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Aren't Tacos Mexican?

Dear Fellow Foodies, I hope all is well and that you’re having a good week. After a very busy September, October is proving a welcome respite, but gosh, it’s mid-October already! The clocks aren’t back yet, and autumn isn’t quite in full swing, though the Virginia Creeper at the back of our garden has turned bright red. It’s providing a beautiful streak of colour contrasting with a verdant landscape of green. It’s also making me pine for the splendour that is the American Fall.


With the shorter days comes a desire to indulge in delicious comfort food, and having been so busy with The Southern Kitchen, coaching little league football and life in general, I’ve not had too much of a chance to do so. The craving's been for taco’s; those delicious hand-sized tortillas topped with a tasty filling, spiced up with all sorts of flavour sensations. Contentment, the most under-rated state of mind, really is a stack of tortillas, and a bowl of your favourite filling and condiments, just ready to be piled high and devoured. Whether it be a stew of chilli Colorado, flash fried fajitas, or slowly simmered pork carnitas they will always hit the right mark!



Whilst strictly speaking Taco’s come under the Mexican umbrella, they are very much part of the southern American culinary landscape, particularly in the South West. American expansion, through the Monroe doctrine, has predominated our view of what America is, which emanated from the 13 colonies on the eastern seaboard, spreading westwards as it swallowed up huge tracts of land in an insatiable conquest over 140 years. Prior to this, the south-western US was part of Mexico, populated by native and Hispanic peoples. Those people, with their food culture and history are of course still there, but have also spread further afield throughout by long existing migration, with their food changing, adapting and fusing along the way. The burrito that we are most familiar with is probably the Mission-style, which is very much a San Franciscan invention. Yup, that’s why the tortilla brand you can buy in the supermarkets is called “Mission” after the eponymous district they hail from in San Fran.




Barbacoa is one of my favourite fillings for Tacos. It’s not only the root of the modern word BBQ, but it takes one of my favourite cuts of beef, inexpensive brisket, and uses two great techniques to get the most flavour out of it, marination and slow cooking. The joint is firstly rubbed in a paste of chipotle en adobo, onions, garlic, cloves, oregano, vinegar and lime and allowed to rest for as long as you can to allow the flavours to penetrate the meat, before being slowly cooked until it’s falling apart and shred-able.


Carnitas work along the same lines with Pork, but are cooked in lard, with similarities to confiting. Milk and orange juice are added to cut the richness. It’s then ready to be piled high into those tortillas, before being topped with any range of condiments. From pickled jalapenos, taking up the spice level, or pickled pink onions bringing out the zing, and the classics of guacamole and a tomato-based salsa. Hot sauce will never go amiss here!




Therefore, with two birds and one stone in mind, and a wee break in tradition, this Friday we’re going to be doing a Taco special, serving both Beef Barbacoa & Pork Carnitas, alongside some stupendous sides. I’m really not sure which is better, so why not order both and let me know what you think! You won’t be disappointed!


PS – Whilst your there we are also taking pre-orders for next week’s burger Friday, and it’s the double cheeseburgers!


As always, if you need anything, or have any questions, just holler! Rich


The Southern Kitchen




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