Yesterday, I really wanted tacos. Today, I'm eating tacos. Follow your dreams.
I love tacos. So much. They are practically a love language for me.
I have been eating a lot less meat lately and haven't had a taco in far too long. Today I decided that I had to figure something out. I needed meatless, flavorful, comforting & filling. Enter tempeh and potato al pastor tacos.
The marinade for the tempeh was heavily inspired by Pati Jinich. And by heavily inspired I mean that the recipe is 99% hers with a few adjustments on my end.
I used an entire orange, not just the juice, because a Vitamix is a beast of a machine and can pulverize anything. Also, said orange was .98 cents because Albertson's is a rip off and also the only store near us with decent produce. I wasn't going to throw any part of that fruit away. I added a manzano pepper because I had it (and really wanted this dish to be spicy!) and sprinkled in a couple teaspoons of smoked paprika for that smokey taste I'd be missing without charred meat involved. Other than that, the marinade (called "Achiote Adobo Marinade") is the recipe found HERE. It's the best al pastor marinade I have EVER found. When I wrote my first e-cookbook (all Mexican food), I didn't even include an al pastor recipe because frankly, I can't top hers. I just refer everyone her way when they ask. It truly is the gold standard.
For this dish, I toast the guajillos over an open flame (aka the stove) then tossed them in the Vitamix. I didn't even bother to soak them, but if you've got the time, you should. I used one orange and half a lime for the "bitter orange juice" replacement but didn't use any vinegar. I was 100% happy with the flavors. With the Vitamix tamper tool, I didn't have a need for any additional liquid, however if I didn't have that little feature, I would probably have to add a little water to get things going. Feel free to do what you gotta do to get a nice liquid marinade. :)
Once you've got your marinade done, the rest is so easy.
1 Package Organic Tempeh (so you're sure to get GMO-free soy!)
4 Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed in 1/2 inch cubed
Several TBSP High-Heat Oil (I like refined coconut)
Salt, Pepper & Garlic Powder to Taste (I use pink Himalayan salt)
Cilantro, Avocado and Lime Wedges (Because tacos aren't the same without toppings!)
Roughly chop your tempeh and place in a large bowl. I recommend steel or glass as the marinade will likely stain plastic. Using your hands, crumble the tempeh. Top with about 1 cup of your marinade. (Link up above if you missed it!) Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 hours. Save the other half of the marinade for another batch of tacos in the fridge for up to week or freeze if not using it soon.
Heat a 10 inch skillet with oil. I start with about 3 tbsp of oil. Add your potatoes, adding more oil as they soak it up. Season them with salt, pepper and garlic. Stir the potatoes to coat completely with oil and allow to sit over medium heat until golden on one side. Give them a flip and allow them to sit again until nice and golden on the other side. Your'e not seeking perfection here, just a relatively even distribution of golden goodness. Once both sides of the potatoes have some golden color, pop a lid on about 80% of the way. This allows the potatoes to become nice and fluffy on the inside without completely steaming them. Cook with the lid on for about 5 minutes or until tender.
Once potatoes are golden *and* tender, scootch them over to one side of the pan. Add a little more oil and add the tempeh. Toss to coat and allow the tempeh to get some crisp and color on it. Combine with the potatoes and press it into the pan a bit, "hash" style. Flip it all over to get a crust on both sides. The tempeh/potato mix is done when it dries out a bit and everything has a little crisp to it.
While your tempeh/potato mix is crisping, heat up your corn tortillas.
Assemble your tacos, top with avocado, cilantro, a squeeze of lime and a little pinch of salt.
(Tip: I'm using all the leftovers to make taquitos tomorrow. Can't wait!)
FYI: Pati Jinich's PBS Cooking show, "Pati's Mexican Table" is FANTASTIC. Take a look at your local listings to see when she's on. You'll love her! You can also find her on multiple social media outlets including her Instagram.
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