The Taco Truck

November 16, 2009 9:38:20 AM PST
It's a kitchen on wheels, dressed up in orange. Jason Scott rolled out the "Taco Truck" this month.

It alternates locations between Jersey City and Hoboken.

Customers are already lining up to try homemade sauces and salsas.

The most popular dish is the carnitas michoan tacos, named for a Mexican city.

It's basically a braise of pork, onions, galic, spices, condensed milk and oranges.

After two hours of braising, the meat is piled onto a taco, along with your favorite toppings.

Customers say they love the convenience, and the great view where the truck parks.

The truck also runs on propane which is cleaner than gas or diesel.

It's just another part of the taco truck's eco friendly approach.

The Taco Truck CARNITAS RECIPE Chef Roberto Santibañez

To make tacos or tortas with Carnitas you first need to make the Carnitas! Here is a simple version for home cooks to produce tender pieces of pork that will be the closest thing in flavor and texture to the traditional Carnitas which are cooked in the enormous cooper pots in Mexico with the whole pig in the pot!!

Serves 8 regular portions, or enough for 24 to 32 tacos or around 10 Tortas Active time: 20 minutes Start to finish: 2 hours

4 lb fatty pork butt (shoulder), cut into 2-inch pieces 2 oz pork lard or vegetable oil 3 cups water ½ orange, cut into 2 pieces 1 medium white onion, thinly sliced 8 garlic cloves, peeled 2 teaspoons dried oregano, preferably Mexican 2 teaspoons fine salt (or 4 teaspoons coarse salt) 3 bay leaves 1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk

Put all the ingredients in a wide 6- to 7-quart heavy pot (don't worry if pork is not completely covered) and bring to a boil, skimming surface as necessary. Simmer vigorously over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the pork is tender and the liquid has completely evaporates, about 1 ½ hours. Discard the orange and bay leaves.

Lower the heat to medium and continue frying the pork in the fat left in the pan, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Carnitas keep in the refrigerator 3 days. If you prefer, you can do the browning in the oven (right away or when you reheat the carnitas) Preheat the oven to 450°F and cook until browned, 20 to 30 minutes.

TACOS DE CARNITAS: Shred the meat and serve warm in corn tortillas along with any salsa you like, like "salsa verde" extra chopped onion and cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice are always appreciated.

To make Tortas you will need the following ingredients:

Portuguese rolls or Teleras Melted butter Mexican Cream or "crema" (could use crème fraiche) Refried black beans (recipe follows or from a can) Avocados for slicing A small can of pickled jalapenos Thinly sliced white onions

If you live in an area where you have many Mexican stores or bakeries ask any Mexican person where you can buy a "Telera" the soft but somewhat crusty bread that we use traditionally in Mexico to make our tortas, or, for the closet flavor buy some Portuguese rolls.

Pre-heat a flat griddle or a cast iron skillet, Cut the breads open as for any sandwich and spread them with a thin coating of melted butter Place the rolls inside down on the griddle and toast the bread very lightly just to heat through.

Spread the bottom part with 2 tablespoons of refried black beans and the top with a thin layer of "crema" (around 2 teaspoons) Place 1 cup of the carnitas on top the beans-side, top with 2 or 3 slices of avocado, 1 tablespoon of onions, finish with 1 tablespoon salsa verde, put the lids on, press down lightly so that all ingredients come together, slice in half and enjoy while warm!