July 24: Saint Charbel LebaneseTacos Al Pastor

2 things about Saint Charbel:
1. He was a Maronite monk and priest from Lebanon; he is kind of the biggest deal in the Maronite Church.

2. After his death, a bright light surrounded his tomb for 45 DAYS. When the monks unearthed his body, no surprises: it was in perfect condition.

4 tips about these tacos:

1. Lebanese tacos, you ask? In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Mexico experienced a significant influx of Lebanese immigrants – as much as half of all immigration into Mexico by the 1930’s. The fusion of Lebanese and Mexican cooking styles gave rise to tacos al pastor (“shepherd style”).

2. The hubby, today’s chef, recommends letting the meat sit as long as possible: the longer, the better…up to two days, if you can wait that long!

3. The hubby is also a chef who does “a little bit of this, a little bit of that,” so it was a labor of love for him to put down all the amounts. But he wants to invite you to deviate or add more from his recipe as much as you want (his style!).

4. When we make this again, we want to try it out on the grill! This is a sweet meat with cinnamon and pineapple, and the charred black would make such a great companion to the sweet flavors.

Recipe

2 pounds pork
1 cup pineapple juice
1/3 cup white vinegar
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons oregano
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons achiote paste (need a sub? look here)
1 tablespoon chile powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons paprika
Dash of cinnamon

Preparation

1. Slice pork into quarter-inch stips and marinate for as long as you can (not as long as the 45 day light shining out of Charbel’s tomb–no more than two days, but at least a few hours)

2. Put pork on a skewer with pineapple slices and half an onion

3. In a cast iron skillet, brown the meat on medium-high heat, then transfer to the oven at 350 degrees. Cook all the way through (for us, that took about 90 minutes).

4. Serve with rice or tortillas (if you go the homemade route, which you can TOTALLY do, we really like the King Arthur flour recipe!)

St. Charbel, pray for us!

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