KITCHEN BITCH: Grilled Pork Tacos

kitchen-bitch2.thumbnail.jpgBY MAVIS LINNEMANN There are meals you can make from just what’s in your pantry, and there are meals you have to stock your pantry to make. Unless you frequently make authentic Mexican dinners, this meal is one you’ll have to plan for. But I solemnly swear this Mexican fiesta is worth the ingredient hunt. In fact, instead of “tacos al pastor,” I think this recipe should be called “the best ever grilled pork tacos.” While finding some of the ingredients in this dish might be a pain, actually putting it all together is fairly easy. Chunks of marbled pork shoulder are marinated overnight in a reconstituted dried chile sauce and then grilled with pineapples and onions. The smoky grilled meat and veggies are piled into tortillas and then topped with crema suprema, diced red onion, spicy salsa and cilantro—a truly authentic Mexican treat. Guajillo and ancho peppers are the backbone of the al pastor marinade, and you can find them in many grocery stores, Latino markets, specialty shops and online. Here’s what The Spice House has to say about the two peppers: “Along with anchos, [guajillos are] the most commonly used chiles in Mexico. What the anchos are to ‘deep’ and ‘rich’, guajillos are to ‘spicy’ and ‘dynamic’… a puree of toasted, rehydrated guajillo sings with a chorus of bright flavors that combine spiciness, tanginess (like cranberry), a slight smokiness and the warm flavor of a ripe, juicy, sweet tomato; the flavors go on and on.” That description alone should tell you that this is a marinade that will make your taste buds sing. The only other hard-to-find ingredient on this list is the annatto seed, also known as anchiote. Used mostly in Mexican and South American cooking, this seed lends a deep, bright color to the marinade. It’s got a peppery flavor with a sweet undertone. If you can’t find annatto seeds, substitute paprika or turmeric or a combination of both. Either way, “These are amazing!” will be the first thing you’ll hear after your dinner guests take that first bite. MORE

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