to a puree, then massage the mixture into the pork steaks. Cover and leave in the fridge overnight to marinate
6
The next day, light a barbecue and wait for the coals to turn white
7
To make the salsa, place all the ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth. Set aside until ready to serve
8
Grill the pork steaks until almost blackened on one side, then flip – you want the meat to be very charred. After 3–5 minutes the pork will be cooked and you can set it aside to rest
9
Meanwhile, warm the tortillas in a dry pan until soft and place inside a damp tea towel to keep warm
10
To serve, slice the pork steaks against the grain into small pieces, then place in a bowl and pour over any resting juices. Assemble the tacos by placing a large spoonful of meat in a tortilla, followed by a dollop of salsa, a sliver of pineapple and the onion and coriander. Squeeze over a little lime juice and enjoy
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