a gluten-free pork mole taco with lettuce and radish on a black cutting board

Ahhhh, he just might be right after all.  No, not Winston, and certainly not Tom, but that pesky Groundhog.  Let’s just say, Phil let us down in our neck of the woods last year. But, signs of young green leaves (and even color) are popping up, and it was a gloriously sunny (but damn cold) day. So lets say Phil had a reprieve. I think he knew it was a special day for another furry friend.

So let’s bring on the warmth from the South and wipe down that kitchen window to let more light in!

This particular cut of pork, the loin cut, packs a punch of flavor and pulls apart in juicy moistness thanks to pressure cooking and Oaxacan Mole Sauce by Bunches of Bunches Provisions.

What’s this all about?

Well, I’m glad you asked!

Having had purchased two duck hindquarters during one of my binge grocery shopping trips, duck mole was on my mind! Wait, wasn’t she just talking about pork?!

Oh baby, these are the dinners (my) dreams are made of.

Imagine my disappointment when I found the duck showing signs that the grocery trip had been a few days longer ago than I thought…

Disappointed as I was that I had already worked up my dinner plans, only to make that unfortunate discovery, I swiftly (albeit begrudgingly) switched my focus to finding “plan B” (AKA, freezer diving for replacement meat). I wasn’t willing to exit the train to Mole Town so soon!

I scanned the freezer until I spied something promising and pulled out two, 2-inch thick cut fillets of pork loin and immediately went to work.

Thaw meat.

Put in Zip-lock bag.

Add stuff (in this case: Cara Cara orange skin (can also use blood orange or other sweet orange) and segments, plus 3 TB previously mentioned mole sauce).  

Let marinate (I didn’t have a lot of time to spare though, so rather than an overnight stay in the fridge, this concoction only took a one-hour soak).

Pat meat dry then brown the meat.

Add liquid (fresh-squeezed orange juice).

Pressure cook!

Add to taco shells with other good stuff.

Rapidemente!

Winston: “Hey, why did Mom throw out the duck?”
Zoe: “I don’t know; we like duck!”
Winston: “She knows you turned 11 today, right?”
Zoe: “Well, I’m not wearing my rain hat…” (editors note: FINALLY a sunny day in the PNW) Winston” “Happy birthday little sis. It looks like she made a special treat for us too!”

A big toast to my little Speedy Gonzales! Zoe turned a young 11 today and still only looks and acts like she is 3 1/2 years old!

Can we please throw a party?

Never one to miss a party! -GB

“Ginger (Princess) Bender: portrait by Bill Casto” (AKA, Grandpap)

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Mole Pork Tacos with smashed avocado, radish & lettuce

These can be made very quickly for an effortless week night dinner, but would easily be welcome for lunch, brunch or as part of a taco bar to serve to a crowd.

The pork is lean but flavorful and could also be used in quesadillas or stuffed poblanos just as well.

I am not one to use jarred sauces but Bunches of Bunches Provisions was a happy discovery! Now I can enjoy a more authentic Mexican meal without the traditional time intensive process.

  • Author: Stacey Bender

Ingredients

Scale

2 Cara Cara Oranges, torn into segments (with skin on)

3 TB (for marinade) + 1-2 TB (for cooked pork) Oaxacan Mole Sauce by Bunches of Bunches Provisions

1lb pork loin cut into 2 thick pieces

1 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice

Olive oil for browning

Hard taco shells (see note)

Crisp lettuce, cleaned, dried and sliced (approximately 1-2 leaves per taco)

Thinly-sliced radishes (approximately 1 radish per taco)

Avocado (approximately 1/8 large per taco)

1 tsp Fresh salsa per 1/4 avocado

Lime juice for seasoning

Sea salt and pepper for seasoning

Torn cilantro, cleaned and dried

Instructions

  1.  Squeeze the orange segments into a Ziplock bag and add 3 TB mole sauce. Add the pork, turning to coat. Squeeze out air, seal and put in refrigerator until ready to cook. You can let it sit overnight or if short on time, try to let it sit for at least 1 hour.
  2. Remove pork from bag (reserve marinade) and pat dry.
  3. In the bowl of an electric pressure cooker (or Instant Pot or sautè pan, brown pork in olive oil. If using an electric pressure cooker or Instant Pot, turn to high pressure and set time for 20 minutes. Pour over the 1/2 cup fresh orange juice and reserved marinade. Close the lid and press start.
  4. When the pressure naturally releases, open the lid, remove the orange segments and shred the pork with two forks; add a TB or more of the mole to taste.
  5. In a medium-small bowl, combine the avocado, sea salt, pepper, lime juice and salsa. Smash with a fork until combined but chunky. Stir in some chopped cilantro.
  6. Heat the taco shells in a 350-degree oven for 5-8 minutes.
  7. Put the pork down in the bottom of the shells first.
  8. Top with the lettuce, radish, then avocado smash.

Serve immediately!

Notes

I love San Juan Island brand salsa or Salsa Rosa brand, medium hot.

I like to add some additional torn, fresh cilantro on top.

I also like to drizzle some fresh crema over top. Simply mix plain yogurt or sour cream with fresh lime juice and/or a bit of water and stir well to get a good drizzling consistency.

Cabbage is also a fine substitute for lettuce.