Spicy pork soft tacos with chilli and tomato salsa, guacamole... the works!


Soft tacos are much smaller than tortillas, about the size of a side plate, and have a slightly firmer texture. They're not something you get a lot of in the UK though Londoners may be a little more familiar as there are a number of great street-food vendors doing interesting Tacos (I also had some good ones in Wahaca recently) at the likes of Street Feast, KERB and Model Market etc.

The two or three bite size of Tacos makes them great group eating, just load up the table with meat, salsa, guacamole, beans, soured cream - whatever you fancy really - and let people help themselves.

The recipe here is for a winning combination of smokey, spicy chipotle marinaded cubes of pork, soft and savoury fried beans and a fresh, vibrant salsa of cherry tomatoes, red onion, garlic, fresh chillies, coriander and lime juice.This time around I made some deliciously mushy 'refried'  beans (a mistranslation of 'refrito' which actually just means fried, not refried) but lightly fried black beans with a bit of garlic and chill work well too and look a bit fancier.

The whole point of tacos is to try different combinations though so if I was cooking for a dinner party I'd have two or three types - perhaps flour dusted, pan fired pieces of white fish, some smoked chicken, spicy pork, slow-braised beef shin... the options are endless really.

As a side note, I picked up my Tacos and Chipotle paste from M&S who have some really interesting Mexican stuff in as part of their summer range. Well worth a look.


Ingredients (serves 3-4)

For the pork:

500g pork, 1 cm dice (I used pork fillet but other cuts will work)
1 Tbsp olive oil (or other oil)
2 Tsp Chipotle chilli paste
2 Tsp cumin seeds
Juice half a lime
1 Tsp hot smoked paprika
1 Tsp paprika 
1 Tsp light brown sugar
1 Tsp dried chilli flakes
1 Tsp seasalt
1 Tsp freshly ground black pepper 

For the tomato salsa:

1 pack cherry tomatoes (approx 400g) 
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 Clove garlic, crushed to a paste
1-2 hot red chillies
Handful fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
1 Tsp sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

For the refried beans:

1 tin pinto beans, drained
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
2 Tsp pork lard (or bacon fat)
1/2 Tsp ground cumin
1 Clove garlic, crushed to a paste

To serve:

Soft tacos (allow 2-3 per person)
Guacamole (make your own or buy good ready made, chunky guacamole, I got mine from M&S)
Sour cream


 Method

Start by mixing all  of the pork marinade ingredients together, combining well, before adding the pork and stirring well until all thre meat is coated. As the cubes are small you don't need to marinade overnight (though it won't hurt), a few hours or even 30 mins will work just fine.

Next make the refried beans by browning the red onion in the pork lad before adding the garlic, cumin and beans and cooking over a medium heat until the beans start to become very soft. Feel free to give them a mash and add a few drips of water to help them become a soft paste. Season well with pepper and add salt as necessary (tinned beans are in brine so taste before adding salt). Once add a consistency you like, cover with a lid and set aside on a very low heat just to keep warm.

Next make your tomato salsa by chopping everything as outlined above and combining together. Save the lime juice until last and squeeze in qaurter by quarter. Depending on your tastes and the acidity of the lime you may need half a lime, three quarters, or the whole lot. Keep tasting and adding is you see fit.

Now make sure your tacos arent stuck together before wrapping them up together in a tinfoil parcel and putting in the oven at 180*C to warm through.

While they're warming fry your pork over a very high heat for about 10 minutes until nicely charred and slightly sticky. Check the seasoning and add more if necessary.

To serve




Forget about the washing up for now and load everything into seperate bowls and layout in the centre of the table along with guacamole, sour cream and plenty of spoons. You may also want a little bowl of chopped coriander, lime wedges and sliced chillies or jalapenos for those who want to add a little extra spice to their tacos.



I also roasted some sweetcorn and sweet potato wedges, which had been dusted with sweet smoked paprika and salt and pepper, to serve alongside the tacos, but honestly a big bowl of nachos would work just as well.

In terms of beer it's hard to reccomend anything other than a simple, well made lager, perhaps something such as Coniston Brewing Co Thurstein Pilsner, BrewDog This.Is.Lager, or Tiny Rebel Bo'Ho  - although if you're feeling a little braver then Magic Rock Brewing Co's excellent Salty Kiss (a Gooseberry infused, salty Gose) is pretty on-the-money too.

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