Dinner

Cuban Street Tacos

Last month my husband and I were down in Key West on vacation and had lunch at Bagatelle on Duval Street. There I had the most amazing Cuban Street Tacos I have ever tasted and I knew that I had to recreate them in my kitchen as soon as I got home. This recipe is a bit time-consuming but totally worth it in the end! The seasoned pork butt is slow roasted in a citrus marinade of lime and orange juices then removed from the pot to reduce and thicken the marinade into a thick, syrupy glaze.

The glaze is then poured over the roasted pork and broiled until lightly crisped and caramelized. Served alongside Cuban Black Beans and Sangria, I felt like I was back in Key West sitting on the wrap around porch of Bagatelle feeling the tropical breezes blowing through my hair.

Cuban Street Tacos

Cuban Street Tacos

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 4-pound boneless pork butt, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 to 2 jalapeños, minced
  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 medium orange, halved and juice, rinds reserved
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges

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Instructions

  1. Rub the pieces of pork shoulder all over with salt. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  3. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add pork and sear pieces on all sides. Once all the pork is seared and lightly browned, remove from the pot and place in a large bowl. Pour in water and chicken stock, scraping the bottom of the pan with a flat-edged spatula to release all the tasty brown bits. Add pepper, cumin, chili powder, oregano, bay leaves, garlic, jalapenos, onion, lime juice, orange juice and orange rinds and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Add pork pieces and cover the pot and place it in the preheated oven. Bake for 1 hour, take a peek and give the pot a stir to turn the meat. Put the lid back on and let it continue to bake in the oven for another hour.
  4. After 2 hours of baking time, remove the pot from oven. Remove the bay leaves, onion and orange rinds from the pot and discard. Remove the pork and place in a large bowl; set aside. Place the pot on the stove top and let the remaining liquid come to a boil over high heat. Let it boil until it thickens up and is reduced to about 1 cup, about 10 -15 minutes.
  5. Lower racks to near the bottom of the oven and turn oven to broil. In the bowl, pull each piece of pork in half using two forks. Pour the reduced liquid over the pork and add salt and pepper to taste; stir to combine. Place the coated pieces of pork on a wire cooling rack set on a baking sheet. Broil the meat for 5 to 8 minutes on each side until well browned. You can pull the pork further if you want and then serve immediately in warm tortillas. Garnish with red onion slices, cilantro, Monterey Jack cheese, and lime wedges.

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Source: adapted from Joelen’s Culinary Adventures, originally adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, June 2008

 

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