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Pork off the fork

By Unna Burch aka The Forest Cantina

After my husband and I visited Mexico City and saw what Mexican food was all about, it really inspired me to create some of this cuisine myself. It was nothing like I thought it would be. It was a thousand times better and incredibly complex. If a few words could describe Mexican food, for me it’s ‘layers of flavours’. That’s really what Mexican food is all about. The best food I ate in Mexico was at markets and on the streets.

This recipe (pulled pork tacos with guajillo chilli salsa and pineapple) is about creating street food at home. With these tacos you get the layers of flavours I’m talking about – with the slow cooked pork, then the freshness from the salsa, sweetness from the pineapple, acidity from the lime…it’s all there!

The Guajillo chillis aren’t too hot. They have more of a sweet flavor with a warm heat – perfect if you’re like me, cooking for kids also. But the addiction of the fresh chillies gives it a bit of punch. I make the salsa, take out a portion for the kids and then add tobacco to taste to give it the extra kick we like. If you can’t find Guajillos, I’ve made this salsa before with tinned chipotles too, but they are much better hotter and with a paprika-like flavour to them. 

Pulled Pork tacos with guajillo chilli salsa and pineapple


Makes approx 20 tacos. Each person would need 3-4 each

2kg free range pork shoulder, bone in or leg or pork roast works well too. But I prefer with bone in for more flavour. 
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon chilli flakes 
1 teaspoon smoked paprika 
1 teaspoon salt and pepper 

For the guajillo chilli salsa: 
4 dried guajillo chillis (available from Moore Wilson’s)
2 fresh long red chillis, stalks chopped off, seeds in
1x 400g can tomatoes
1 red onion 
5 cloves garlic 
Coriander stalks from 1 bunch 
1 teaspoon salt 
1 heaped teaspoon brown sugar 
½ cup water 
(tabasco to taste at the end) 

To serve 
2 x 12 packs of corn tortillas 
1 fresh pineapple, skin and core removed, diced 
1 bunch coriander, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons lime juice
+ Extra limes to serve 
1 small red onion, finely sliced into half moons
100g feta (similar texture to Mexican cheese, Cotija) 
Punnet of rocket microgreens 
2 avocado, diced 
Hot sauce of your choice – my fave at the mo is the jalapeno one from Lucky Taco


For the pork
1. Rub the pork with a little oil. Mix all of the dry ingredients together and massage over the pork. Leave for at least 30 minutes – or, as I did, overnight in the fridge.
2. Preheat oven to 150°C. Cook the pork in a roasting tin with ½ cup water on the bottom, covered with tin foil. Roast for 3-4 hours OR until pork pulls away easily with a fork. Remove from roasting tin, rest on a board covered with foil for 10 minutes. Pull pork with two forks. Cover and keep warm.

For the salsa
Soak the dried chilies in boiling water for 15 minutes to rehydrate and soften them. Remove stalks and seeds and chop roughly. Blend the chillies and the rest of the ingredients together in a food processor until smooth. Put into a large frying pan and reduce to intensify flavours for 15 mins on a medium heat. Season with salt to taste. Add tabasco if you want more kick.

For the pineapple
Combine the pineapple, coriander, onion and 2 tsp lime juice in a bowl. 

To assemble 
1. Warm the tortillas in a hot skillet, by first dipping them in water then pan frying for 30 seconds on each side. Remove and keep warm in a tea towel (this will help them get softer too). 
2. Take a tortilla and spread it generously with the guajillo chilli salsa. Add some pork and then some pineapple mix on top, followed by the avocado, feta and micro rocket. Extra hot sauce if you feel the need to be hardcore. 

I like to set everything out on the table in bowls and dishes and have everyone dig in for a build your own taco night! 

And to drink?

Our friends at Emerson’s suggest their Orange Roughy Hazy Tropical Pale Ale as a beer match.

Greg says, ‘Orange Roughy Hazy Tropical Pale Ale was originally brewed for the Port Chalmers Seafood Festival, to bring awareness to the modern-day sustainable fishing practices of the Orange Roughy fish – now it is just a bloody good beer.
Hazy is the new thing man, Orange Roughy is an amazing cloudy pale ale with tropical fruit flavours that work so well with the layers of lime acidity and the sweetness of guajillo chilli salsa. The Orange Roughy enhances the rich flavours of the pulled pork bringing the whole dish together … wow what a match!’

First published in Capital issue #16
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