Tacos: Hongo / Mushroom Al Pastor

IMG_1758Sometimes the hardest part about posting recipes is not the recipe at all – it’s the intro. Honestly, how am I supposed to come up with with enough text before the recipe before it just looks like I’m just, y’know – winging it. Or just writing stuff. Or pretending I’m writing Meg Ryan.

T_HanksThat’s a lot of pressure to put on a person. That’s a lot of pressure to put on Meg Ryan. Or, more to the point – that’s a lot of pressure to put on the words themselves. No one ever thinks of the words. For once – think of the words Mr Selfish.

Look at them down there, they’re sort of just…

dangling
there
all
alone

Let’s think of the words people!

And. While we do. Let’s think about Tacos!!!

Aha! You see what I did there. Boom. Intro!

Today’s recipe features one of my all time favorite ingredients. MUSHROOMS. Presented here in the Al Pastor style. Which translated means “in the style of the shepherd“. (Unfortunately there is no shepherd here today, so, I will have to do.)

I won’t go into too much of the history of this recipe (mostly because I’m doing a blog post and not, y’know drafting a novel) but you can find some great information here.

I will say though, while I have not presented this dish  in any sort of traditional style, I have tried to stay true to the influence of the original recipe and have adapted it to my everyday vegan eating. It’s something I do on the regular. I love Mexican Food – what can I say?

Some Notes Before We Begin:

– I often alternate the chilies I am using depending on what I have on hand or what’s available. If you can not find dried ancho chilies feel free to substitute with other (milder) dried chilies and adjust. For Pasilla Chilies use 3 chilies, for Guajillo use 4. While the flavors will differ quite a bit from chile to chile they all can play a hand in creating a delicious al pastor.  
– Taste your marinade after it’s blended. This is the time for you to adjust your seasonings – most notably the salt level. While the finished marinade ‘as is’ wont be something you want to eat by the spoonful it’s important that you get familiar with the flavors.
– By all means, play with the acid in the dish. I hold back on the vinegar in my version (as I was taught) but if you prefer more acid by all means add more vinegar or fresh lime or lemon juice.
– This will be the only time I suggest using store-bought tortillas (rather than homemade) if only for the fact that you can really achieve a nice char to the tortilla which adds to the final over-all flavor. But obviously, either is fine. And if you don’t like burnt tortillas like I do then do it up like you like yo!
– 3 pounds of mushrooms sounds like a lot (it is) and is not cheap (it isn’t). I often buy my mushrooms from Asian markets to soothe the ol’ wallet. Droppin’ Tips!  
– Okay that’s enough talking.

FullSizeRenderTacos De Hongo/Mushroom Al Pastor

3 pounds cremini mushrooms
1 Cup (medium diced) Fresh pineapple
2 TBS Canola Oil – seperated

Marinade
2 dried Ancho Chilies (stemmed and seeded)
1 (canned) Chipotle in Adobo (seeded; membrane scraped out)
1/4 Cup pineapple juice
2 TBS Distilled White Vinegar
1 TBS Water
1 clove of garlic (peeled)
1/4 of a small white onion (peeled)
2 tsp achiote powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp mexican oregano
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cumin

Other Yummy Stuff:
Corn Tortillas (charred heated)
Mashed or sliced Avocado or Guacamole
Salsa Verde (My Recipe or store-bought)
1/2 Cup Chopped Cilantro
1/2 small onion diced fine
Sliced lime (to get your squeeze on)

1. Trim and slice your mushrooms – I do 1/2 inch slices (for smaller mushrooms I just cut them in half)
2. In a large wok or dutch oven heat 1 TBS of canola oil over medium high heat. Add your mushrooms and cook until they release all their moisture (8 – 10 minutes) – stir intermittently.

Note: 3 pounds of cremini mushrooms is obviously a lot of mushrooms; you may find that you need to cook it in batches. They will release a good amount of liquid while cooking; I often strain this as I cook so that they cook a little faster.

3. Once the mushrooms have cooked through, sprinkle with a pinch of salt (and stir) then remove from heat and allow to cool fully.
4. Bring a small sauce pan of water (about 2 cups of water) to a boil. Place your stemmed and seeded chilies in the water and stir to make sure that the chilies are covered – Soak for 10 minutes – then drain.
5. In a blender add all of the ingredients in the (above) marinade mixture, including re-hydrated chilies.
6. Starting on a lower setting (then switching to a higher setting after a minute or so) puree together all of the ingredients until you achieve a thick sauce. Make sure that everything has been pureed down.

Note: Taste and adjust (salt) seasonings in your marinade at this point. If you find that your sauce is lacking acid then add a few splashes of lime juice. Just an FYI – the marinade on it’s own will taste good but not so good that you will want to eat it by the spoonful. The taste and flavor will mature as it both sits (and later when it cooks).

7. In a large bowl add your cooked (cooled) mushrooms and marinade. Stir to make sure that all is incorporated correctly. Allow to sit in the marinade for at least one hour (longer is better obviously)
8. In a large saute pan or (preferably) cast iron skillet heat remaining TBS of Canola Oil over medium high heat. Add your Pineapples and allow to sautee for 2 minutes – stirring intermittently.
9. Add your marinaded mushrooms (and remainder of the marinade from the bowl) and stir together.
10. Allow to cook evenly throughout until most of the moisture has been cooked out ant the mushrooms have browned a bit. Salt to taste.

Serve on charred/warm tortillas with avocado, cilantro, onion and salsa.

2 responses to “Tacos: Hongo / Mushroom Al Pastor

  1. The Lebanese/Mexico connection is really interesting – great adaptation of the recipe – that is a lot of mushrooms! but they do cook down, thanks for the tips too!

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