Mexican Pork Recipes: How To Make Homemade Authentic Tacos al Pastor

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I have a secret to confess: my name is Carlos and I’m a Mexican pork recipes addict. Specifically, my drug of choice has been authentic tacos al pastor ever since I first moved to Mexico, and I don’t see any end in sight to my obsession with these flavorful authentic Mexican pork taco recipes: they are simply too good to deny.

If you’ve never made tacos al pastor before, be forewarned: you may fall prey to a similar fate. After all, Mexican pork recipes are to Mexicans as beef recipes are to Americans: they’re an essential cornerstone of the cuisine, and it’s not secret why: they taste amazing, and these tacos al pastor–or “tacos de trompo” if you’re in Northern Mexico–are the flagship of Mexico’s pork recipes.

This recipe for authentic tacos al pastor is one of the most popular taco recipes in Mexico. If you’re in a busy Mexican city and on a street where food is being served, you can bet the farm that tacos al pastor are being served somewhere in there, and it’s probably the place with the sign you can’t see because it’s being blocked by the huge crowd of people standing around it, devouring their Mexican dinners and consuming pork taco after taco. So today, I’m going to deliver this authentic pastor recipe, the pride of Mexican taco cuisine, so that you may join in the millions of people from around the world who visit Mexico and sink their teeth into their first Mexican taco al pastor, and experience one of the best taco recipes in the world, in the eyes of many. Pastor tacos are famous for their specific blend of flavors that combine sweet pineapple with a spicy chili marination of the meat and the tart of lime and cilantro and a few other ingredients. Combining ingredients for tacos like this only ever results in something irresistible!

Normally, the pork for tacos al pastor is grilled just like shawarma: on a rotating spit like you see above, with a giant hunk of meat that you simply slice off pieces of to serve in the tacos. But, as I’m guessing most of you at home don’t have a spare upright rotisserie/trompo lying around the kitchen, I’m going to adapt the recipe a bit so you can make your own homemade version of these marinated Mexican pork tacos without compromising the essence of this recipe. Here we go:

Preparation Time: 3 hours minimum

Cook Time: ~80 minutes

Ingredients for tacos al Pastor (serves 4 people):

16 tortillas de maiz (corn tortillas)
800g (1.5 lbs) pork (the butt for best results, but any part of the pig can work if you have a different cut)
1/2 pineapple (normal size)
1 white onion (large)
20 branches of cilantro
8 limes
salt

For the axiote marinade:
juice of 2 oranges
300g ground axiote (in powder forum)
10 dry chiles guajillos
1 medium size onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp white pepper
1 cup white vinegar
1 stick of cinnamon

And make this Salsa Taquera

Directions:

1. Start by making your salsa taquera, then follow these instructions to make the axiote marinade:

Make a cut into the side of each chile guajillo, and devein them (rip out the stem and the guts) and soak them in hot water.

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Once they’ve hydrated and they’re soft, remove from water and place in blender.

Add the vinegar, the juice of two oranges, chop up the medium sized onion and add that too. Add your garlic cloves, the cinnamon, and blend it a little.

Then add the axiote, the white pepper, then blend. Then add salt to taste.

Once the mix is ready, pour into a big bowl you’ll use to marinate the meat for this Mexican pork recipe.

2. Cut your pork hiney into half steak pieces. Try to make them uniformly thick, but they don’t need to look pretty at all because we’re going to chop them all up before the end to serve in the tacos.

3. Cover each “steak” in the axiote marinade and then refrigerate them all for as long as you can afford to (at least three hours).

4. When it’s time to make dinner, start be preheating the grill.

5. Slice your 1/2 pineapple into “disks” just a bit over 1cm thick (about 1/2″). You can just cut the slices across the entire pineapple, and you don’t have to peel the outside of the pineapple off before you grill it, either.

6. With a hot grill, throw on the now-marinated pork steaks along with your pineapple pieces until both have been cooked. This should take about eight minutes, maybe a touch more. You know you’ve cooked the pineapple enough when it has become soft all throughout. It’s alright if the pineapple slices get charred a bit, but do your best to keep them from burning, otherwise they will not taste good. As for the pork, it will be a bit easier to cook because the marination keeps the meat hydrated even after you’ve cooked it, so don’t worry about overcooking the pork this time like you would normally want to. The marination makes the pork a bit more forgiving to cook.

7. Now peel the pineapple rings off and chop the pineapple into small little cooked pieces.

8. Mince the onions, chop up the cilantro, then mix them together with the pineapple in a bowl. Take a lime and squeeze its juice into the mix and add salt to taste. Sample it to see if you need to add more lime juice.

9. Chop up the pork into little strips and pieces for filling your tacos with.

10. Make the tacos: add the meat to the tortillas first, then your pineapple-cilantro-onion mix, and then top off with your delicious authentic salsa taquera.

