Top Tortilla Tactics
To satisfy big appetites with ease, set out a feast of slow-cooked pork, tortillas and all the fixings, says Roberto Santibañez, author of Tacos, Tortas, and Tamales (R221, kalahari.com).
For an authentic taco feast, serve soft corn tortillas. For maximum flavour and best texture, heat them on the stove, says Santibañez. Cook each tortilla in a dry frying pan over high heat (or directly over a gas flame) until you see a few brown spots – at least 30 to 45 seconds per side. Fold them into a clean dishcloth to keep them warm until you’re ready to serve them.
5 Tbsp Spice Mix (try chilli con carne spice mix, R10 Woolworths)
5 Tbsp white vinegar
¼ cup fresh orange juice
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
5 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 Tbsp maldon salt, plus more to taste
1 bone-in pork shoulder (2kg), trimmed
1. Preheat the oven to 150°C. In a blender, purée the spice mix, vinegar, citrus juices, garlic, salt and 1 cup of water until very smooth.
2. Place the pork in a baking dish. Rub the blended mixture onto the pork to coat it well. Tightly cover the dish with foil or a tight-fitting lid.
3. Bake the pork until tender enough that the meat pulls away easily with tongs, 3½ to 4½ hours. If there’s a lot of liquid left in the pot after 4 hours, remove the lid and continue to cook until some of it has evaporated. Season the pork with salt to taste. (The pork will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.)
Serves 6 to 8
THE TOPPINGS BAR
You could shower your pork tacos with chopped onions and cilantro. But this trio makes a bigger impact
Pickle Your Onions
This bright, sour garnish provides a tangy contrast. In a bowl, toss a thinly sliced red onion with a big pinch of oregano, ¾ tsp Maldon salt and a dash of black pepper. Top with ¼ cup white vinegar and juice of 2 limes. Transfer them to a jar and chill overnight, shaking them once or twice.
Mash Some Beans
Rich beans make a great foundation for tacos. In a medium pot, lightly brown a finely chopped onion in olive oil. Add 2 cans of kidney beans (with liquid), 2 minced garlic cloves, and a big pinch of ground cayenne. Simmer 15 minutes or so, mashing to make a rough puree. Season with salt.
Blitz a salsa
Need a spicy, tart salsa? Make one in seconds. Husk and rinse 6 gooseberries and cut them into pieces. Add to a blender with 2 seeded jalapeños, a small clove of garlic, and a few sprigs of cilantro. Blend to make a coarse puree, and then season with salt.