Friday, April 24, 2009

Sweet Pork Tacos

Last year, a good friend made dinner for me at her house. We would get together every week at each other's houses and have dinner together. I am so, so glad that she introduced me to this recipe! I absolutely love it, and have passed it on to many people. I have made it quite a bit in the past year, and have made some changes to the original recipe to suit our tastes, but the recipe really didn't need much changing. There are many "Sweet Pork Salad" or "Sweet Pork Taco" recipes floating around the internet, but this is the way I prefer to make it. (Although I haven't tried any other recipes for this... I don't need to!)

This recipe is pretty easy because it starts out in the crockpot- I love that! You cook a boneless pork roast (or a couple of boneless, skinless chicken breasts) in water until tender, then drain the water, and add a brown-sugar sweetened tomato sauce. The Mexican brand "El Pato" is recommended, but for those of us that can't get that (I can't anymore!) you can improvise your own. When I last made it, I used regular tomato sauce, and added chili powder, garlic, and a little cumin. Jalepenos would be good, as well, to spice it up a little.

You use the meat as a base of a taco and add cheese and lettuce, and then top it off with a wonderful, so-yummy-I-could-drink-it-straight dressing. It's a Cilantro-Lime Ranch. The original recipe called for tomatillos, but I can't find any on my island, so I looked for Salsa Verde to use as a sub. I couldn't find that either, but I did find "recaito", a Puerto Rican flavoring. It contains cilantro and green bell peppers, so it added the bit of green color I wanted. In my recipe below, I've left in the tomatillos, but feel free to use a few tablespoons of recaito in their place if you can't find tomatillos.

Sweet Pork Taco Meat

1 2-3 lb. pork roast (can sub. chicken breasts or thighs)
2 8 oz. cans of El Pato (Mexican tomato sauce, yellow can)
1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce, if needed
1/4- 1/2 cup brown sugar, depending on how sweet you want it
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced

1. Place meat in crockpot, and pour in just enough water to cover. Cook roast until tender- about 8 hours on low, or 4-5 hours on high. Meat will fall apart when done. Remove meat, and drain water. Place roast back in the crockpot, and shred with two forks. Season with salt (if needed) and pepper. Combine shredded pork with remaining ingredients (all of tomato sauce, sugar and garlic) and simmer for 1 hour.

Cilantro-Ranch Dressing

1 envelope dry ranch dressing mix
3/4 cup fresh cilantro (or more!)
2 small tomatillos (OR use a few Tbs. green salsa)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream (light works) or plain yogurt
a few pickled jalapenos
juice of 1/2 lime
dash cayenne pepper (optional)

1. Combine ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.

Additional Ingredients:
Corn or flour tortillas (I shamefully fry my flour tortillas in a bit of oil, but they're soooo, sooo good that way!)
Torn Romaine lettuce
Shredded cheddar cheese, optional
Mexican Rice (optional... I don't use this because I don't want it to get in the way!)
Beans (optional again, for same reason noted above)
Build your taco with a tortilla, a bunch of the meat, some cheese, romaine, and pour some Cilantro-Lime Dressing over all. Enjoy!


LadyJayPee said...

I'm really looking forward to making this, Dishy; thanks for posting it!

Linda said...

I have no excuse not to make these now--thanks for posting this! Your photos are just beautiful.

Pam said...

These tacos look amazing. I really want to try the cilantro ranch dressing.

I hate to say this but I think this post has been scraped. See my post today and check out the sites I listed - I am sure I saw these tacos on there. UGH - darn thieves!