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Tacos al pastor

March 28, 2012
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Serves 6

Home cooks won’t be able to replicate authentic rotisserie-cooked pork, but broiling or grilling marinated pork tenderloin, and serving it with chunks of pineapple in corn tortillas, comes close. When assembling tacos it’s important not to overfill them; if they’re too heavy or drippy they’ll fall apart.


6  dried guajillo chilies, stemmed, seeded, and torn up 

2  cups boiling water 

1  canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce 

3  cloves garlic, chopped 

1 1/2  teaspoons dried oregano 

1 1/2  teaspoons kosher salt 

1  teaspoon whole cloves 

1/4  teaspoon ground cumin 

1/4  teaspoon ground cinnamon 

1  bay leaf 

3  tablespoons distilled white vinegar 

2  tablespoons canned pineapple juice (not fresh) or orange juice 

2  tablespoons vegetable oil 

2 1/2  pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed of excess fat 

1  medium yellow onion, thickly sliced 

1/2  pineapple, peeled, and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rounds (about 4 slices)  1. In a bowl combine the dried chilies and boiling water; set aside for 10 minutes. Remove 1/4 cup of the soaking water and transfer it to a blender. With tongs, transfer the chilies to the blender.2. Add the chipotle pepper, garlic, oregano, salt, cloves, cumin, cinnamon, bay leaf, vinegar, pineapple or orange juice, and oil. Blend until smooth. Set a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and pour the chili mixture through it, scraping it so only the solids are left behind. You should have about 1 cup.

3. Cut the pork tenderloins in half (each piece will be about 6 inches) and place in a bowl with the onion. Add the marinade and stir to thoroughly coat the pork. Cover and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.

4. Turn on the broiler, light a charcoal grill, or set a gas grill to medium-high.

5. Scrape most of the marinade off the pork. Broil or grill the pork, turning several times, for 15 to 20 minutes or until the meat is still pink in the center. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for a few minutes.

6. Broil or grill the pineapple and onion slices for 6 to 10 minutes or until browned in spots. Separate the onion into rings. Transfer the pineapple to a cutting board. Chop the pineapple into 1/2-inch pieces, discarding the cores. Slice the pork. Transfer the pork, pineapple, and onion to a serving plate and toss to combine.


12  corn tortillas (5 1/2 inches each) 

1/2  red onion, finely chopped 

1/2  cup chopped fresh cilantro 

1  cup tomato or tomatillo salsa 

 Juice of 1 lime  

1. Heat the tortillas according to the package directions or one by one on a gas flame or in a hot cast-iron skillet.

2. On each tortilla, place 2 slices of pork, some pineapple, and onion. Top with red onion, cilantro, and salsa. Sprinkle with lime juice. Adapted from Papagayo

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Tacos al pastor (Joanne Rathe/Globe Staff )