This pulled pork tacos recipe is one of the reasons I fell in love with tacos. It came about, as many of my recipes do, when I wanted to use up leftovers. in this case pulled pork and roasted carrots. About as un-Mexican as you can get but the flavours and textures work beautifully. You have to free yourself up from the idea that taco fillings always need to be Mexican. My love of a fridge forage means my tacos are rarely authentically Mexican – see my taco night meal plan post for other flavour combinations.
You want your taco to be balanced. To illustrate what I mean, here is one of my favourite combinations:
Pulled pork tacos with roasted carrots, crumbled feta, shredded lime and chili-dressed white cabbage and avocado.
This combination works so well because it has a balance of:
Temperatures – the warm pork and carrots are balanced by the cold avocado and cabbage.
Textures – the pork and carrots and avocado are soft. The cabbage is crunchy.
Flavours – the feta is salty, the roast carrots are sweet, the pork is deeply savoury umami, the lime is acidic, the avocado is mellow. The chili adds spice.
Nutrition – protein from the pork and cheese; three types of vegetables, one of them raw; good fat from the avocado and complex carbs from the tortilla.
So, once you get that idea you can play around different ingredients and remember what to add to balance things out. Here’s the recipes for the main ingredients – pulled pork and roasted carrots.
Slow roasted fennel pork
This is also wonderful served with a fennel salad. Pork shoulder is a great cut for slow cooking – it melts down beautifully and is a relatively inexpensive cut so a great way of feeding a crowd.
1kg/2lb 3oz pork shoulder (pork shoulder butt in the US)
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (150°C fan)/ 325°F (or you could use a slow cooker/crockpot)
2. Tip the fennel seeds, salt and pepper into a Le Creuset, or similar enamel lined pan with a lid and shake them around to mix them (see photo)
3. Roll the pork in the pan so that is covered on all sides with the spices.
4. Put the lid on and put the pan into the oven for 3- 4 hours. No need to do anything much during that time. Check it after 2 hours (or so) and turn it over. It is ready when it is falling apart and golden. If it cooks a little longer it won’t be a problem.
5. Drain off the fat and roughly shred the pork by using a couple of spoons to pull the meat apart in chunks, be sure to scrape up the brown sticky juices at the bottom of the pan. The pork could be cooked a day ahead and reheated in the same pan if time worked better for you that way. Leftovers are great in tacos, stirred through pasta or even on sandwiches.
Roasted carrots with red wine vinegar
1-2kg (2-4lb) of organic carrots
Rapeseed or olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Red wine vinegar
- Pre-heat oven to 180°C (160°C fan).
- Scrub, but don’t peel, then chop carrots into thumb-sized chunks.
- Toss onto a large metal baking sheet with a tablespoon of oil, salt and pepper and mix with your hands so that they are covered.
- Roast for 30-40 minutes (toss after 20 minutes to ensure even cooking) until darkly golden and soft when tested with a sharp knife.
- Sprinkle with around a teaspoon of red wine vinegar and extra salt just before serving. Taste and adjust until you’re happy.
Serve both the pulled pork and roasted carrots warm with warmed tortillas (see my recipe for wholemeal tortillas here), sliced avocado, crumbled feta and shredded lime and salt-dressed cabbage. I top all these with a final squeeze of lime, some chili sauce and a sprinkle of chopped coriander (cilantro). I usually have some of my pink pickled onions to throw on top too.
You can now buy the equipment I use in this recipe through my shop. I’ve spent years testing my favourite bits of equipment so rest-assured that whatever I recommend is the best tool for the job and will give you great results without cluttering your kitchen with unused tools. You can also buy my other bits of essential kitchen equipment through this post.
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