I’m still waiting for pumpkins to arrive in Norwegian grocery stores (which feels like foreverrr) and thus I’m continuing with delicious summery foods for a tiny bit longer. I will continue to look for amazing recipes containing pumpkin (and shed a tear every now and then) but I’m still thrilled that pineapples are so good here now!
Tacos al Pastor is a Mexican dish derived from the Lebanese immigrants’ shawarma. The meat is marinated in chiles, pineapple and other spices and slow cooked on a vertical rotisserie, with a pineapple on top. Sound like uh – a lot of work – so, today we are doing this super easy yet super tasty.
The evil of canned pineapple
I’ve always been afraid of pineapple in savory dishes, until I tried tacos al pastor. I understood that with the right pineapple and the right dish, it could be an amazing combination. I found out it was the horrendous canned pineapple I despised – you should never use canned pineapple for this (nor anything else, actually). The pineapple in this dish helps break down the meat, making it tender and juicy and it needs to be fresh. The canned stuff is watered down, high in sugars and the consistency is mushy and gross. No way, never again.
So, I think you got it now. Let’s continue, with our delicious fresh pineapple.
Easy Tacos al Pastor
Tacos al pastor is usually made with pork, and it is delicious that way too. However, I had chicken on hand and decided to give it a try. Guess what? Equally delicious! You can use whatever one you want, I’ve also heard of people using fish, but don’t quote me on that.
This recipe is adapted from No Recipes, however I decided to make this the easy way, because sometimes you just want delicious food without all the fuss. Don’t get me wrong, I like fuss too, but who has time for that every day? So, instead of using a whole pork butt, putting it in the freezer, slice it up, add pineapple in between and then marinade it, we’ll do it differently. We are hungry now, right?
You need to begin with the dried chiles. Remove the seeds if you want to, but I like the heat so I’m keeping mine. Boil water and pour over the chiles and allow them to rehydrate for around 10 minutes. The definite con of living on the west coast of Norway, is getting interesting ingredients. Especially Mexican. I could not find acho chiles anywhere, but I found guajilos, luckily. So I’ve just been using 2 guajilo chiles instead of 1 guajilo and 2 ancho chiles. I’ve heard this combination is normal and they complement each other, so I suggest going for both if you can find them. If not, that’s okay too. Still delicious.
Put the rehydrated chiles in a food processor, along with all the other marinade ingredients and process until smooth. Pour the marinade into a pot and bring to a boil for around 5 minutes. This is important as it breaks some of the enzymes in the fresh pineapple, which could eventually turn your meat into mush (like canned pineapple, yuck). Turn off the heat and let it cool to room temperature. I know, that sucks, but as the weather cools, maybe you could place the pot outside for a bit? The pros of cooler weather, maybe this is a Fall dish anyway!
Marinade the meat for no more than an hour – the pineapple still has a lot of enzymes which tenderizes meat. Heat a pan and fry the meat until the meat is cooked through. To assemble; use small corn tortillas, minced shallot onion and cilantro, sour cream and a pineapple salsa. Finish off with lime wedges. You can also add in a little salsa verde, although I find the homemade pineapple salsa much more important than the salsa verde.
Homemade Pineapple Salsa
Save some of the pineapple to make a fresh pineapple salsa. Cut the pineapple into small cubes, mix with chopped cilantro, cinnamon, cumin, oregano and maybe some fajitas spice if you have it on hand. Awesome.
Enjoy! Please tell me how you did, what you made, and if you like this version of tacos al pastor. Comment in the comment section below or tag me on Instagram @thegingerwithspice. Don’t forget to Pin it for later!