“Slow-roasted pork tacos are the best street-food-turned-everyday-food ever!” former model-turned-chef Candice Kumai writes in her new cookbook, “Pretty Delicious” (Rodale, $30). “Making them yourself takes a little time, but a pork loin feeds a ton of people, making these excellent bites for when you need to feed many mouths. This homemade version is leaner than the traditional taco truck pork shoulder — 13 1/2 grams of fat per 3 ounces versus 4 grams of fat for 3 ounces of pork loin!”
Totally Mexi-Cali Carnitas
3 1/2 pounds boneless pork loin roast, external fat trimmed off
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon canola oil or vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chipotle chile powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
16 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1/4 head red or green cabbage, thinly sliced
Topping Bar (all are optional — offer as many or few as you like):
1 Hass avocado, thinly sliced
1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1/2 cup shredded Cotija cheese
Rub the entire surface of the pork loin with the salt. heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed deep pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the pork and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes per side. pour in 1 cup water and add the onion, chipotle powder, oregano and cumin and bring to a boil over high heat. boil for 4 minutes, then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the meat is incredibly tender and falls apart easily, about 2 hours, turning a few times while cooking. Turn off the heat and let the roast rest in the pot until it is cool enough to handle, about 30 minutes. Transfer the roast to a cutting board and shred the meat with your fingers or two forks, then return it to the juices in the pan so the lean meat stays nice and moist.
Soak a clean kitchen towel in warm water and wring it dry. Stack the tortillas and place them in the center of the towel. Wrap the towel around the tortillas and place them on a microwaveable plate. Microwave the tortillas in 10-second intervals until the tortillas are warm, fragrant and very soft.
To assemble, place about 2 tablespoons of the meat in the center of 1 warmed tortilla and cover with some cabbage. Add your choice of toppings. Serve warm.
Makes 8 servings.
Nutritional value per 2-taco serving without topping: 481 calories, 12 g fat, 43 g protein, 7 g fiber, 3 g sugars, 843 mg sodium, 47 g carbohydrates, 15 mg cholesterol.
From “Pretty Delicious” by Candice Kumai