Apr 18, 2010

He's Just Not That Into Mexican. I Paraphrase Soft Rock Artists.

I'll be honest and say that I wear the pants in the food department at SSG Manor.  I plan the meals, select the ingredients, research places to eat out and make the bookings.  Mr SSG almost always goes along with my precise planning.  Except when it comes to two food groups - Bread Top (and its variations) and Mexican.

For months, I've been badgering Mr SSG to come with me to some of the popular Mexican eateries in Sydney.  I'd cruise the aisles of the supermarket debating whether or not to slip in an Old El Paso Taco kit.  We have eaten chicken fajitas once.  At the tail end of the Christmas New Year break in 2009.  We've eaten tacos once.  In New York City, at the suggestion of a dear friend.

Though Mr SSG loves most foods, he's just never been that into Mexican food.  He's never been too specific about the reasons why. 

All of which, as you now all well know, is but a segue into the real story today.

I present Pulled Pork Tacos with Salsa Roja.  I had several secret weapons to make Mr SSG turn.  It's a Donna Hay recipe, it featured slow cooked meat and part of the cooking process would see me use up one of his dead bottles of wine.  The dice were loaded from the start, to paraphrase Dire Straits.  Just because.  I've titled the post in a paraphrase of one of my favourite Jennifer Aniston films (I'm team Aniston, for the record).

This recipe came from Donna Hay magazine's mexican food special in the Feb/Mar 2010 issue.  If you haven't tried it - do it.  Simple, very tasty and somewhat healthy - if you can stop at one!

Preparation starts the night before.  You need 850g of boned pork shoulder.  I just found a rolled pork shoulder from Coles.  They come deboned and trussed up in a easy to roast shape.  Hence the name rolled, I suppose.  My neurones, firing on all cylinders synapses tonight.



I placed the pork shoulder in a largeish baking dish and then added the marinade.  Vegetable oil, a chopped brown onion, smoked paprika, crushed garlic and the first of the improvisations.  I used malt and white wine vinegars instead of cider.  I then discovered I had no dried oregano, so I went with some bolognaise herb mix and some thyme.  Mix it all about and bathe the shoulder in it, as Nigella would advise.  Season with salt and pepper.



Cover with glad wrap and leave in the fridge.  I think overnight is best, the recipe suggests at least 6 hours.  Then, go off and have a lovely Friday night doing not much at all followed by a Saturday of high adventure. 

Return 4 hours before you want dinner.  Don't worry, you will not be slaving for the 4 hours.  Place 2 cups of water in with the pork.  Cover with foil and bake at 160C for 4 hours, or until the pork just pulls apart with a fork.  My shoulder was arouns 1kg and took 4 hours.

 

Time to get cracking with the salsa roja.  It was meant to be a brown onion with a clove of crushed garlic browning in the olive oil.



Which is the only reason I've got the onion powder out.  Aren't red onions, less "onion-y"?  Add a can of crushed tomatoes, red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and seasoning.  Allow to simmer and thicken, 5 -6 minutes.

Tacos are messy to eat and assemble.  So I've taken the liberty of photographing the main cast before they get together in taco-tastic union.

Mixed lettuce, spring onions and the salsa.




My pulled pork.  The recipe was meant to serve 8.  After dinner, we had enough pork left for 1 taco.  Gulp.  It was lean meat though, I discarded all the fat before serving.




Short cuts were made at this point.  To paraphrase Meatloaf, 2 out of 3 ain't bad.  Pulled pork from scratch. Tick.  Home made salsa roja.  Check.  1 quantity of cornmeal or flour tortillas (recipe page 118).  Absent.  There is only so much 'made from scratch' I can manage, even on a lazy Saturday night.



I used large tortillas from the supermarket.  Top with mozzarella, just a little and heat under the grill.  You just need the cheese to melt a little.


Nearly there.  Top the tortilla with pork, salsa, spring onions and lettuce leaves.  Fold any way that you can and eat with your hands, and a squeeze of fresh lime.


Apologies for the lack lustre final photo.  Tacos are tricky to photograph, even with a fork weighing down the folds.  My trick is to start with a small amount of filling and fold the tortilla into a pocket. Then, just add what you need as you eat.  It's messy, it's not polite but it tastes so good this way.

Mr SSG was very quiet through dinner.  And it wasn't the AFL on TV.  I've never seen him enjoy a meal quite as much as this.

I think I've won him over.  He's crossed the border.

4 comments:

  1. Hi SSG,

    Just wanted to say I love your blog been stalking you, I mean reading, for a couple of weeks now and always look forward to a new post.

    I just started blogging but I'm too chicken to post my link.

    Connie

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello Connie,
    Thank you for your kind message and for reading all this time :-)

    When you feel ready, do send me a link.

    Take care and enjoy the day.

    SSG xxx

    ReplyDelete
  3. Looks fantastic L!
    Although I'm not a pork eater, but I have had pulled pork BBQ-style, in Memphis. You know, that whole "when in Rome" thing.

    At least I know one other person now who understands what pulled pork is.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I went to the shops today to specifically buy the stuff to make this! Will pop it in the oven over the long weekend.

    ReplyDelete

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