This meal makes for a beast of a taco. Well, quite a few beastly tacos.
Melt in your mouth chunks of short ribs, braised in wine and pomegranate and topped with a scoop of a one of a kind guacamole, get tucked into warm corn tortillas. The guacamole has a mashed ripe avocado base seasoned with fresh ginger, jalapeño, shallots and a dash of lime juice, then tossed with salty chunks of queso fresco and sweet and juicy pomegranate seeds. You can garnish the final thing with chopped fresh mint.
This can practically be your whole meal! It makes me really happy to make it on cold winter nights, when we want something filling, satisfying, luscious, packed with flavor, and fun.
I cooked up this recipe in an attempt to use pomegranate seeds in a different way than I was used to and out of a bit of frustration. See, in Mexico, pomegranate is the crown jewel of Chiles en Nogada. The signature dish of Mexico’s Independence Day celebrations in September. If you are a Mexican and you see a pomegranate, I bet the first thing you think of is that dish, which bears all the colors of the Mexican flag. The pomegranates must be there.
Funny how things are. I love making Chiles en Nogada here in the states. Yet, pomegranate season in Mexico is July to October and here in Washington, DC, I have struggle to find pomegranates in September. In DC, pomegranate is at its peak way past September, not until very into the early winter months. So, I feel a little ridiculous making Chiles en Nogada which most absolutely, definitely, without a doubt, NEED to be made in September.
But I absolutely adore pomegranates. Everything about them. Their shape. Their hard skin. Ho challenging it can be to get the seeds out. How your fingers and nails remain red long after you have eaten them. Mostly, their sharp and sparkly tart and sweet flavor. Hence… I came up with this recipe to expand my pomegranate horizons during the time that I can easily find them. It turns out, I expanded my taco, my guacamole and dinner horizons as well.
Here you go, if you are a meat eater, this taco is a must. If you are not, make the guacamole and eat it with chips.
- 2 pounds country-style boneless pork short ribs
- 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt divided, or to taste
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 4 tablespoons canola or safflower oil divided
- 1 cup white onion finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 2 cups pomegranate juice
- 1 1/2 cups red wine
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary crushed
- 1 tablespoon shallot finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger finely chopped
- 1 whole jalapeño or to taste, finely chopped, stemmed and seeded optional
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 large ripe avocados halved, pitted, meat scooped out and diced
- 1/2 cup queso fresco crumbled or diced, divided
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds divided
- Corn tortillas
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint coarsely chopped, to garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Season the short ribs with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and pepper to taste.
- Heat 3 tablespoons oil in an ovenproof casserole over medium heat. Once hot, add the meat and cook until browned on each side, about 7 to 8 minutes per side. If necessary, do it in batches. Remove the meat from the casserole and place in a bowl.
- Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the casserole and cook the onion, stirring occasionally, until completely softened, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, until fragrant and lightly browned. Pour in the pomegranate juice and wine, stir well, scraping the bottom of the pan to incorporate all the browned bits.
- Return the meat to the casserole, add the crushed rosemary, and let it come to a simmer. Once it does, cover the casserole with its lid and place in the oven for 1 1/2 hours, until the meat is completely tender.
- Remove the lid from the casserole, and leave in the oven for another 1/2 hour, or until the meat comes falls apart when pulled with a fork, and the liquid has thickened considerably. Remove from the oven. Using a couple forks, shred the meat finely into small bite size chunks and let it sit in the sauce.
- In a medium bowl, combine the shallots, ginger and jalapeño with the lime juice, olive oil and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Incorporate the avocado and gently mash with a fork until well combined. Add half of the cheese and pomegranate seeds and toss well. Reserve.
- Heat the corn tortillas on a comal, griddle or skillet set over medium heat, until completely heated through and pliable.
- Assemble tacos with the guacamole and the braised ribs, garnish with the remaining cheese and chopped mint.