Ancho-Orange Pork Burritos

Ancho-Orange Pork Burritos

Serves 8

Why This Recipe Works: In the Mexican state of Sinaloa, mildly spiced, orange-infused pork known as chilorio is one of the region’s most popular dishes. It’s so popular, in fact, that markets sell the pork ready-made. In traditional versions, the pork is slow-simmered until fall-apart tender, pulled into bite-size pieces and fried, and then cooked again in a chile sauce. We wanted to make this ultraflavorful pork into a unique burrito filling. To achieve moist, tender, and richly flavored pork, we cooked boneless pork butt slowly and gently in the oven in a sauce base of orange juice, vinegar, chipotle chile in adobo, and dried ancho chiles. To impart even more flavor, we also added garlic, bay leaves, oregano, and cumin to the braising liquid. After a couple of hours of braising, the pork was meltingly tender and shreddable. While the pork cooled, we defatted the flavorful liquid left behind in the pot, then pureed it until smooth and tossed it with the shredded pork.

Since we wanted the pork to be the star, we used just rice, no cheese or beans, when assembling these rich and satisfying burritos. If you are short on braising liquid for the sauce in step 2, you can make up the difference with chicken broth or water.

3/4 cup orange juice (2 oranges)
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
4 dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded, and torn into 1/2‐inch pieces (1 cup)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoon minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
5 garlic cloves, lightly crushed and peeled
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
Salt and pepper
4 pounds boneless pork butt roast, trimmed and cut into 2‐inch pieces
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups long‐grain white rice, rinsed
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro 2 scallions, sliced thin
8 (10‐inch) flour tortillas

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Whisk orange juice, vinegar, anchos, tomato paste, chipotle, garlic, bay leaves, cumin, oregano and 1 teaspoon salt together in Dutch oven. Season pork with salt and pepper, stir into pot, and arrange in single layer. Cover and cook in oven until pork is very tender, about 2 hours.

2. Transfer pork to large bowl using slotted spoon and let cool slightly. Using 2 forks, shred pork into bite-size pieces. Strain braising liquid into fat separator, reserving solids, and let settle for 5 minutes. Discard bay leaves and transfer solids to blender. Add 1 1/2 cups defatted liquid to blender and process until smooth, about 1 minute. Combine sauce and pork in now-empty Dutch oven; before making burritos, reheat mixture over medium heat until hot. (Pork can refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month.)

3. Meanwhile, bring water, rice, and 1 teaspoon salt to boil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until rice is tender and water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove rice from heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes. Add cilantro and scallions and fluff with fork to incorporate; cover to keep warm.

4. Wrap tortillas in damp dish towel and microwave until warm and pliable, about 1 minute. Lay warm tortillas on counter. Mound warm rice and pork across center of tortillas, close to bottom edge. Working with 1 tortilla at a time, fold sides then bottom of tortilla over filling, pulling back on it firmly to tighten it around filling, then continue to roll tightly into burrito. Serve.

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