We often pull out the slow cooker to help us get hearty soups and stews on the dinner table in the winter, but slow cookers are equally helpful during the hot summer months.
This week’s recipe uses the slow cooker to cook up a sweet and spicy pork filling for tacos, and using the slow cooker to make the filling keeps my kitchen cool.
There are a few options when it comes to the pork for the filling. You can use a boneless pork shoulder, boneless country-style pork ribs, pork loin or pork tenderloin. I almost always have pork loin and tenderloins in my freezer, so I use one of those. If you use pork shoulder or country-style ribs the dish will be higher in fat, but the fat adds flavor and makes the filling a bit more succulent.
Boneless, skinless chicken breast halves or boneless chicken thighs can be used in place of the pork.
The meat is seasoned with garlic salt, freshly ground black pepper and dried oregano. I don’t specify amounts, but be sure not to over-season with the oregano because too much will make the filling bitter. If you prefer more exact measurements, use 1 teaspoon of garlic salt and half a teaspoon each of the pepper and oregano.
The pork is combined with a jar of salsa verde. This ingredient is one I keep on hand in my pantry. It is a not-too-spicy salsa with a base of tomatillos that we enjoy with tortilla chips. I also use it to whip up simple enchiladas verde with tortillas, shredded rotisserie chicken meat, sour cream and shredded Monterey Jack cheese.
The salsa verde and a little chopped fresh jalapeno provide the spicy flavor in the taco filling, and a can of pineapple tidbits and a little brown sugar give the filling just the right amount of sweetness.
The filling simmers all day, and then you shred the meat with two forks and it’s ready to serve. I like to layer the filling in flour tortillas with a little sour cream, diced tomato, shredded cheese, lettuce and chopped cilantro. A squeeze of lime juice over the top brightens the flavor of the tacos.
2-3 pounds of pork loin, pork shoulder, boneless country style pork ribs or
pork tenderloin, cut into chunks
Garlic salt, freshly ground black pepper and dried oregano, to taste
1 16-ounce jar salsa verde
1 8-ounce can pineapple tidbits, drained
2 tablespoons light-brown sugar
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1 fresh jalapeno, seeded and chopped
Flour tortillas, sour cream, diced tomatoes, shredded cheese, shredded lettuce and chopped cilantro and lime wedges, for serving
SWEET AND SPICY PORK TACOS
Place pork into a slow cooker and sprinkle cubed pork with garlic salt, freshly ground black pepper and dried oregano. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 6-8 hours.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the pork to a bowl or platter. Use two forks to shred the pork and then return to the slow cooker.
Allow everyone to prepare their own taco, topping a flour tortilla with pork and then adding sour cream, tomatoes, cheese, lettuce and chopped cilantro to their taste. Squeeze a lime wedge over the top, if desired.
The recipe makes enough to serve six to eight adults about two tacos each, and leftovers can be frozen.