Pulled Pork Tacos with Mango Salsa

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My dad is the best at breaking down ingredients into the thinnest slices or the smallest cubes; his skill is especially apparent with cabbage. Whenever my parents make this recipe, he’s always the one staring intently down at the cutting board as the squeaky green slab of cabbage is magically transformed into fine ribbons. And when it comes to the mango salsa, when it’s time to eat we arrive at the counter to find a bowl full of miniature, sunny-yellow cubes mingling with minced onion and flecks of cilantro. It’s a beautiful thing. My version may not be quite as aesthetically pleasing or as finely proportioned as my dad’s, but it tastes just as fantastic.

Authentic tacos often have just a few simple ingredients—meat, chopped onion, and cilantro, maybe some beans or crumbly cheese—but these pulled pork tacos pack in the flavors and textures with plenty of toppings. There’s sweetness from the mango and onion, a hit of sour from the lime, plenty of crunch from the cabbage, softness from the beans and tortilla, and plenty of salt. But if you want to keep it simple (and, let’s be honest, a little quicker), be my guest and choose your favorites!

The sweet, bright mango salsa is essentially the same recipe as my corn salsa, but the little extra sweetness from the fruit goes especially well with pork. Feel free to use the corn salsa recipe instead, if you’d like.

Pulled Pork Tacos with Mango Salsa

Serves 6

For the salsa:
2 ripe yellow mangoes
1/4 small red onion, diced
1 small jalapeño, diced (optional)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp salt
juice of 2 limes
2 tbsp olive oil

For the tacos:
1 recipe pulled pork

1 large or 2 small red onions
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

1/2 small green cabbage
1 bunch cilantro
2 limes

28oz cooked black or pinto beans
2 ripe avocados
sour cream
corn tortillas
lime wedges, for serving

The night before you want to cook the pork, rub it with the spices and let it sit in the fridge overnight. Read the blog post for the full pulled pork recipe; just know you’ll need to start cooking it about 6 hours before you want to eat these tacos. It’s super easy, it just takes a little planning ahead!

Make the salsa:
Place the diced onion in a small bowl and cover with cold water. Set aside.

Peel the mango with a sharp knife, slice the mango flesh into large chunks, then cut into 1/4 inch dice. Place the diced mango in a medium bowl. Repeat with the second mango.

Drain the onion and mix it into the mango, along with the diced jalapeño, the chopped cilantro, and salt. Stir in the juice of the lemon or limes and the olive oil. Taste, and add more salt or citrus juice if you desire.

Prepare the other taco fixings:
Peel the red onion(s) and slice in half, then into thin half moons. Heat 2 tbsp unsalted butter and a tbsp of olive oil in a medium-large pan over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the onion slices. Stir in 1/2 tsp fine sea salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are very soft and quite brown, about 15 minutes or longer. Turn the heat to low if the onions are burning at all during the process.

Clean the bunch of cilantro and cut off most of the stems. Finely chop the bunch, including the stems (unless they’re really tough). Set aside.

Drain your cooked black beans. Heat a small pot over medium heat, then add a couple glugs of oil. Tip in your beans and add 3/4 tsp salt plus a few grinds of pepper. Stir occasionally until the beans are hot, then taste for seasoning and remove from the heat.

While the onions cook, make the cabbage slaw. Cut the cabbage in half, tear off any mangled outer leaves, then slice out the tough core. Lay the cabbage down on its flat, cut side, and slice it into the thinnest ribbons you can. Toss the ribbons in a large bowl with 3/4 of the chopped cilantro, the juice of 2 limes, and 1/2 tsp of kosher salt. Taste, and add more salt as needed.

Heat your corn tortillas one or two at a time in a lightly oiled skillet, or lay up to 5 on a baking sheet in a single layer, rub with a little oil, and broil for 4 minutes.

Serve the tortillas warm and top with pulled pork, beans, onions, cabbage, salsa, sour cream, sliced or mashed avocado, a little more sprinkled cilantro, and lime wedges on the side. Enjoy!

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