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Pork Shoulder With Chile And Onions with Lettuce (Traditional; US), garnished with Pickled Red Onions topped off with Homemade Sriracha and wrapped in delicious Hard Corn Shells (Traditional; US)

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Contributed by sinker, Ross Donaldson
### Pork Shoulder with Chile and Onions This is my attempt to re-create my most favorite _al pastor_ in Oakland -- the stuff they make at Tacos Sinaloa in Fruitvale. Saucy, packed with sauteed onions -- it's amazing stuff. This isn't a match, but it's damn fine, and close. I like it with roasted tomatillo salsa and crema and a _Dos Equis_ amber. ##### Ingredients * Some number of pounds of pork shoulder. Get the good stuff; the pork will taste of its fat, and cheap pork fat tastes gross. A pound of pork shoulder makes dinner for 3-4 people, depending on just how many tacos each of you can put down. Per pound of pork: * 1 medium onions (can do two large onions per three pounds pork). I like yellows, but I've done sweet onions and it's rad. * A pile of chiles. * Salt Let's pause here for a second, 'cause there are a _lot_ of great chiles you could use. I think this is best with dried red chiles, and ambrosial if those chiles were smoked. That means chipotles, anchos, or Oaxacenos. It's difficult to give quantities on these things. It comes down to taste, hey? If you don't cook with these things often, or don't like spicy foods, use Oaxacenos -- one or even a half of one per pound. If you like it hot, keep adding chipotles until your head explodes. I like spicy pork; I typically use two chiplotles per pound, depending on chili size. If you aren't big on smoked chiles, look at a dried New Mexico red, or use fresh-ground _chiles pequenos_. * 1 cloves garlic, peeled * Salt ##### Directions 1. Set the oven to 350 degrees. Put a Dutch Oven on the range and apply medium heat. 2. Chop up your pile of onions. Mince up the garlic. Heck -- get a beer. This is good beer-drinking-cooking. And the chiles! Chop them up too. That'll get you going.* 3. Oh yeah -- cut your pork shoulder into hunks of roughly equal size. I try to keep the hunks as big as possible. Coat it all over with salt. So. Here's the basic idea: we're going to roast a pork shoulder. We don't want it to get dried out; we also don't want to add liquid to it. The moisture will come from the onions, which we also want to caramelize. What we're going to do is this: start with a base of cooked onions; start roasting the pork shoulder; add onions to keep it moist, but not too many or too fast so that they can get dry enough to caramelize. You can work the lid, here -- add it if things are drying out too quickly, remove if things are staying too wet. 4. Add a tablespoon or so of the oil of your choice to the Dutch Oven (I use bacon fat). Once it's hot, toss in 1/2-1/3 of your chopped onion. Cook the onion until it turns translucent; add about half the chopped chiles and garlic, stir well, then add the pork shoulder. Start them fat-side down, and try to get the fat in contact with the dutch oven. 5. Pop the whole works in the oven, uncovered (to start). Grab your beer, and maybe a book. Time to do some structured waiting. 6. Every thirty minutes or so, check the pork shoulder. Check the stuff in the bottom of the pan; as it starts to dry out, throw in more onions and stir it all around. You can flip the hunks over after a while -- use tongs. 7. The pork shoulder is done when it is tender but not soft. You should be able to separate the hunks with a pair of forks, but you should not be able to cut it with a fork. Honestly, I like mine a touch on the chewy side -- well roasted and cooked through but not actually falling apart. (Try this: slice off a little hunk of pork. Is it delicious? Just a little chew? It's done! If it's tough, keep going.) For a three pound pork shoulder in my oven, this takes about two hours. 8. When the pork shoulder is done, pull the hunks out of the pot with tongs, transferring them to a cutting board. Transfer the Dutch Oven back to the range and set medium heat. 9. Chop the pork hunks into bits. 10. Toss whatever onion and chile and garlic you have left into the Dutch Oven to cook in the rendered fat and onion goop. If things are stuck or cooked to the pan, pour in a bit of your beer to loosen it. Do you like flavors other than what's already there? Oregano or cumin? This is where I'd add those, m'self, but I don't usually want 'em. 11. Once the onion in the pot is tender, toss the pork back in and stir liberally. Hey, you're done! It's ready to go in tacos! I love this as a simple taco: hot corn tortillas, this stuff, roasted tomatillo salsa, a little crema, but it would win your heart with seared corn and epazote and maybe some cotija. You should eat as you like! * Have you handled very hot peppers before? No? Okay, listen, this is really important: hot chiles will get oil on your fingers, and it will burn any sensitive body parts you touch. That oil is very difficult to scrub off, so just washing your hands isn't enough. Dried chiles are much safer to work than fresh or freshly roasted chiles, but you can still have an awfully rough evening of pouring salene solution in your eyes if you aren't careful. When in doubt: nitrile gloves.
