Kitchen Bootcamp: World Cuisines

If you’ve been following my blog even just for a little while, you’ll know that we were in Mexico over the Christmas/ New Year break and that we consumed a lot of delicious food whilst we were there. One dish we did not get to was tacos al pastor – I know, I know, what is WRONG with us? – so when I saw that this month, Jen had challenged us to explore “World Cuisines” for Kitchen Bootcamp, I was determined to make something resembling this to make up for what we had missed out on.

Al pastor (literally: “Shepherd style”) is a typical Mexican dish. Derived from the shawarma, it most likely originated with Lebanese immigrants to Mexico and is similar to the döner kebab. Whilst the döner is generally lamb, “al pastor” in Mexico is made from pork, marinated (for up to 2 days) and then slow-cooked over a flame on a vertical rotisserie (like you see in the döner kebab shops). The pork is topped with pineapple and onion so that the juice from both will drip down as the pork cooks. The pineapple juice contains an enzyme which helps break down the meat protein, resulting in a wonderfully tender and flavourful meat. Served on small corn tortillas with cilantro, onions and some pineapple, it comes with the ubiquitous lime wedges and hot salsa.

Well since I don’t own a vertical grill, I hunted around online to see if I couldn’t replicate the flavours of this dish in a slow cooker (next best thing). I settled on a cross between No Recipes’ Tacos al Pastor and Canadian Living’s Mexican Pulled Pork – my recipe is inspired by both. It’s most definitely NOT authentic in the sense that it’s not prepared according to the traditional method, but the flavours were definitely there – a little sweet – and so was the tender texture you would expect from this dish.

Best of all? SO EASY? It took me about 15 minutes to prepare this and then it cooked away for 7-8 hours on low in the slow cooker. What could be better – right?

Jalapeõ, garlic and onions…Black and red spice, cumin, cinnamon…Smoked paprika, oregano and tomatoes…Pineapple, blended marinade,  pork shoulder in slow cooker…And all ready to go…

Result? Tender as can be pork with a kick (if you want, it can be as spicy as you like once you add the hot sauce.  A taste of vacation with very little prep – pretty much the ideal dish, right?

Want to join us working through the chapters of the Professional Chef? Check out the Kitchen Bootcamp page here and buy The Professional Chef on or

** Don’t forget to check out next month’s “Forever Nigella” event – I’m hosting a street party in honour of the Royal Wedding and would love for you to join me. All the details here.

50 thoughts on “Kitchen Bootcamp: World Cuisines”

  1. Yum!!!
    I love anything mexican. The colors here are fantastic! I can’t wait to try this recipe, thank you so much for sharing! I love your site, I have it listed on my blog as one of my favorites! Thanks for all your amazing work!

  2. Hmmm…it *looks* like there is spice in there, but was definitely muted in the final product. No, I’m not just saying that as someone who does appreciate “hot spicy”: I’d still bump up the measurements above by at least 50% on the spices. They were a bit lost in terms of flavour.

    Having said that, a great dish.

    Drink of choice is a bottle (or three) of Negra Modelo, or Dos Equis as backup. As we did not have any in the house, we finished a half-bottle of off-dry white we had… Wines really don’t come to mind for me with tacos, but if you really needed to, a Spanish garnacha or French Cotes-du-Rhone would be my suggestion.

  3. Oh my goodness… This looks AMAZING! I am so hungry for tacos for lunch now. I just love pulled pork tacos. Definitely going to be making these soon. Thanks for participating in this month’s Kitchen Bootcamp challenge!

  4. FANTASTIC! Those look so outstanding! I really want to just reach into the screen and take one, I love tacos especially when it has pulled pork in it… ::drools::

  5. Nothing beats cooked-all-day pork. I do love tacos but could totally see our family eating this wrapped in soft tortillas. And I would hide the leftovers in the back so I could make a taco salad the next day 🙂

  6. This sounds delicious…not to mention the perfect use of the new slow cooker I got for my birthday last week! Thanks for sharing the great looking recipe!

  7. I love love love pork tacos! I am not crazy about Mexican food, but there are some things in their cuisine, such as this, that I absolutely adore.

    Your photos are gorgeous – wish I could pick them off my screen.

  8. Woo hoo!!! Those look delicious!! These days, I am a fan of anything I can do in the slow cooker -so guess what is on the menu for next week??
    Thanks Mardi for a great recipe – your photos are gorgeous BTW!!!

  9. This looks fantastic… you don’t hear so much about pulled pork in the UK but I’ve read a couple of recipes on US and Canadian blogs using slow cookers to do this and I really want to try it. Love the sound of Kitchen Bootcamp too, off to check that out!

  10. Mardi, this looks absolutely fantastic! I always like ordering Al Pastor whenever I go to our local Mexican dive. It never occurred to me to make it at home, though I love the idea that the prep is so short.

    And Bryan loves Mexican as well . .

    Thanks for sharing!

  11. Pingback: Here Piggy Piggy « Sweet Ass Cookin!

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