I hate eating the same meal twice. But I always, always have leftovers. And I don’t mean trace quantities of veg or starch. Generally, I’m left with huge amounts of the main course, the star player, the protein. So what to do with that surplus meat? One word. TACOS! Repurpose the leftover protein and make a bright, spicy, flavorful fiesta for your mouth. Delicioso indeed.
I happened to have two gigantic leftover pork chops. So the menu? Pork tacos with yogurt, cilantro, and jalapeño sauce and homemade tortillas. Now, I normally don’t make my own tortillas. But it was a Sunday, and on Sundays, I go big.
Making the tortilla dough is simple. Achieving the desired size and texture is a bit trickier. The key is keeping the tortillas thin. Trust me, the first time I tried this, my tortillas were like dense, doughy pancakes. Not appetizing.
First, combine 2 cups flour, ¾ teaspoon salt, 3½ tablespoons olive oil, and ¾ cup water. Stir the ingredients to combine, and then knead the ingredients into a ball on a floured surface (but don’t overwork the dough!). Let the dough sit for about 15 minutes. Next, split the dough into 8 separate segments. Roll out each segment into a thin tortilla (again on a floured surface) with a rolling pin (or with whatever you have handy—a tumbler-style drinking cup works just as well). The tortillas will have a diameter of about 8-10 inches.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Cook the tortillas individually for about 45-50 seconds on both sides or until done. After you cook 2-3 tortillas, add more oil to the pan if needed. If you’d like, after all of the tortillas have been cooked, wrap the tortillas in aluminum foil and store in the oven (on low heat) until the rest of your meal is ready.
Now, for the leftover meat. More often than not, the meat requires little to no preparation. After all, it is already seasoned and cooked! But sometimes I like to doctor it up a bit. For my pork tacos, I added red pepper flakes, paprika, a little garlic, and chopped jalapeños to transform the flavors and add some oomph.
And finally, the piece de resistance—the yogurt, cilantro, and jalapeño sauce. I have to tell you, this sauce only came in to being because I forgot to buy queso fresco
and needed a cool, bright sauce to balance my spicy ‘cos (that’s what the cool kids call “tacos”). So I combined 1½ cups Greek yogurt, ½ of a jalapeño (chopped, with seeds), ¼ cup of chopped cilantro, ½ teaspoon paprika, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon cumin, and salt and pepper to taste.
Serve the tacos with your sauce, fresh red and yellow bell peppers, chopped red onions, lettuce, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice. ¡Buen provecho!