Sunday 13 February 2011

Spicy pork and tortillas

A couple of weeks back we had our first go at making a meal based around the Mexican-style tortilla (based on some useful advice from my blogging friend Fer, of My Little Garden In Japan ). Having decided that masa (dough) made with the sort of fine polenta we had available was not going to work, we eventually made our tortillas with plain flour, and they turned out just fine.

This week we used a different recipe, which we found in the March 2011 edition of the BBC Good Food Magazine, to make tortillas with masa made of a mixture of plain flour and polenta, with the addition of some baking powder, salt and vegetable oil. This produced a masa that was much easier to work with. It had more elasticity, and neither crumbled nor stuck. We were able to produce some fairly respectable tortillas (by British standards, that is!).

These tortillas (and others like them) formed the basis for a lovely meal, but the star of the show was the meat. This was a slow-cooked spicy pork dish - cooked for about four hours, until so tender that it was almost literally falling apart. The meat (pork shoulder) was cooked in a sauce based on onions with a load of aromatic and spicy flavourings: cinnamon, cloves, chilli, smoked paprika, dried oregano, garlic, etc. Just before serving the meat was flaked into slivers, using a couple of forks. I think this is what in the USA and Mexico is referred to as Pulled Pork. We thought the pork was absolutely lovely! The cinnamon and clove flavours were pleasantly surprising.

As you can see, our "Spiced Pork and Tortillas" dish was accompanied by a fresh salsa made with cherry tomatoes, avocados, spring onions, chillis and lime juice, along with some soured cream.

P.S. The tortilla-press made the business of producing tortillas of the right size and thickness very easy. I'm glad we bought it (and lugged it all the way home from Vancouver!)

This recipe is strongly recommended! By the time you read this it may be on the BBC Good Food website. It was called "Cornmeal pancakes with spiced pork and avocado salsa".


  1. I admire your talent and attitude for cooking!
    I love tacos with fine tortillas, hot-spicy salsa and fresh vegetables like tomatoes but your dish, pork boiled for 4 hours, shows a different attraction of tortillas.
    I've added your "Chili badge" in my blog so please check it out!

  2. Nice Mark! The spices with the pork seem to have a north african influence. I bet it was delicious!

    Sometimes I take the large hispanic population here a little for granted, tortillas are everywhere and the masa is available at most groceries. Want me to send you some? PM me....

  3. Lovely tortillas...the photo of your meal on plate...very colorful and very tempting!

  4. Oh yes, I love pulled pork, but I've never been able to achieve it... we don't call it that here either, just pork that's so tender it's falling apart, but what a great expression it is.

    Yours looks fabulous, and congratulations on some pretty good looking tortillas too.

  5. I never tried to make tortillas. I usualy buy them. Yours look great and that pork just looks so incredibly juicy!!!

  6. Looks like a delicious meal Mark. I love pork shoulder, we ate it yesterday conventionally flavoured with garlic and herbs, but I love the spicy versions too. Its my favourite joint of pork now, so moist, and crazily so much cheaper than leg! No carving required either, which given how cack-handed I am is another bonus. Will be checking out the recipe.

  7. Mark... I'm hungry just looking at that dinner!!!!


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