Tag Archives: salsa

Recipe: Carnitas (Pork) Tacos

31 Aug

In Canada, some people might mistake these for tacos…

However, they are wrong.

In Mexico, the Southwestern US and restaurants who are savvy, you can get real tacos. The meats are traditionally grilled or slow cooked, the salsa and other toppings are really fresh and so are the tortillas. And when you’ve had a real one, you don’t ever want to go back to the kind made with ground beef and a packet of spice.

So how do you get real tacos if you don’t happen to live near a purveyor of such delicious things? Well, you have to make your own and really it’s not that hard.

I like to make pork tacos which are known as carnitas. I also make my own tortillas and salsa. And I know what you’re thinking, “Wow, that sounds really hard.” Trust me, if it was, I wouldn’t do it. I’m too lazy for that!

Putting all three recipes in one blog post would be a bit extreme, so check out my recipes for corn tortillas and salsa on different pages.

Carnitas (Pork) Tacos

1 large pork shoulder roast (sometimes called pork butt), cut into 2″ cubes
salt & pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 small onion, peeled & halved
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano**
juice of 1 lime plus 1 whole lime, halved seeds removed and juiced
2 cups of water
1 teaspoon

Throw everything into a heavy bottomed pot and simmer on low until tender (about 2 hours).

When ready to serve, add some pork and a generous ladle of drippings to a frying pan to crisp/caramelize the meat slightly.

This will make enough pork to feed a huge crowd but it freezes really well for future enjoyment. Just make sure to add some of the drippings to each dish of pork you’re saving.

Enjoy in fresh tortillas, with fresh salsa, lettuce, sour cream, cheese and a squeeze of fresh lime.

** You can use regular oregano but the Mexican kind has a slightly different flavour profile. I get mine at La Tiendita, a latin grocery store on Merivale Rd. near Carling. The entrance is actually in La Cabana restaurant. You can also buy fresh tortillas here if you want to wuss out on making your own.

Recipe: Salsa Fresca

31 Aug

Mr. Bacon has been planting a garden for the past couple of years. It’s fantastic because it does cut down on the amount of produce we need to buy at the store. The downside is trying to figure out what to do with all of the bounty before it goes bad. If you’re like us and have a whack of roma, cherry or grape tomatoes to use up, you need to test this recipe out. I will swear on a pound of bacon that it’s better than Lone Star’s and theirs is damn good.

Salsa Fresca

3 cups of grape, cherry or roma tomatoes (if you’re using roma, take out the cores and cut into three pieces)
1 small white onion, peeled and quartered
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
1/4 cup cilantro
1/2 lime
kosher salt to taste

In a food processor, add the onion and the diced jalapeno and whizz until the onion is at a fine dice stage. Toss in the cilantro (I just rip a handful off the bunch) and throw the tomatoes in on top. Pulse until you get the desired consistency but beware of over blending – you don’t want gazpacho.

Transfer the mixture into a bowl and squeeze in the lime. Salt liberally and stir. Let the salsa sit about 15 minutes for the flavour to marry.


Recipe: Cheesy Taco Pasta

29 Jul

Mr. Bacon is decidedly against two types of foods: casseroles and Mexican flavours on pasta. I’m a decidedly huge fan of both of these things. I used to make these kinds of dishes only when he was away from home but sometimes, you just have a craving for some comfort food that needs to be satisfied immediately!

For this very reason, and also because 90% of grocery store frozen meals are gross, I make up these kinds of dishes and portion them out into glass dishes to take for lunches.

This is one of my favourite things to make. It’s simple but packs a lot of flavour and reheats really nicely. It’s also a thousand times better than the ‘Beef-Type-Substance Helper’ version. It’s equally good fresh from the oven on a weeknight if your family is willing to help you eat it!

Cheesy Taco Pasta

1/2 large bag of Scoobi-doo or rotini pasta
1 pound ground beef
1 taco seasoning packet
1 1/2 cups salsa
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sour cream
3 cups shredded marble cheese

Start the water boiling for the pasta. Then in a separate large pot start browning the ground beef. When it’s done, add the taco seasoning, water, sour cream and salsa. Stir and let simmer while the pasta cooks. (Remember to salt the water well!) When the pasta is done, drain and then add to the sauce mixture. Let cook for another 3 minutes, stirring while the sauce is absorbed. Remove from heat and add 1 cup of the shredded cheese to the mixture. Stir.

If you’re eating it immediately, or want a family sized version in the freezer, place the pasta and meat mixture into a large baking dish. If not, portion it out into 4 or 5 microwavable containers. Top both versions with the remaining cheese. If you’re eating it immediately throw it under the boiler for a few minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. The other version will be ready after a 5 minute stint on high in the microwave.

MMM. It’s like a spicy hug.