Coco Kitchen: Chipotle Pork Tacos with Hannah Gregory
Coco Kitchen: Chipotle Pork Tacos with Hannah Gregory
The first in her new series of travel inspired recipes, guest columnist and Masterchef UK quarter finalist Hannah Gregory takes us on a culinary pitstop to Mexico Before we
In the first of her new series of travel inspired recipes, guest columnist and Masterchef UK quarter finalist Hannah Gregory takes us on a culinary pitstop to Mexico
Before we get started, there are a few things I would like to mention that I think are imperative to being a successful cook.
Prep is just as important as the meal itself. Cooking should be a joy, not a stress. I was once told by a wise lady; “You should always cook with love or you will be able to taste the bad vibes in your food”. I thought she was mad but she was right. Every time I have cooked angry or upset, something has gone wrong – whether it was burnt food or cut fingers or just a very underwhelming meal. Take your time, pour a drink, put on some music and enjoy the process.
Your final meal is only as good as your ingredients. Wherever you can, try and shop local and organic. Food miles and mass produced ingredients are as bad for you as they are the local economy and the environment. Now more than ever our local suppliers need our support.
Drink – A great cook is supported by a great tipple. Pairing suggestions are included in all my recipes but I will go as far as to say, these should also be paired with the cooking process, not just the meal.
MUSIC – “If music be the food of love, play on”. I honestly believe that music is the secret ingredient to the world’s best food. Cook with it, eat with it, have a dance around the kitchen with it. Specially curated playlists can be found on WanderSups Spotify, just search for WanderSups and you will find all of them ready for your listening/ cooking/eating pleasure – each are tracks to go with the recipes.
Chipotle Pork tacos, charred pineapple, red salsa, tomatillo salsa. Serves 4 (makes 12 generous tacos) Spotify Playlist – Sups Tipple of Choice – It has to be a Corona right?!
What better way to kick off the New Year and celebrate my joining the HOC team than with a banging taco recipe. I’m not really one for New Year diets and all the rest of it – food should be about enjoyment and escapism, not another string to the bow of “things I should feel guilty about”.
Tacos are one of my favourite foods and I genuinely believe they make the world a better place! They were my signature dish on Masterchef and are one of the most popular dishes on my private dining menus – it’s fantastic, I get invited to these fancy pants houses to cook and within 5 minutes of service people have hot sauce running down their hands and have gone fully feral whilst still using the finest glassware… of course. I was lucky enough to spend a month in Mexico last year and ate more tacos than humanly possible. I think I clocked up 28 taquerias during my time there. Traditionally a street food of humble origins, the official rule is, you should not put your taco down once you have taken your first bite, expect to get messy! There are hundreds of combinations but this recipe is one of my faves!
What you need – Some of the ingredients below look a bit unusual but they are all readily available online. Mexgrocer and Cool Chile company are always my first port of call. Amazon also has a great range of tinned mexican goods. Using authentic ingredients is going to better your chances at thinking you are in Mexico when you are actually just at your kitchen table. And let’s be real, that’s what we all need right now.
For the tacos : Traditionally you would use masa flour to make your taco shells and if you can find it (available online and at specialist stores) I would defo urge you to do so as it really adds to the authenticity of the dish and the flavour is unparalleled. Plus, if you stick your head in the bag and take a long inhale for a brief moment, the smell will instantly transport you to Mexico. If you do use it, follow the recipe as below but leave out the oil and baking powder. When it comes to press (roll) the shells, the masa makes them a lot more delicate so just be careful when working with it. OR you can sack this bit off and buy pre made taco shells – just make sure you get the soft, corn version.
● 225g plain flour ● ½ tsp fine salt ● ½ tsp baking powder ● 40ml corn oil ● 125ml warm water ● Greaseproof paper For the pork : ● 125ml chipotle chiles in adobo sauce ● 60ml oyster sauce ● 3 tablespoons honey ● 2 tablespoons dijon ● 2 teaspoons fish sauce ● 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced ● freshly ground black pepper ● 1 whole pork shoulder (2kg, all excess fat removed) ● 330ml Corona
For the charred pineapple : ● Half a small fresh pineapple cut into small chunks ● 2 tbsp ancho chilli flakes ● Juice of half a lime For the red salsa : ● 4 ripe plum tomatoes ● 2 cloves of garlic ● 1 whole jalapeno or serrano chilli ● ¼ tsp fine salt ● 1 small onion finely chopped ● Lime juice to taste ● Half pack fresh coriander
For the tomatillo salsa : ● 200g tinned tomatillos ● 100g coriander leaves ● Half a lime juiced ● 1 tsp fine salt ● 2 garlic cloves finely sliced ● 2 serrano chillis, stem removed & chopped ● 1 avocado ● ½ small onion, diced
How you do it – This is a low and slow cook plus marinating time so crack on with the pork the day before you want to eat so you get as much flavour as possible in the meat. You will then be slow cooking for the majority of the day but fear not, it’s a whack it in the oven and forget about it kinda vibe. The beauty of this dish is that the pork gets even tastier and stickier if left to cool and reheated so you can make ahead of time. The salsas are quick and easy and when you slap it all together – it’s something special.
