8 September 2011

Pork tacos with orange and chilli

There are some recipes you see, whether in the weekend papers or on food blogs, that strike an immediate chord. You know if you cook it you're gonna love it. Standard. Since my favourite type of food is probably tough bits of meat cooked to tenderness and wonderment in soups, stews and casseroles Food Stories' pork cheeks with orange and smoky chilli was always destined to do it for me. I've only just got around to making my own version and confirm it's bloody tasty.

I couldn't get my hands on any cheeks, so to speak, so I made do with some pork shoulder. Likewise, I didn't have blood oranges, so I squeezed a few mandarins into the pot at the appropriate time. I also added garlic because... well, you don't have to justify garlic do you. A friend had given me a jam jar of mixed chillies from Mexico (thanks Jim) so I had the readies in that department at least. I have no idea what type they are but the one on the right had that characteristic tobacco-y smell some have.

  • one kilo of cubed pork shoulder
  • three carrots
  • two onions
  • four mandarins
  • three - five interesting, smoky chillies
  • five garlic cloves
  • one cinnamon stick, five cloves, two bay leaves,
  • sugar, oregano
  • a pinch of stock

Brown the meat.

Soak the chillies in boiling water.

Then fry the carrot and onion in some oil for ten minutes, adding garlic along the way. Add the refreshed chillies, chopped up a bit. Add the meat. Add the oregano, spices and squeeze in the mandarins. Add some water and pinches of stock (big) and sugar (small).

Cook for three hours. Keep tasting and adjust flavouring if necessary. I found that my chillies were not very hot so I stirred in a spoon of Encona hot sauce. It's a good short-cut and doesn't dominate if used judiciously.

I also lifted the idea of the red onions defanged by lime juice. They are the business. Raw onion is one of the very few things I don't like, although some people seem to to add to meat and salads with reckless gusto, and apparently enjoy it. Slice your red onion as thin as possible and squeeze loads of lime over. Stir over an hour with a pinch of sugar and you're sorted. The wonderful freshness and crunch without the horrible harsh linger.

Also a simple raw salsa of cherry tomatoes, coriander, green chilli and a little vinegar, a vegetarian concoction with fresh corn and some refried pinto beans. Bread-wise I went off-piste with some big Lebanese flat-breads because I was getting all my veg in a Turkish shop and didn't fancy the tortilla traipse that tradition impels.

The pork by this point had shredded down a bit into strands, the vegetables had mingled and dissolved with all the spices to form a highly savoury matrix for the meat and the mandarins gave a welcome sweet note. Next time I'll add more chillies, but all in all an easy and very tasty main dish and a wicked dinner.

We enjoyed the food with margaritas and micheladas. I had not tried the latter before and must say they are excellent.

Thanks for the recipe Helen!


  1. Excellent work! You did the recipe proud.

  2. That sounds like a great supper!

  3. Great! Was it chipolte chillies? Love the combo of orange and pork

  4. I'm not sure of the exact type - in the pic at the top if you have any ideas...