We have a small but nice farmer’s market here on San Juan Island. It fills two sides of one long isle in the parking lot of the local community theatre and overlooks the masts in Friday Harbor. During the summer, this small gathering overflows with incredible aromas floating in the air mingled with the sounds of local musicians playing a blue grass tune or sometimes just the melody of a lone fiddle or horn player. The fare includes fresh organic vegetables, crafts, goat cheese, grass fed beef, organic eggs, oysters and clams; scones, cookies and breads from a local bakery and… tacos. A couple of years ago a booth showed up at the farmer’s market offering Coffee Braised Tacos. Attracted by the incredible aroma, I followed my nose to find a stand offering homemade tamales and those amazing tacos! I inquired if they were gluten-free and was delighted to find out they were! I was hooked at first bite and have never tasted anything that compares to the taste of these incredible tacos! The owner and chef, Pablito, opened a small restaurant, Pablitos Taqueria, last year featuring, you guessed it, Coffee Braised Tacos. Now I can enjoy these superb tacos all year long!
I’ve come up with a recipe that is close to Pablitos that I’d like to share. Admittedly, my recipe is not exactly the same, (Pablitos secret is safe!) but it is a close second. This recipe makes a lot, so just freeze the left over for another time.
Coffee Braised Pork Tacos
- 3 lbs pork butt or shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut into 1” pieces
- 4 Tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 10 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 6 canned chipotle chiles en abodo sauce (we found this gf), minced
- 2 cups gf chicken broth
- 2 cups very strong coffee
- 1-28oz can crushed tomatoes
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1/2 cup raisins
- Corn tortillas
- Cabbage, shredded
- Sour cream
- Black beans, drained and rinsed
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Season the pork with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large heavy oven-proof pot with lid over medium-high heat. Working in batches of 1 lb each, brown pork on all sides then remove to a plate and continue to brown remaining pork. Add a little more oil to the pot and sauté the onion until soft, then add garlic and chipotles. Cook until the garlic is fragrant then return the pork to the pot and toss with onion mixture, cinnamon and ground cloves. Add tomatoes, broth, coffee, bay leaves, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Place a sheet of heavy duty foil over the pot and press down until it touches the surface of the mixture; seal around the edges and place lid on pot, pressing down until it is secure. Place in oven and cook for 1 hour. Remove pot from oven and add raisins and stir; replace foil and lid and continue braising for 30 more minutes. When pork is done, remove the meat from the pot and shred with a fork. Place the pot on the stove over medium heat and reduce sauce to desired thickness, seasoning if necessary. Return pork to the sauce.
To make tacos:
Heat tortillas on a steel plate over high heat until softened. You can also heat in the microwave. Add Coffee Braised Pork to each tortilla and top with black beans, cabbage and a dollop of sour cream. Serve immediately.
- Chef Yvonne