Cuban Street Tacos

Now, don’t be getting your hopes up.

(Though I think if you follow my advice and do-nots, you probably would get an amazing dish.)

Anyways, we’re backtracking a little, and talking about Hubs’ birthday dinner.  Now, as I mentioned in the last post, I put together this dish the morning of Hubs’ day in the crock pot.  We were looking forward to sharing it with some very good friends for dinner.

Well, that was before.

Before I started not feeling well.

Before we made the mistake decision to have take-out Chinese for lunch.

Before our friends cancelled on us.

So, as dinner time rolled around, we were pretty much ambivalent about dinner.  Frankly, we were still fairly full from lunch – and were very overwhelmed by the complex aroma coming from the crock pot.  So, Hubs made an executive birthday decision: we’d save the tacos for the next night and have a light dinner instead.

Here was our exciting meal:

(No, you are not mistaken – peanut butter and jelly with Doritos.  What can I say, we were reliving our teenage youth.  And darn, it tasted good!)

Anyways, I’m telling you this because I’m thinking letting the meat stew in the juices overnight may not have been the best idea…

The Recipe:

Cuban Street Tacos, adapted slightly from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

4-lb boneless pork butt or boneless pork top loin roast, cut into 2-inch chunks

1 T kosher salt

1 T canola or vegetable oil

2 c chicken broth or stock

1/2 t pepper

1 t ground cumin

1 t chili powder

1 t dried oregano

2 bay leaves

3 large garlic cloves, minced

1 jalapeño, minced

1 onion, peeled and halved

juice of 1 lime

1 medium orange, halved and juice, rinds reserved

Rub the pieces of pork all over with salt. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Heat oil in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, until the oil is shimmering and hot.  Add the pork and sear each piece on all sides, working in batches, if needed.  Once browned, remove the pork to the slow cooker.  Into the same pot used to sear the pork, pour in the water and chicken stock, scraping the bottom of the pan with a flat-edged spatula or wooden spoon to get up all the delicious brown bits from the bottom.  Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a simmer.  Pour the mixture over the pork in the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours, until the pork is very tender.

Remove the bay leaves, onion and orange rinds from the pot and discard.  Remove the pork and place in a bowl and set aside.  Pour the liquid from the slow cooker into a pot on the stove and over high heat, bring the mixture to a boil.  Let the mixture boil until it reduces to about 1 cup and is thickened slightly, about 10 -15 minutes.

Shred the pork and place on a large patter.  Spoon the sauce over the pork.  Serve in tortillas garnished with onions, cilantro, cheese, sour cream, guacamole and additional lime wedges, if desired.

{Printable Recipe}

The Results:

So, after this cooked for about seven hours, I turned it off, let it cool, and placed it in the refrigerator.

The next day, about an hour before we were going to eat, I placed it back in the slow cooker and turned it on high – and then followed the rest of the directions given.

I shredded the fork-tender pork, tasting a bit to make sure it was warm.  And let me tell you – it was amazing!  The mix of orange, jalapeno, and all the spices made for a treat for the tongue.

As I was sampling shredding the pork, I had the sauce simmering away on the stove top.  Once it had reduced quite a bit, I spooned some all over the gorgeous pork.  (Big mistake.  Big.  Huge.)

(Oh, and 10 points if you can name that quote.)

See, what I forgot to do is the most important thing you can do when cooking: taste your food.

Thinking things were still all wonderful, I plated up some amazing looking tacos.

It wasn’t until I took a huge bite that I realized something was seriously wrong.

Apparently, as the sauce had simmered, and the liquid evaporated, it got salty.  And I mean salty; as in spit-out-your-bite, salty.  As in the whole batch was ruined, salty… all that mouth-watering pork I’d tasted, ruined.

Let’s just say I was not happy.

I also want to say that I have made several of Mel’s recipes and they have all turned out perfectly.  So, I’m betting I did something wrong: whether it was leaving it sit overnight, using too much salt, or I don’t know.  So, I’m thinking if this sounds good to you, you should definitely still try it.

Just be sure to taste everything before you add, mix, or serve it.

