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Pork Tacos, Dallas Gas Station Style & Austin-Style Black Beans {The Homesick Texan Cookbook Spotlight & Cook-Off}

45 comments /
When I was offered the chance to host a Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off featuring the upcoming cookbook by Lisa Fain, The Homesick Texan, I jumped at the opportunity!  I have been a fan of her blog and her food for a long time now...and most of  you know of my affinity for Tex-Mex food (it sits pretty close to Mexican as my favorite).  While I want to make pretty much every single thing in the book, I figured I needed to start somewhere, and where better to begin than with some tacos.  Fain's description of "Dallas's gas station taco belt" with offerings that range from picadillo to tongue reminded me of the taquerias in my own town.  Stuffed with flavorful, savory fillings and sprinkled with the usual cilantro and onion...with the addition of a roasted jalapeño like we often include at home...I had a hunch these would go over well at our house.  And they did.  These little cubes of porky goodness just melted in your mouth.  With a side of some tasty black beans (done Austin-style), we happily licked our fingers at the picnic table while washing everything down with cold cervezas and Jarritos.
Pork Tacos, Dallas Gas Station Style
adapted from The Homesick Texan Cookbook
makes 4-6 servings


for the pork
4 pasilla chiles, stemmed and seeded
2 lbs. pork shoulder, cut into ½" chunks
1 canned chipotle in adobo
4 garlic cloves
½ tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. ground cumin
small pinch ground cloves
¼ c. orange juice
¼ c. pineapple juice
1 Tbs. white vinegar
2 Tbs. olive oil
salt, to taste
1 Tbs. vegetable oil

for the tacos
6 jalapeños
tortillas, flour or corn
cilantro, chopped
yellow onion, small dice
1 lime, cut into wedges/slices
Toast pasillas in a dry skillet over high heat for ~10 seconds per side, or until they start to puff and change colors.  Fill skillet with enough water to cover chiles and bring to a boil.  Turn off heat and let chiles rehydrate until soft, ~30 minutes.

Place re-hydrated chiles in blender (discard soaking liquid) along with the chipotle, garlic, oregano, cumin, cloves, orange juice, pineapple juice, vinegar, and olive oil.  Blend to a smoth purée.  Add salt to taste.  Toss pork with purée (I put everything into a gallon ziploc bag).  Let sit in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.

Before cooking, let pork sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.  Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Fry pork in the skillet for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Now...when it comes to pork shoulder, my personal preference is a longer cooking time, otherwise the meat is a bit chewy and tough. So, after the pork cooked down for 15 minutes, I added two cups of water, covered the pan and let it simmer down.  I repeated this for one hour, adding more water as needed, until the pork wound up just coated with the "sauce" as it was after the first 15 minutes.  The pork was super tender and retained the fantastic flavor that (I believe) was intended.

While pork is cooking, place jalapeños under broiler and cook for ~10 minutes, or until blackened, turning once.  Serve pork in warm tortillas, topped with cilantro and onions, along with the roasted chiles and lime wedges...and salsa, if you like.
Austin-Style Black Beans
from The Homesick Texan Cookbook
makes 8-10 svgs.


1 lb. dried black beans
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo, chopped
½ c. cilantro, divided
½ tsp. ground cumin
1 Tbs. tomato paste
¼ c. lime juice
salt, to taste

Rinse and sort through beans, discarding any stones or shriveled beans.

Place beans in a large pot and cover with 1" of water.  Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes.

Drain and rinse the beans in a colander in the sink.

Return the empty pot to the stove and on medium-low heat, warm the vegetable oil.  Add onions and carrots to pot and cook until onions are translucent, stirring occasionally, ~8 minutes.  Add garlic and cook another 30 seconds.

Return beans to the pot along with the chipotles and half of the cilantro.  Cover with 2" water, bring to a boil, then turn heat down to low and simmer uncovered for ~1½ hours.

Add remaining cilantro, cumin, tomato paste, and lime juice.  Season to taste with salt.  Cook uncovered for another 30 minutes, or until beans are tender all the way through (will vary depending on the freshness of your beans).  When done, smash a few beans against the side of the pot with a spoon to thicken, if you wish.  Stir and serve.
*This post is part of The Homesick Texan Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off sponsored by Hyperion and hosted (right here!) at girlichef*

The Homesick Texan Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off Banner


I am also sharing this post with:
Tasty Tuesdays 33 shades of green PeppersTuesdaysTastyTidbits TastyTuesdayBB a little birdie told me rook no. 17

45 comments

  1. Omg, makes me homesick for Dallas and Austin!

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  2. Looks wonderful :) I really enjoyed this assignment (dinner last night). This is such an amazing cookbook!!!

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  3. De esto es para comerse unos cuantos. Saludos

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  4. YUM. I would never have imagined that gas stations could make something that looks this good!

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  5. OMG - nothin' like GOOD roadhouse food ... we can't get tacos like that east of the Mississippi. You have to make them yourself! These look sooo good!

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  6. ohman! I can tell I'm going to l-o-v-e LOVE this cookbook. Looks wonderful Heather.

