As the New York Times recently pointed out, Austin is the center of the universe when it comes to breakfast tacos. Trailers, bodegas and restaurants all over town serve up cheap, delicious tacos containing everything from purple corn, nopales and avocado to black beans, fried potatoes and bacon. As amazing as the local fare is, though, its still tough to beat what you can make to your own taste at home, using fresh, local ingredients.
This 5-minute creation consists of local, pastured eggs, queso Añejo, crumbled chorizo with jalapeños, onions and grape tomatoes, fresh cilantro and hot sauce on a freshly-made cayenne tortilla. Yum!
Smoky pulled pork, pickled red onions, avocado and crumbled goat cheese on roasted jalapeño tortillas..
Pork Tinga Tacos (Tacos de Tinga Poblana)
For the Pickled Onions(adapted from a recipe by David Lebovitz)
3/4 cup organic white vinegar
3 tablespoons rapadura
pinch of sea salt
1 bay leaf
5 allspice berries
5 whole cloves
a small, dried chile pepper
1 star aniseseed
1 clove garlic, bruised
1 large red onion, peeled, and thinly sliced into rings
Bring all ingredients except onions to a boil in a non-reactive saucepan. Reduce heat and add the onions. Simmer 30 seconds, stirring continuously. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature before transferring to the refrigerator for up to 3 months. Pickled onions may be eaten the day they are made, but taste best after 3 days in the refrigerator.
For the Tinga Poblana (adapted from a recipe by Rick Bayless)
2/3 pound pulled pork (I’ve used yesterday’s leftover Cuban pork)
1 red potato, cut into 1/4″ dice
1 Roma tomato, cut into 1/4″ dice
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 tablespoon leaf lard or pastured butter
1 cup chicken stock
1-2 chipotle chiles en adobo, chopped, plus 1-2 tablespoons sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon smoked chile powder (optional)
Sauté diced potatoes and cumin seed in a tablespoon of leaf lard until soft but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, chipotle en adobo and oregano and cook until tomatoes have released all their water, about 5 minutes.
Add pork, chicken stock, chile powder and Worcestershire, cover and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chicken stock as necessary to keep the pork from drying out. Season to taste with sea salt.
To serve, place pork mixture in the center of a tortilla (steamed corn or freshly griddled flour tortillas) and dress with pickled red onions. Add slices of fresh avocado, crumbled goat cheese and chopped cilantro.
Pork Belly, Black Bean and Roasted Sweet Potato Tacos
(click image to enlarge)
Makes about 4 large tacos
1/4 pound pork belly, cut into large dice
1 poblano pepper, cut into strips
1 aji mirasol or New Mexico dried chile, seeded and chopped
1 cup cooked black beans
1 large tomatillo, diced
1/4 cup bean cooking water
1 cup sweet potatoes, cut into cubes
1/2 small yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon rendered fat, if needed
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon epazote
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
freshly-made flour tortillas
sea salt and cracked pepper
Brown pork belly in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add additional rendered fat if needed, then add diced sweet potatoes, cumin and dried chiles and cook until browned on all sides.
Add onions, poblano peppers and garlic and cook until onions begin to brown.
Add tomatillos, oregano, epazote and just enough reserved bean cooking water to keep everything moist. Toss in the cilantro, season to taste with salt & pepper and give it one last stir before loading onto fresh tortillas straight off the comal.
I like to serve these tacos with lots of jalapeño Tabasco and Cholula hot sauce on the side.
Time was when I’d come home at the end of the work week and just pull out a frozen pizza or microwave dinner and plop down in front of the TV.
Not anymore. Even when I don’t much feel like cooking or fiddling around with the camera or the blog (i.e., tonight), a simple, comforting meal is within reach because I only keep fresh, whole foods on hand. The TV? Gave it away years ago.
Roasted Tomatillo Salsa..
Salsa de Tomate Verde Asado
Husk, rinse and halve fresh tomatillos. Place cut side down in a heavy skillet along with a few cloves of garlic, a jalapeño and a poblano chile. Brown well on both sides.
Seal the peppers inside a paper bag and allow the steam 15 minutes. Peel away most of the skin (leaving a few charred bits), split and remove stems and seeds.
Transfer peppers to the bowl of a food processor along with tomatillos, garlic and a handful of cilantro. Moisten with 1/4 cup or so of filtered water and pulse into a coarse puree.
Stir minced onion into the salsa and season to taste with sea salt and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
Leftover salsa will keep 2-3 days in the fridge.
Bacon & Eggs
Fry uncured streaky bacon or pork belly with yellow onions until the onions are brown and the bacon is crisp.
Pour off all but a teaspoon of fat, then crack eggs directly into the pan and allow to set for just a moment.
Spoon roasted tomatillo salsa over the eggs and toss in some chopped cilantro. Stir and scramble to your preferred degree of doneness and serve with frijoles and fresh tortillas.