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Quick chipotle pork tacos

quick pork tacos
This is slightly adapted from Chipotle Pork Tacos by Our Best Bites. It’s a great dish to prep earlier in the day — or the night before — then throw together just before dinner. Even the prep is pretty easy, but once everything’s ready to go in the skillet, it cooks in minutes.
The original recipe calls for lime zest, lime juice and brown sugar. But to eliminate the sugar and still keep things tangy and sweet, I substituted orange for the lime. I think it tastes great, and it even got an enthusiastic thumbs up from the hubs, who usually isn’t too fond of citrus in meat dishes.
Recipe: Quick Chipotle Pork Tacos
Serves 4.
3 boneless pork loin chops, about 3/4 to 1″ thick (about 1 lb.)
1 ½ tsp grated orange zest
1 T. fresh orange juice
1/2 tsp dry oregano
1 – 2 tsp chopped chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ tsp kosher salt
2 T. olive oil, divided
1 c. thinly sliced onions
4 large whole wheat tortillas (or alternate of your choice)
sour cream for topping (optional)
chopped red or green onion and chopped cilantro for garnish, optional
Zest the orange with a fine grater, so that you get just the orange zest, not the white pith.
Combine orange zest and juice, oregano, chipotles, garlic, and salt. Set aside.
Trim the excess fat from the pork chops, then slice into strips about 1/2″ wide. Cut the longer strips in half.
Toss the pork strips with the orange juice mixture. At this point you can cover the pork and the onions with plastic wrap, and stick them in the fridge until you’re ready to cook.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 1 T olive oil. Add onions and sauté for four minutes or until tender.  Remove from pan and set aside. Add 1 T of olive oil to pan and add pork strips. Saute for 3-4 minutes or until no longer pink. I like to just leave them on one side until you see white creeping around the edges…
…and the first side is nicely browned, them flip them over. Be careful, though; you really don’t want to cook them a total of more than about four minutes, or they get too tough and chewy. It might help to take the pan off the heat while you turn them over, then return to heat for a minute or two to finish the second side.
Add pork to onions if you’ll serve from the table. At our house, everything goes back into the skillet, and we serve ourselves from there.
Warm tortillas up with the method of your choice, and fill with pork mixture. Top with sour cream and the garnish of your choice. A great side dish or topper: slightly spicy slaw.
quick pork tacos

Slightly spicy slaw: for pork or fish tacos

Slightly spicy slaw

I made these Chipotle Pork Tacos for dinner last night. I love that I can prep everything ahead, throw the pork in the marinade, and chill it while I go do other stuff. Then when it’s time to actually cook dinner, all I have to do is cook up the onions and pork — which just takes a few minutes — warm up the tortillas, and we’re good to go!

I wanted to get some vegetables on the plate, though, and I thought slaw sounded like a nice go-with. I surfed the net looking for a southwestern-y slaw recipe, but didn’t find anything that just fit the bill. So I improvised this, and it was a hit! Because I used half mayo, half sour cream, the mayo flavor doesn’t overwhelm. The spicy-sweet flavor and crispy-creamy texture of this slaw is the perfect complement to the tacos, in my opinion. I think it would also be great on fish tacos, with barbecue, or straight-up on its own. (Which is how I had it for lunch today.)

Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce comes in a little can, but it still takes me forever to use one up. (Spice wimp.) So after I’ve opened a can and used what I need for that recipe, I put the rest in a labeled glass jar and keep it in the fridge.

If you’ve never used chipotles in adobo sauce, here’s what you need to know: the sauce is fairly mild; the flesh of the peppers is quite a bit hotter, and the seeds are ridiculously hot. (To me, anyway. Consider the source.) So adjust what parts you use and the amount you use to your own tolerance for spiciness. Of course, it’s best to start mild, taste it, then add more if you so desire.

A little tip about slicing green onions: I’ve found that slicing them on the diagonal not only looks fancier, it also keeps the little buggers from rolling off the cutting board.

Slightly Spicy Slaw

1/4 cup mayo
1 teasp. chipotle chiles and/or adobo sauce (more if you like things spicy)
1 green onion
2 t. red wine vinegar or lime juice
1 pkt. Splenda or 2 teasp. sugar or 1.5 teasp. honey
1/8 teasp. salt – or just a few shakes
3 cup slaw-cut cabbage

Dice the chipotle pepper small, and remove any seeds. Slice the green onion thinly, discarding the roots and any wilty parts of the green.

Put everything except for the cabbage in a medium bowl, and stir till well blended. Then add the slaw and stir till all is well combined. Chill for 1-2 hours.

Use to top pork or fish tacos. A topping of cilantro highly recommended.

Serves 4.

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