Mexican Cooking

Tacos al pastor

Cava Reserva y Tacos al Pastor
Cava de Guarda Superior Reserva Siviendo.png
Cava Reserva is aged for a minimum of 18 months adding depth, aroma and complexity, with abundant bubbles and a pleasant freshness.
20 minutes
Difficulty
4 people
Meat

The chillies used in the marinade make marinated pork the key ingredient in classic tacos al pastor, one of Mexican cuisine’s most popular dishes. A dish that in July 2019 was chosen as the best food in the world by Taste Atlas, a website that brings together and publicises the best local cuisine on the planet.

With this in mind, instead of going all the way to Mexico to try authentic tacos al pastor, why not follow the Cava Regulatory Board’s recipe so you can enjoy them yourself at home with a Cava Reserva (more than 15 months). This pairing will allow you to fully enjoy the dish’s classic ingredients: corn tortillas, pineapple, orange, chilli and marinated pork. This tip comes from François Chartier, an expert in aromas and author of a study into the harmonious aromas of Cava.

Ingredients

Ingredients:
Corn tortillas (as many as you like)
600 g (23.8 oz) pork leg or loin
½ pineapple
1 red onion
Coriander leaves
For the marinade:
1 ancho chile pepper
2 guajillo chilies
2 marinated chipotle chilies
50 g (1.98 oz) achiote paste
2 peeled garlic cloves
90 g (3.57 oz) diced onion
30 ml (1.05 fl oz) extra virgin olive oil
30 ml (1.05 fl oz) vinegar
70 ml (2.46 fl oz) fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 clove
½ teaspoon powdered cumin
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 laurel leaf
1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

1
Preparing the marinade
2
Preparing the tacos

Method

Marinated pork is the key to classic Mexican tacos al pastor. With this in mind, the recipe is split into two sections: the marinade and putting the tacos together. 

Preparing the marinade:

  1. Chillies are the basis of the marinade for tacos al pastor, so the first thing to do is to soak the ancho chile pepper and the guajillo chilli for 30 minutes in very hot water until soft. Before soaking, remove the stem and the seeds. After 30 minutes, drain the chillies and put the water to one side. 
  2. Cook the chillies and the onion in boiling water for five minutes.
  3. Remove the chillies from the boiling water, drain them and put them in a blender with the vinegar, chipotle chilli, achiote paste, cumin, garlic, oregano, clove, orange juice, salt, pepper and laurel leaf.
  4. Blend all the ingredients together until they form an even mixture. If the mixture is very thick, add a little of the water the chillies were soaked in.
  5. Put some of the marinade in the bottom of a serving dish and then add the salted meat. It is important to make sure all the pieces of meat are covered. 
  6. Cover the dish and leave it to marinate for three or four hours in the fridge so that the meat can absorb the flavours. In Mexico the meat is usually marinated overnight. If you have time, let the meat marinate for 24 hours. 

Preparing the tacos

  1. Take the meat from the fridge and cook it in a frying pan or on a grill. Cook until the meat is golden, ensuring as best you can that it is crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.
  2. Peel and dice the red onion.
  3. Peel and dice the pineapple.
  4. Clean the coriander.
  5. Cut the cooked pork into thin strips.
  6. Now you have all the ingredients ready, warm the corn tortillas in a frying pan and begin to create the tacos.
  7. Create each taco with strips of pork, pieces of onion, diced pineapple, some coriander leaves and your favourite taco sauce.

Tips

Guajillo chilli: if you do not have or cannot find guajillo chilli, you can replace it with dried chilli pepper (not spicy).

Ancho chile: if you do not have or cannot find ancho chile, you can replace it with choricero pepper.

Chipotle: is a type of chilli that is smoked rather than air dried. This means that chipotle, as well as being spicy, adds a smoky flavour. You will find it in stores selling Mexican produce, but if you cannot get it you can replace it with paprika.

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