And enjoy! If you’ve never tried these Mexican tacos before, I envy you because you are in for such a treat with this authentic Tacos al Pastor recipe. I hope you enjoy trying out these authentic taco recipes from Mexico as much as I enjoy sharing them with you. This is one of the most popular Mexican pork recipes I know of that is actually eaten inside real Mexico, so I hope you savor this authentic Mexican recipe from the street vendors of la Ciudad de Mexico. Buen provecho!

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Mexican Empanadas Recipe: Baked Pumpkin Empanadas

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This will probably offend a few people, but I would describe Mexican empanadas by saying they are like Latin America’s “hot pockets” :)

Roughly translated, “empanada” essentially means something that is “wrapped in bread.” The beauty of empanadas is that how you make them and what you fill them with are completely up to you! Popular filling options include delicious meats like crab, marlin, and beef, as well as completely different things like tasty fruits, delicious nuts, and more desert-oriented flavors–the options are virtually limitless.

Inside Latin America, empanadas are little pastries and, commonly, meat pies that are filled with beef and vegetables, ham and cheeses, and so forth, that are most commonly cooked in the oven but that are also sometimes fried on the stove. Both baked and fried empanadas are a popular snack in Mexico and pretty much all throughout Latin America.

Of course, you’ll find empanadas recipes in Spain, Portugal, and much of the rest of the world under various names, but I’m going to show you one particular authentic Mexican variation on the empanada recipe, here.

Mexican empanadas with pumpkin filling

Emapanadas served in Mexico are most commonly either desserts or items on the breakfast menu, and they tend to come with a lot of sweeter fillings like pumpkin (as in this case), yams, sweet potato, cream, as well as a plethora of fruit fillings.

What the empanadas in Mexico are like really depends where you go in the country because each region of Mexico has its own “take” on the Mexico empanada recipe. For example: meats, cheeses, and vegetables are not very popular empanada fillings in some states, but they are very popular and widely eaten in others. In the sate of Chiapas, empanadas are typically filled with chicken or cheese are commonly eaten for breakfast, dinner, or even as little snacks throughout the day. Also depending on the region and on the particular empanada recipe being used is the dough: it can be based on wheat or on corn, and sometimes even on Yuca flour. It just depends on who’s making this tasty treat!

But enough chat; here’s how you make delicious, easy Mexican pumpkin empanadas:

Cook Time: ~1 hour

Ingredients for this easy empanada recipe:

warm water (one cup)
white sugar (1/3 cup)
baking powder (1/4 teaspoon)
all-purpose flour (3 cups)
vegetable shortening (one cup)
salt (1.5 teaspoons)

canned pure pumpkin (4 cups)
white sugar (one cup)
ground cinnamon (1.5 teaspoons)
ground ginger (one teaspoon)
eggs (two)
beaten egg (one)
ground cloves (a half teaspoon)
salt (one teaspoon)

Cooking Directions for Making These Mexican Empanadas:

Start this baked empanada recipe by preheating your oven to 175°C (350F, for you Americanos :) ). Then line a few baking sheets with some parchment paper.

Whisk your flour in a large bowl, along with the 1/3 cup of sugar, and the 1.5 teaspoons of salt, all together.

Then cut the vegetable shortening into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.

Then, stir the warm water in, only about two tablespoons at a time, just until you’re able to gather the dough together, and then add the quarter teaspoon of baking powder to dry the dough out a bit.

Knead this dough a few times in your bowl, then scrape it out onto a floured surface.

Cut the dough into quarters, and then cut each quarter into thirds so that you now have 12 equal portions.

Roll each portion into a ball. Cover these dough balls with a cloth, and just let them rest while you make the empanada filling:

Mix together the pumpkin, the two eggs, the one cup of sugar, a teaspoon of salt, your cinnamon, the ginger, and cloves. Keep mixing until the consistency is smooth.

On a floured surface, roll each of your dough balls out into a thin circle that is about 15cm (six inches) in diameter.

Spoon 1/3 cup of your filling into the center of each dough circle, then fold the dough over the filling to make a half-moon shaped pie, and then crimp the edges of the crust together with a fork, leaving the little fork lines in the dough.

Now, gently lay each of the empanadas onto your prepared baking sheets.

Brush the top of each pie with a bit of beaten egg.

Bake the empanadas in your preheated oven until their filling is hot and their crusts are shiny and browned. This should take around 20 minutes.

baked pumpkin empanadas

So there you have it: a simple and easy empanada recipe for baked Mexican empanadas with pumpkin filling. I think you’ll love this tasty authentic Mexican treat, and if you try it out and you do, leave me a comment in the section below and, if I get enough feedback, I might just have to share another of these authentic and easy Mexican recipes for making tasty treats like these. I hope you like these empanadas from Mexico, and I’ll speak to you again soon!

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