September 19, 2011

America's Test Kitchen Tostadas

I think it would be the coolest job to work for America's Test Kitchen.  I would know so much about food and the chemistry behind things.  I had several episodes recorded and watched most of them today.  (Yes, I had a very productive day).  I learned that the secret to a chewy brownie is more unsaturated fat than saturated.  I learned that the best cut of meat for stew is from the chuck and I learned that more than likely the brighter red your paprika is the better quality it is.  

I also re-watched the episode for these tostadas.  I had watched it last week and planned to make them today, but I wanted to watch the episode one more time before I made these.  I didn't even have to read the recipe instructions, because I just did what they did on T.V.!  Chris (the host of the show) said that these tostadas are in the top 5 recipes they have ever done in eleven years of the show!  They did turn out delicious and I will make them again and again.  Next time, I will probably just eat the meat in a regular crunchy taco shell.  I also think they would be good with some fresh, crisp lettuce.  It has great flavor with a nice spiciness from the chili powder.    

**Update (1/28/2012) - I still love this recipe and it is one of our favorites.  I prefer it way better in crunchy taco shells and that is the only way I serve it now.**

Spicy Mexican Shredded Pork Tostadas
adapted from: America's Test Kitchen
(Printable Recipe)

Shredded Pork:
2 Lbs. boneless pork butt roast (I used boneless country ribs)
2 medium onions, 1 quartered and 1 chopped fine
5 medium garlic cloves, 3 peeled and smashed and 2 minced
4 sprigs fresh thyme (I used dried)
table salt
2 Tbl. olive oil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 (14.5 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 Tbl. ground chipotle chili powder
2 bay leaves

3/4 c. vegetable oil
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas 
table salt

Queso Fresco or Feta cheese
fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
sour cream
diced avocado
fresh salsa
lime wedges

1.  For the shredded pork:  Trim the excess fat from the meat and cut into 1-inch pieces.  Bring the pork, quartered onion, smashed garlic cloves, thyme, 1 tsp. salt and 6 cups of water to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Reduce the heat to medium-low, partially cover and cook until the pork is tender, 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 hours.  Drain the pork, reserving 1 cup of cooking liquid.  Discard the onion, garlic and thyme.  Return the pork to the saucepan and using a potato masher, mash until shredded; set aside. 

2.  Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add the shredded pork, chopped onion and oregano; cook, stirring often, until the pork is well browned and crisp, 7-10 minutes.  Add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  

3.  Stir in the tomato sauce, chipotle chili powder, reserved pork cooking liquid and bay leaves; simmer until almost all the liquid has evaporated, 5-7 minutes.  Remove and discard the bay leaves and season with salt to taste.

4.  To fry the tostadas:  Heat the vegetable oil in an 8-inch heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat to 350 degrees.  Using a fork, poke the center of each tortilla three or four times (to help prevent puffing).  Fry, one at a time, holding a metal potato masher in the upright position on top of the tortilla to keep it submerged, until crisp and lightly browned, 45-60 seconds (no flipping necessary).  Drain on a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt to taste.  Repeat with remaining tortillas.

5.  To serve: Spoon some shredded pork onto the center of each tostada and top with desired garnishes.  Serves: 4-6 people.  

Jenn's Notes: I pretty much did exactly what the recipe says, except I only used about 1/2 of the chopped onion.  You know the pork is done, when it shreds easily with only a fork.  ATK says that if you can't find the chipotle chili powder to substitute two minced canned chipotle chiles.      


  1. Yes that would be realy cool job:) I can think of few being travelling food critic.
    Till than we will enjoy travelling through blogs and enjoying greta food like your recpie here;)

  2. I love Mom used to make them for us all the time. Thanks for sharing the recipe and a remider to make them. And yes, a job at America's Test Kitchen would be killer!

  3. I love America's Test Kitchen/Cook's Country and have been wanting to make these for a while. Good to know they are as delicious as they made them out to be!