Contributed by Brian Mount, sinker, Tim Murtaugh, Tim Murtaugh
Lettuce (Traditional; US) ====================== In a traditional American taco, lettuce serves to add extra crunch and coolness. Favor the bulkier lettuces over leafier fare such as Bibb lettuces or mesclun. * Iceberg Lettuce (shredded) * Romaine Lettuce (shredded; maintain the stalks) tags: vegetarian, vegan
Contributed by Brian Mount, sinker, Jake Spurlock, Jeff Larson, Jesse von Doom
Pickled Red Onions ================== My wife made this recipe up, after eating something similar, but if you are making brisket tacos, it is the most wonderful accessory: __Ingredients__ * Vinegar * 2 chopped red onions * 1 tablespoon of sugar * a dash of chili powder Chop the red onions into rings and put them into a container of vinegar. Add the sugar and store the mixture in your refrigerator to marinate and pickle, the longer the better. Pick out the rings and place them on your brisket taco. Eat. Variations ---------- Pickled onions are a favorite in the Von Doom house, too. [@littlewhirl](http://twitter.com/littlewhirl) played around with a similar starting point and we use this brine instead: * 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar * 1 T Sugar (I usually use coconut palm sugar because I'm a hippie I guess) * Water * 1 1/2 tsp salt * 1 sprig fresh oregano and/or cilantro (optional) Slice 1 red onion on a mandolin (WORTH IT). In a bowl melt the sugar and salt with some warm/hot water. Add vinegar and 1c of filtered water. Add in onion, top off w/ water so that the onion is just covered. VERY IMPORTANT: Let sit at room temp for at least an hour. Trust me. The apple cider vinegar is a tangier but also more subtle, keeping more of the onion flavor there. And using a partial salt water brine lets it work nice for quick pickles, but also for slightly longer engagements. Leading to the most important aspect: PICKLE ALL THE THINGS --------------------- Seriously. All the things. Pickle your fridge. Pickle your waffles. Make. Lots. Of. Pickles. * __Cabbage__ — red or green work. You only need an hour or so (like onions) * __Jalepeños__ — seriously GTFO these are good. Add dill for a twist. Add parboiled carrots if you want to cut the spice * __Greenbeans__ — because greenbeans are goddam delicious * __Toy cars — kid with an attitude? Pickle their favorite toy car. Let's see them try to cop a tude when their matchbox cars are soggy and briney * __Cauliflower__ — personal favorite. Pickles in an hour, super delicious * __Baby corn__ — baby corn is gross, but if you pickle it you can make jokes about how big all the other things you pickled are tags: vegetarian, vegan
Contributed by sinker, Michael Bishop
## Homemade Sriracha Sure, Huy Fong's “rooster” brand sriracha is great, but wouldn't be nice to make your own? Now you can. A few tips before starting: * Don't be a cowboy (or cowgirl)-use gloves. You are going to be handling a lot of peppers and the last thing you want to do is touch your eye or a more _sensitive_ body part. * Have good ventilation. Especially on the day you bring your chilis to a boil. ### Ingredients * 1 pound red jalepeño pepper, stemmed, seeded and halved. * ½ pound red serrano pepper, stemmed, seeded and halved. * ¼ pound red thai chiles, stemmed, and halved. * 6 cloves garlic, peeled. * 1 tablespoon kosher salt. * 4 tablespoons palm sugar (light brown sugar can be substituted, see notes). * ½ cup cane vinegar (or rice wine vinegar, [see notes](https://github.com/sinker/tacofancy/blob/master/seasonings/homemade_sriracha.md#notes)). ### Directions 1. Combine chilis, garlic, salt and sugar in food processor. Pulse to a coarse pureé. 2. Transfer pureé to glass container. Store at room temperature for one week, stirring daily (see notes). 3. After one week, transfer pureé to small saucepan, add vinegar and bring to boil. 4. Reduce heat and simmer for five minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature. 5. Transfer pureé to food processor and process for two to three minutes. 6. Strain pureé through fine mesh strainer, using back of spoon or rubber spatula to press solids through strainer. 7. Transfer finished sauce to glass jars and refrigerate. Can be stored for up to 6 months. ### Notes * Any combination of red chile peppers will make a fine sriracha. Note thai chilis and serrano are hotter than jalepeños, so experiment with different combinations and find one that works for your taste. * If you can't find palm sugar (usually found in most Asian markets) light brown sugar can be substituted. Light brown sugar is slightly sweeter so you may want to start with three tablespoons and adjust after tasting before step 3. * Likewise, if you cannot find cane vinegar, rice wine vinegar can be substituted. Seasoned rice wine vinegar, commonly used in preparing sushi rice often has been sweetened, so keep that in mind if adjusting sweetener. * Some recipes have suggested the pureé can be thick after the seven day fermentation and water can be used to thin the mixture when processing after the boiling/simmering stage. * Finally, and **most importantly** be sure to santize the glass jars/containers you use to ferment and store your sriracha. Just ask your favorite homebrewer what can happen if you do not properly sanitize your glass container before storing foodstuffs in them. tags: vegetarian, vegan
Contributed by Brian Mount, sinker, Tim Murtaugh, Tim Murtaugh
Hard Corn Shells (Traditional; US) ====================== Mistakenly thought by many to be traditionally Mexican, hard shells were actually popularized in the US in the mid-20th century. While they can certainly be made at home (if you have access to a deep-fryer), the best method of obtaining hard taco shells is to head to the grocery store. If you line them with a lettuce leaf rather than using chopped lettuce, when the shell cracks you won't lose the contents into your lap. tags: vegetarian