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Rich Pork Tacos with Pineapple Salsa

pork tacosPork tacos are one of my favorite things ever. There’s a taco truck in my neighborhood that I go to so often that when they bought a second truck they parked it across the street from my apartment. Once Elizabeth and I were debating the merits of the iPad and I was like, “For $700, I could get almost 300 pork tacos and I think over the long run, that’s the purchase that would make me happier.” What I’m trying to say here is, pork tacos are excellent.

And pairing pork with pineapple is even more excellent. It’s a classic combo, and there’s a reason things become classic combos–they’re delicious. These pork tacos have pineapple twice over. First the pork is marinated and braised in pineapple juice and then it’s served with pineapple salsa. The pineapple juice provides some sweetness, while cayenne and chili powder provide a little heat. The pineapple salsa is bright and contrasts well with the richness of the pork.

This dish takes some time to make because you want to marinate the pork overnight and then braise it until it is falling apart, so consider doing it as a make-ahead dish or on the weekend. Luckily, because so much of the work is done up front, when it’s close to time to serve, it’s not very hectic.

Pork Tacos with Pineapple Salsa

For the pork
1 1/2 lbs pork (choose a good braising cut like the shoulder), cut into 1 1/2″ chunks
2 cups pineapple juice
1 small red onion diced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon paprika
1 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 teaspoons salt (more if you like)

In a baking dish, combine the juice, onion, chili, powder, cayenne, paprika, and pork. Cover and marinate overnight.

Using tongs, remove the pork to a bowl. Heat a heavy bottomed pot on the stove over high heat with just a little bit of oil. When the oil is hot and starts to shimmer, add the pork and brown on all sides. Do this in batches if you need to. Remove the pork and turn the heat to medium.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the onion from the marinade and add to pot. Cook until the onion starts to become translucent, about four minutes. Return the pork to the pot, add about half the marinade, the salt, and the stock. Turn the heat to high, when the braising liquid starts to boil, turn to low and cover.

After about 20 minutes taste the braising liquid and add more chili powder, cayenne, or salt if you’d like. Cook covered for at least four hours but longer if you’re able.

For the salsa
1 1/2 cups fresh pineapple, diced
1/2 red onion, minced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 -3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 clove garlic, diced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Mix well.

To prepare the tacos
corn tortillas
1 ripe avocado
1 radish
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
lime wedges

Slice the radish as thin as possible. Cut up the avocado. Heat the tortillas until they are soft. Use a slotted spook to spoon the pork onto the tortillas. Serve with a spoonful of salsa, a tablespoon of cilantro, a slice of avocado, two slices of radish, and a lime wedge.

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