1 cup orange juice
¼ cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons Southwest seasoning (or a mix of garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and hot pepper powder)
3 pounds pork shoulder cut into 2” cubes (aka Boston butt or pork butt)
Non-stick pan spray
5 large peeled garlic cloves, left whole
1 large Spanish onion, peeled and cut into 8 wedges
2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
2 tablespoons pork lard
¼ cup vermouth or white wine
4 fresh parsley stems, with tops
1 small bunch scallions, roots trimmed off
12 mint leaves
1 teaspoon dry fennel
1 teaspoon dry tarragon
1 28-ounce can kitchen ready crushed tomatoes (we use Pastene or Cento)
3 serrano chilies chopped, no seeds
6” corn tortillas
¼ cup vegetable oil
Refried beans (see here) or canned
Pickled red onion (see here)
4 hard-boiled eggs (see here), cut into quarters
2 fresh ripe avocados, cut into wedges or mashed
Mexican Cotija cheese or fresh farmers cheese
Cilantro, for garnish
Lime wedges, for garnish
Preheat oven to its highest temperature. (Ours was set to 550 degrees F.)
Mix the orange, lemon and lime juice with the Southwest seasoning and place in a gallon zipper seal bag. Add pork and marinate one hour.
While pork is marinating, char garlic and onions by lining a sheet tray with foil then liberally spraying with non-stick pan spray. Add onions and garlic and spray the garlic and onions with the non-stick pan spray.
Roast for 15 minutes, remove garlic and turn onions and roast for 15 more minutes. Both will be charred, with burned edges on the onions. (This is what we want for this dish.) Set aside. Turn oven off.
Discard marinade after one hour and pat pork dry. Season with 1 ½ teaspoons of the salt.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium high and add lard. Heat until smoking hot and add half the pork and sear on all sides, about five minutes. Remove to a platter and sear the second batch and remove.
Deglaze with the vermouth.
Once all of the vermouth has evaporated, add pork back in with any juices.
Tie the scallions and parsley and mint together with butcher’s twine and add to pork.
Add fennel, tarragon, tomatoes, chilies, remaining teaspoon of salt, and reserved garlic and onions to the pork and bring to a bubble to heat the ingredients.
Place in preheated oven for 2 ½ hours covered, stirring half way through cooking. After fully cooked, remove and discard tied herb and scallion bundle. Leave pork in cubes, not shredded.
While the pork is cooking, prepare all of the toppings by pickling the onions, cooking the eggs, etc.
To assemble, heat the oil in a small sauce pan to hot. Using tongs, place one tortilla at a time into hot oil for 5-10 seconds per side to soften. Remove to paper towels.
If you cook them longer, they will crisp up. If that is what you want, you can place them over a small glass or cup after frying so the edges hang down and cool into that taco shell shape.
Warm the refried beans and smear inside the shell. Add the cooked pork (left in cubes) with a little of the sauce, sliced or mashed avocado, pickled red onion, a hard-boiled egg wedge, Mexican cheese and the cilantro and lime wedge garnish.