(And yes, we did have pb&j again.)


Be sure to enter my giveaway for a $20 gift card to Williams-Sonoma… check out this post for more information.  :)

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19 thoughts on “Cuban Street Tacos

  1. Sinful Baker June 18, 2012 at 10:31 am Reply

    “You work on commission, right?” – Pretty Woman!!!

    Sorry to hear about the mishap. I eat PB&J sandwiches even when everything has gone right! My hats off to you for making such great meals for your family!

  2. Sawsan@ Chef in disguise June 18, 2012 at 10:52 am Reply

    Pretty woman :)
    Oh how I hate it when a recipe that was going so well takes a turn for the worse

  3. filingawaycupcakes June 18, 2012 at 12:23 pm Reply

    So sorry about your mishap:[[[ I love doritos though:] Cool ranch tho.

  4. Beth June 18, 2012 at 12:40 pm Reply

    Poor you! At least it makes a good story!

  5. Mel June 18, 2012 at 12:55 pm Reply

    That’s such a bummer! I’m so sorry it was salty. I’m guessing it had something to do with the overnight rest. That’s the worst to have to throw out food!

  6. Choc Chip Uru June 18, 2012 at 1:17 pm Reply

    It’s the worst when there is a mishap my friend but the idea is so cool :)

    Choc Chip Uru

  7. Martyna @ Wholesome Cook June 18, 2012 at 2:19 pm Reply

    Aw, I’m only just catching up on your posts… Happy Birthday to Hubs. Don’t worry about the tacos being too salty, I reckon he loved the pb&j sandwiches and Doritos so much he had forgotten all about the salty tacos! PS its happened to me a while ago with soy sauce chicken… Hard to eat!

  8. Yudith @ Blissfully Delicious June 18, 2012 at 5:33 pm Reply

    Oh no :( I never know what to do with over-seasoned dish, especially if it’s salty. PB&J is always a good backup.

  9. ChgoJohn June 18, 2012 at 7:26 pm Reply

    Gee, Courtney. That’s too bad. You’re right about tasting your food but, to be honest, I never would have thought that the sauce could go so wrong. And I have to admit, a PG&J sounds pretty good. It’s been ages …

  10. Bam's Kitchen June 19, 2012 at 3:05 am Reply

    Darn that is too bad and looks so good in the pictures. I would have never had known. I don’t know about you but I am kind of partial to PBJ’s.

  11. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide June 19, 2012 at 5:01 am Reply

    Hey, it’s always good to have a fall back!

  12. Kristy June 19, 2012 at 3:35 pm Reply

    Darn it…I don’t think my comment posted. Long story short, I love this! Doritos are a weakness of mine and we have meals like this weekly. Fortunately tonight I’m coming home to your tilapia! We’re hooked. :)

  13. Norma Chang June 19, 2012 at 4:54 pm Reply

    If the broth/stock used were well seasoned then adding the 1T salt was probably a bit too much. The plated taco looks delicious though, who would have thought it was not.

  14. Just A Smidgen June 19, 2012 at 9:38 pm Reply

    That’s so disappointing when that happens.. I’m not expert on recovering dishes.. but I could have sworn I read somewhere that you can put a peeled potato into a salty dish and it soaks up the salt?? Well.. never mind, onto the next dish, I say!! xo Smidge

    • Just A Smidgen June 19, 2012 at 9:39 pm Reply

      I forgot to ask if you’re feeling better??

      • Courtney June 21, 2012 at 6:46 pm

        It’s a long story, but I am doing better. :)

      • Just A Smidgen June 21, 2012 at 10:16 pm

        Glad to hear it :D

  15. Geni - Sweet and Crumby June 20, 2012 at 12:18 pm Reply

    So sad. I hate when I have worked hard to make dinner and it’s a total bust. It’s so frustrating but I DO love a good PBnJ, especially when I have some really good jelly on hand like summer blueberry. Mmmmmm….. At least you had it on whole wheat bread. Can we call it a health food now?

  16. [...] think that it’s a sandwich with a side of chips, as shows [...]

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