For the pork :
Combine all the ingredients bar the pork and beer in a zip lock bag large enough to fit the pork shoulder in. Give everything a good shake so all is mixed and then pop the pork into the bag. Seal and give it a good massage making sure the marinade well and truly covers it. Leave it overnight in the fridge to do its thing.
Remove the pork from the fridge one hour before cooking and preheat the oven to 160 degrees.
Place the pork in an oven proof pot with a lid, pour over any remaining marinade juices and pour in the beer. Pop the lid on and cook in the oven for 3 hours turning every hour or so.
After the three hours are up, remove from the oven and give it a good poke about, spooning over the juices to ensure it is well basted.
Turn the oven up to 200 and cook for another 3 hours. Check after two hours as depending on the meat and ferocity of your oven, cooking times can vary. You are looking for the meat to fall away from the bone. Once you have achieved this, pull the meat apart with tongs and discard the bones.
Return the meat to the pot and place on the hob on a medium heat until the sauce has reduced and the meat is caramelized & sticky (about 30/40 mins). (If you are cooking this ahead of time – do everything up to step 6. Complete this final step just before serving.)
For the tacos :
First up – to make the tortilla dough you can use a stand mixer with a dough hook or skip arm day on your virtual HIIT class and do it by hand. Put your flour, salt and baking powder in the bowl of your stand mixer (or large bowl) and create a small well in the middle. Pour in your oil and then slowly start to add in your warm water. Do this gradually so you can assess how the dough is coming, adding more water or flour if needed. Once everything is combined let the dough hook (or your arms) do the thing until the dough is smooth and elastic – 3 to 4 minutes with a machine, 7 to 10 without. If using masa flour then you do not need to knead for as long, just a minute will do the trick.
Portion out the dough by making golf ball size balls.
Cut your greaseproof paper into squares, 2 squares per ball, each square about 15cm wide.
Place a ball of dough in between 2 sheets of your squares of paper, lightly press down with your fingers to give him a little squidge. Either using a taco press or a rolling pin, roll your balls into discs about 12-15cm diameter.
Keeping the tacos in the greaseproof sheets (this is important so they don’t stick together), stack them and place to the side till ready to cook.
When ready to cook, heat a frying pan till hot, gently peel the greaseproof paper off one side of the taco using the other side to help place it into the pan. Once the uncovered side is in the pan, peel off the other sheet. The tacos will need 30 secs to a minute on each side, they are ready to flip when they start to puff up and char on the edges.
For the charred pineapple :
Place a frying pan over a high heat until hot.
Throw in the pineapple and keep moving round until lightly charred all over.
Remove from the heat and stir through lime juice and chilli flakes.
Keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days if not being eaten straight away. For the red salsa :
Heat a dry frying pan until hot and add the tomatoes, garlic and chilli till black patches appear all over.
Pop the charred ingredients into a blender and blitz to a pulp.
Stir through the diced onion, lime juice and coriander to taste. For the tomatillo salsa :
Drain the tomatillos and then pop them and all the other ingredients into a blender.
Blitz till smooth. To assemble, load your taco shells with the pork and a spoonful of pineapple. Drizzle over the salsas. Serve with fresh lime wedges, coriander leaves and pink pickled onions.
Since finishing up as a quarter finalist on MasterChef 2020, Hannah has embarked on a career as a private chef and food writer. Her brand WanderSups focuses on food created with love, inspired by journeys around the world, dished up on home turf. Her ethos is simple – have fun, enjoy it, make it an occasion. You can find specially curated playlists on Spotify to help create the full WanderSups experience. Find out what’s cooking via instagram @WanderSups or visit www.wandersups.com