Thursday, May 2, 2013
Recipe: Award-winnning pork tacos from Driftwood chef Omar Flores
They are time-intensive but totally worth it.
When Omar Flores arrived to the North Texas Taco Festival on April 20, he had in his possession what might be considered a secret weapon – pork skins. Boiled, dehydrated, fried, and seasoned, these pork skins would eventually adorn Flores’ Braised Pork and Chicharrón Tacos – the same tacos that would win the NTTF Taco Throwdown.
But if the chicharrónes were the secret ingredient, then what of the salsa verde and the pickled onions that Flores, executive chef at Driftwood, made in his kitchen? And he wasn’t the only competitor to make his own tortillas, but those certainly helped, too. It would seem that there wasn’t a single secret, but rather, the creativity behind these tacos as well as the ties to traditionalism were what earned Flores the title – and the fact that they taste incredible certainly didn’t hurt, either.
We asked Omar for his winning recipe, and he was kind enough to oblige. They’re labor intensive, and can’t be made in a single day (at least not if you make your own chicharrónes) but every single bite is an affirmation that they’re well worth the effort.
Recipe: Braised Pork and Chicharrón Tacos
YIELD: 16-20 Tacos (6-8 Servings)
Driftwood Chef Omar Flores shares the recipe that won him the title at the North Texas Taco Festival's Taco Throwdown.
4 pounds (1.8 kg) pork butt
1 teaspoon coriander toasted and ground
1 teaspoon cumin toasted and ground
1 tablespoon lard
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup water (if needed)
2 serrano chilies
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 white onion chopped
1 tablespoon garlic minced
6 poblanos roasted and peeled
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 red onion, julienned (for the pickled onions)
1 cup Seville orange juice (for the pickled onions)
1/2 cup lime juice (for the pickled onions)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (for the pickled onions)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (for the pickled onions)
2 cups masa harina (for the tortillas)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (for the tortillas)
2 tablespoons lard (for the tortillas)
1.5 cups warm water (for the tortillas)
1 pound (455 g) pork skin (for the chicharrónes)
1/4 cup kosher salt (for the chicharrónes)
1 tablespoon chili powder (for the chicharrónes)
Mexican sour cream
Queso fresco, crumbled
Salt and pepper
1. Pork Butt: Break pork butt down into 4 pieces. Season liberally with cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper.
2. Pork Butt: In a hot rondeau or Dutch oven, add lard and pork and brown on all sides.
3. Pork Butt: Remove pork and add quartered tomatillos, onions, garlic, and serranos. Sweat ingredients.
4. Pork Butt: Add pork back in; add chicken stock until meat is covered half way. Cover and cook in a 275 degree oven for 6-8 hours.
5. Pork Butt: Meanwhile, place poblanos under a broiler and char them, cover with plastic wrap until cool and peel and de-seed.
6. Pork Butt: Once pork is cooked, remove and skim fat.
7. Pork Butt: Transfer sauce and vegetables into a food processor, add poblanos, cilantro, and lime juice. Process until smooth, and add the sauce back to pork. Keep warm.
8. Pickled Onions: In a non-reactive sauce pan add lime juice, orange juice, vinegar, and sugar. Cook until warm and sugar is dissolved. Pour over onions and allow to cool in the refrigerator.
9. Tortillas: In a mixing bowl combine masa and lard, cut lard. Roll into small balls, press in a tortilla press lined with plastic wrap.
10. Tortillas: Add salt and warm water, combine thoroughly and allow to set covered for 30 minutes.
11. Tortillas: Roll into small balls, press in a tortilla press lined with plastic wrap.
12. Tortillas: Stack with parchment paper and cook in a hot greased skillet. Keep Warm wrapped in a towel.
13. Chicharrónes: Boil pork skins in salted water for one hour. Scrape excess fat from underneath the skin and place on a wire rack.
14. Chicharrónes: Place the pork skins in an oven set to the lowest temp and allow to dehydrate for 16-18 hours. Alternatively, you can place them in a food dehydrator set at 150 degrees for 16-18 hours.
15. Chicharrónes: Once dehydrated, deep fry at 400 degrees until crispy, season immediately.
16. Assembly: Take a warm tortilla and spoon some of the pork in the center. Top with crema, queso, onions, cilantro, and crispy pork skins.
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