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  7. Hi Heather,
    When I made these Pork Tacos, I really think they may be better than the ones at the Gas Station, which I have had many times. Your presentation is awesome! Thanks for sharing and hope you are having a great day.
    Miz Helen

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  8. Wow, what I wouldn't give for a plate of those tacos! The pork filling looks so good and the black beans have me salivating very early in the morning. I haven't even had my morning coffee for heaven's sake. Yummy post, Heather.

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  9. Great post; you really described your love of food you are re creating; looks wonderful and would love to try this.
    Rita

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  10. Wow! Just wow! I can almost smell the peppers under the broiler.

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  11. Drool!!! :P Everything looks so good! The pork tacos looks so saucy and the beans look like something I could eat everyday! :P I know what I'm having for lunch tomorrow.

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  12. Tacos in Texas Gas Stations and Texas Flea Markets are mouth watering. They also make really huge gorditas at gas stations.

    Great Pictures Heather!

    Saludos,

    Mely

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  13. Making mine tomorrow... You've set the standard!

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  14. I love tacos greatly, are exquisite and very beautiful, hugs.

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  15. Yummy!! the first pic is killer!! I love the book! I have been toting it around in my purse to galnce at it any chance i get, lol

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  16. I love Tex-Mex too - and that recipe looks just mouthwatering! Thank you for bringing The Homesick Texan Cookbook to my attention - my heaving bookshelves won't thank you, but I do!

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  17. Ah, that looks good. I ought to have made the pork tacos.....Really nice post here.

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  18. sounds good! thx


    Here's my chocolate caramel bar recipe: http://ordinaryinspirations.blogspot.com/2011/08/chocolate-caramel-gooey-bars.html

    Traci @ Ordinary Inspirations

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  19. These look SINFULLY good. I love tacos, and they happen to be my best friend's favorite food, so I think I'll be giving these a try asap! :)

    ~Rosie

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  20. I was actually a little worried about the pork shoulder being tough too, so cut mine a little on the smaller side. It all looks great!

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  21. @Bo...yes, I should have stated the fact that mine weren't really as small as ½" chunks. I usually buy a pork butt/shoulder once a month and then cut it up into 2" chunks and freeze bags by the pound (or so). Since I wanted to use what I already had, I was really just breaking down my chunks a bit and they didn't end up quite as small as called for. So, had I done that, it may not have needed that extra cooking time I gave it =)

    So yes, adjust time accordingly depending on how big your chunks of pork are to anybody who is paying attention... =)

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  22. Yum! I'm going to post tomorrow :)

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  23. I can't imagine finding such delicious food at a gas station. Rubbery sandwiches come to mind at our locals.

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  24. I juts love the way you talk about food. Just your words makes me drool and then you add all these lovely photos.

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  25. I love the juices wth the pork - never think to buy a pork shoulder (don't roll your eyes). Your black beans are some of the best I've seen.

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  26. My mouth is swooning over these! All these fabulous flavors in one delicious taco shell...not sure my tastebuds could handle it!

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  27. Yumm! I love tacos that are a little outside-the-box :)

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  28. Fabulous combination. I just adore the idea of those beans... haven't had these flavors since moving here and missing them! Great that Gerry (Foodness Gracious) got involved too. Just saw his linked post over there.

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  29. That cookbook has been on my want list, and it just moved up a few notches!! Yum!

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  30. The tacos look and sound incredible but I'm saving this post for the beans! Those will be made SOON!

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  31. Yum Yum Yum! This looks fantastic! I'm excited to start cookin' tomorrow!

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  32. These tacos would do very well around here too...my guys love their tacos :) The beans look fantastic as well, sounds like a great cookbook.

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  33. This has to be great because that marinade is packing flavors! What a great meal.

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  34. Love your lime wedges...oops...missed that!! And I love the Fiesta ware.

    Having a great time with this project!! Thanks again!

    Denise

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  35. Delicious post, Heather! Your instructions and excitement are greatly appreciated!

    Thanks for sharing...

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  36. Delicious! My friends from Colorado are arriving tomorrow, and this would be a great meal to serve. I hope you are having a relaxing end to your week. I'm about to start my long weekend, and I'm feeling quite content with some cookies, your blog and a glass of milk. Love and hugs!

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  37. Your pictures definitely do these tacos some justice. These were remarkable! Thanks for picking them.

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  38. I regret not being able to make the tacos, they look awesome!

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  39. Great picks for week one. Both recipes were really good. Your pictures are wonderful too--I love all of the color. ;-)

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  40. Absolutely delicious! What a tasty way to kick off your book spotlight - I'm looking forward to reading this book!

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  41. Can you really get tacos like that at a gas station in Dallas? If so, the ones here in LA have some stiff competition!!

    ~Lizzy

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  42. Isn't it funny that gas stations and random little taco trucks can sometimes have better food than the best restaurants? That's what I run into where I live, at least... These look great!

    ~Sara

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  43. Looks so good, and I love that it has cilantro in it. I seem to be addicted to that stuff!

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