Curtis Stone’s Taco Tactics

You'll love this classic south-of-the-border fare — full of flavor and guaranteed to please!

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One of the best things about living in Los Angeles is the exceptional Mexican food. There’s nothing better than getting a fresh taco from a local stand or taco truck; they’re one of my favorite foods, especially after a long day.

Versatile, easy to prepare, and perfectly sized, tacos can be as simple or elegant as you want, making them a perfect option for summer get–togethers.

Chipotle pork tacos are a delicious and satisfying dish and a real hit with guests. The combination of chili powder, jalapeños, and chipotle chiles creates deep, complex flavors that will pair perfectly with your pork. You can always adjust the chiles if you prefer a milder flavor. Pork tends to dry out, so a thermometer will assist in keeping an eye on the internal temperature. The seasonings in the marinade will intensify flavor the longer it’s on the pork as well as tenderize the meat and help prevent it from drying out.

Provide a wide variety of toppings, so everyone can create their tacos just the way they like them.

And any dish that gives me an excuse to make a side of guacamole is a good one! I had my chance to perfect this guacamole recipe when my wife, Lindsay, was pregnant and it was all she wanted to eat. My first piece of advice is to use properly ripened avocados — they should just “give” when you squeeze them. Be generous with the lime juice and salt and, above all, keep it chunky.

Chipotle Pork Tacos with Grilled Tomato Salsa and Lime

(Makes 4 servings)

Pork

1/2 white onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, coarsely chopped
4    garlic cloves, chopped
1    tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1    tablespoon olive oil, plus more for coating the pork
1    teaspoon chili powder
1    teaspoon dried oregano
1    pound pork tenderloin, cleaned of all fat and sinew, split in half lengthwise

Salsa

2    large tomatoes, cut into 1-inch-thick slices
1/2 red onion, cut into 1-inch-thick slices
1    green jalapeño chile, halved, seeded
2    tablespoons olive oil, divided
2    tablespoons chopped cilantro
1    tablespoon fresh lime juice υ

Tacos

8    6-inch corn tortillas
1    cup thinly sliced radishes
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1    lime, cut into wedges

To marinate the pork: In food processor, puree onion, chipotle chiles, garlic, vinegar, oil, chili powder, and oregano, adding a little water, if necessary, to thin out puree. Put pork tenderloin in glass or ceramic baking dish and coat with chipotle puree. Let stand at room temperature while you prepare barbecue and salsa.

To make salsa: Prepare barbecue for medium-high heat or preheat grill pan over medium-high heat. Place tomatoes, red onion, and jalapeño on baking sheet and rub 1 tablespoon of olive oil all over vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to barbecue grill grate and grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until slightly charred and softened. Remove vegetables and jalapeño from barbecue and set aside to cool slightly. Coarsely chop grilled vegetables and jalapeño.

In large bowl, toss chopped grilled vegetables and jalapeño with remaining 1 tablespoon oil, cilantro, and lime juice. Season to taste with salt.

 To cook pork: Remove pork from marinade, season with salt, and coat lightly with oil. Grill pork, turning and basting it lightly with more oil and remaining marinade as needed, for about 12 minutes, or until instant-read thermometer inserted into center of pork reads 130°F. Transfer pork to carving board and let rest for 5 minutes.

To prepare tacos: Grill tortillas, turning once or twice, for about 1 minute, or until heated through but still pliable. Wrap tortillas in clean kitchen towel to keep warm.

Cut pork crosswise into ¼-inch-thick slices. Divide pork evenly among warm tortillas. Top each taco with radishes and grilled tomato salsa. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve immediately with lime wedges.

Make-Ahead: The pork tenderloin can marinate for up to 24 hours, covered and refrigerated. The salsa can be made up to 2 hours ahead, covered, and kept at room temperature.

Per serving (2 tacos): Calories: 496
Total Fat: 22 g; Saturated Fat: 5 g
Sodium: 166 mg; Carbohydrate: 35 g
Fiber: 5 g; Protein: 39 g; Diabetic
Exchanges: 2 starch, 5 lean meat, 2 vegetable, 3 fat

 

Recipe adapted from What’s For Dinner by Curtis Stone. Copyright © 2015 by Curtis Stone. Excerpted with permission of Ballantine Books, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved.

Featured Image by Quentin Bacon

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