Conchinita Pibil Tacos
Spicy and citrusy, this south-of-the-border dish boasts fork-tender pieces of pork and zippy pickled onions that also make a great garnish on bean soup or a burger topping. Find achiote paste at a Latin grocery or online. This recipe makes 10-12 tacos.
PREP TIME: 10 minutes
COOK TIME: 4 hours 0 minutes
For the pickled onions:
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1 star anise
Dash red pepper flakes
For the taco filling:
3-4 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 2" pieces
1 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed if possible
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon salt
3 ounces red achiote paste, available in Latin markets
1 jalapeño or habanero, minced (wear disposable plastic gloves when handling the pepper)
10-12 8" flour or corn tortillas
Make the pickled onions: Pack onion slices into a large glass jar. Add vinegar, sugar and spices to a small nonreactive saucepan. Simmer over medium until the sugar just dissolves; make sure not to boil the mixture or you will burn the sugar. Pour hot mixture over the onions and let stand, uncovered for about 5 minutes. Cover the jar and let stand a room temperature for at lest 2 hours before using.
Add the pork pieces to a large nonreactive bowl. Blend achiote paste, citrus juices, salt and chili pepper and add to the pork; toss to combine. Store, refrigerated for at least 6 hours and up to one day.
Preheat your oven to 325 F. Line a 9" x 13" baking dish with heavy-duty foil. Add the pork pieces to the dish; cover with another sheet of foil. Crimp the edges of the top and bottom foil to make a pouch; you want a tight seal so no moisture escapes while the pork is cooking. Cook pork for 4 hours. Remove from oven, cut a slit in the foil and let stand for 15 minutes or until the pork is cool enough to handle. Shred the pork with two forks.
To assemble the tacos, warm the tortillas in a pan or for a few seconds in the microwave. Add a scoop of pork to each tortilla shell, top with pickled onions, fold and serve immediately.