SLOW-COOKER TACOS AL PASTOR
Tacos al pastor is hands down my favorite taco. I was first introduced to it at our neighborhood taco joint when we lived in Chicago, and I quickly fell in love. Tacos al pastor contain slowly roasted and super-flavorful pork paired with juicy, sweet pineapple. To re-create this taco for a delicious, healthy weeknight dinner, I use a pork shoulder roast and trim most of the fat to make it much leaner. It’s still scrumptious and juicy, thanks to a delicious marinade and a slow cooker. Roasting the onions and pineapple is the secret to bringing out their natural sweetness and imparting a smoky flavor to the marinade. The marinade also includes bold flavors like adobo, cumin, garlic and bright notes of citrus. This taco is just as good, if not better, than the one I fell in love with in Chicago!
YIELD: 12 TO 15 TACOS
3½ lb (1.6 kg) pork shoulder roast, bone-in or boneless, trimmed of excess fat
3½ tsp (19 g) salt, divided
1½ tsp (3 g) black pepper
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
2 cups (330 g) coarsely chopped fresh pineapple
2 tbsp (30 ml) avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil, divided
2½ tbsp (23 g) brown sugar or coconut sugar
2 tbsp (30 ml) fresh lime juice
1 tbsp (6 g) lime zest
3 tbsp (45 ml) fresh orange juice
1 tbsp (6 g) orange zest
¼ cup (60 ml) chicken broth
2 tbsp (30 ml) apple cider vinegar
4 to 5 cloves garlic
2 to 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 tsp adobo sauce
2 tbsp (18 g) chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp ground allspice
12 to 15 (6” [15-cm]) corn tortillas
½ small red onion, diced
1½ cups (248 g) diced fresh pineapple
1 large avocado, diced
1 tbsp (15 ml) avocado oil
1 tbsp (15 ml) fresh lime juice
Splash of agave
2 tbsp (6 g) coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
½ tsp salt
⅓ cup (73 g) olive oil mayo
⅓ cup (95 g) plain Greek yogurt
2 tsp (10 ml) adobo sauce
1 tbsp (15 ml) fresh lime juice
To make the tacos, preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C). Grease a large baking sheet.
Season the pork with 3 teaspoons (15 g) of the salt and the black pepper, making sure to cover the whole pork shoulder. Set the pork aside.
Place the onion and pineapple on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle the onion and pineapple with 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of the oil and sprinkle them with ¼ teaspoon of the salt. Roast the onion and pineapple for 16 to 18 minutes, flipping them halfway through the cooking time, until the onion and pineapple are tender. Add the brown sugar and toss the roasted onion and pineapple to coat them. Roast the onion and pineapple for 2 to 3 minutes, until they start to caramelize.
Transfer the onion and pineapple to a blender. Add the lime juice, lime zest, orange juice, orange zest, remaining 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of oil, broth, vinegar, garlic, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, onion powder, allspice and remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt. Blend the ingredients until a smooth, thick sauce forms.
Place the pork in the slow cooker. Cover the pork in the pineapple sauce. Cook the pork on low heat for 8 hours.
Take the pork out of the slow cooker. Remove the bone if you are cooking a bone-in pork shoulder. Remove any fatty pieces, then shred the pork using forks or tongs. Transfer the pork to a large serving bowl and add ½ cup (120 ml) or more of the leftover sauce from the slow cooker, if desired.
To make the pineapple-avocado salsa, combine the onion, pineapple and avocado in a medium bowl. Add the oil, lime juice, agave, cilantro and salt and stir until all of the ingredients are well combined.
To make the chipotle mayo, combine the mayo, yogurt, adobo sauce and lime juice in a small bowl. Stir until the ingredients are well combined.
Over a gas burner or in a medium skillet over medium-high heat, slightly char the corn tortillas. Top each tortilla with the pork, pineapple-avocado salsa and chipotle mayo.