Taco Pork
Photo: Ditte Isager
Tortillas dorado are toasted, cheese-topped tortillas. California chili and achiote paste are available at Latin markets or amazon.com (or substitute 2 Tbsp. smoked paprika for the chili and 1 Tbsp. turmeric for the achiote).
Makes: 12 tacos (6 servings)

Ingredients


Meat:
  • 1¼ pounds pork tenderloin
  • 2 Tbsp. ground ancho chili
  • 2 Tbsp. ground California or guajillo chili
  • 2 Tbsp. achiote paste
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced to a paste
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp. white vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, plus more for cooking
To serve:
  • 12 (6") corn tortillas
  • Vegetable oil
  • 2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Oaxaca or Monterey Jack cheese
  • ½ cup diced fresh pineapple
  • ½ cup diced red onion
  • Handful of cilantro sprigs

Directions

Total time: 50 minutes

Trim any tendon or silver skin from the pork and cut meat into 12 equal pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time, place meat between 2 sheets plastic wrap. With a meat pounder or frying pan, pound meat to a thin, even slice, about ⅛" thick and 4" across.

Combine ancho chili, California (or guajillo) chili, achiote paste, garlic, cumin, salt, vinegar, and 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil in a small bowl and whisk well with a fork. Spread about 1 tsp. of sauce on each side of pork slices.

Prepare tortillas dorado: Preheat oven to warm and heat a frying pan (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat. Brush 1 side of a tortilla lightly with oil and place oil side down in pan. Scatter a generous spoonful of cheese over the center of the tortilla and cook until cheese is melted and tortilla is lightly golden on the underside but still flexible. Place on a cookie sheet in warmed oven and repeat with remaining tortillas and cheese. When finished, lightly oil a piece of foil and use it to cover tortillas.

To cook meat: Heat a skillet over high heat until very hot and coat with a thin layer of oil. Place a few slices of meat in the pan, making sure not to crowd. Cook pork 1 minute without moving it, allowing sauce to turn dark and even blacken in spots, then flip and let cook for an additional minute. Place cooked meat on a plate and repeat with remaining slices.

To serve: Place pork on prepared tortillas and top with pineapple, red onion, and cilantro.

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