Carnitas

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Carnitas - braised pork tacos with white onion, tomato, cilantro, avocado, lime, hot sauce

Carnitas – braised pork tacos with white onion, tomato, cilantro, avocado, lime, hot sauce

I bought a 5 pound pork shoulder last week and have trying to think what to make. I love pork because of its versatility, you can give it any kind of flavoring, and cook it multiple ways.

In the kitchen, I would make 50-100 pounds of roast pork in a day. I would cover the pork shoulders in a dry rub of brown sugar, cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne, onion powder, a ton of salt and pepper. Then cover it with mustard and ketchup (Weird I know, but a delish tip from Daryl – Thanks Daryl!). Cover the whole lot of them in chicken stock and let them braise for 6 hours. The result, the most delicious, decadent.. salty, fatty pulled pork.

Today I am trying something different, I’m cutting the cooking time by 1/2 by cutting the meat smaller, and boiling, then roasting it.

Carnitas - braised pork tacos with white onion, tomato, cilantro, avocado, lime, hot sauce

Carnitas – braised pork tacos with white onion, tomato, cilantro, avocado, lime, hot sauce

Carnitas

Prep: 15-20 minutes

Cook time: 2.5 hours

5 pound Boneless pork shoulder, cut into 3 inch cubes

2 cups chopped vegetables: I say use whatever you have on its way out in the crisper, I had some celery, onion, carrots, and bell pepper scraps.

8 cloves garlic

2 limes, cut in half

1 jalapeño, cut in half

1 cup orange juice

1 bottle light beer, I used corona

1 T Mexican oregano

1 T ground cumin

2 T kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 cups water

Pork ready to go!

Pork ready to go!

  • Cut your pork shoulder into 3 inch cubes, you can cut off some of the fat if you would like or leave it for more flavor.
  • In a large pot add your vegetables, pork, spices, limes, garlic, and pour in your orange juice and beer.
  • Fill the rest of the pot with water just to cover the pork.
  • Bring to  boil and then reduce to a simmer, cook in a covered pot for 2 hours.
  • When the meat is tender, turn off the heat and let it sit for 10-15 minutes so its can rest inside the liquid.
Pork braising, an hour in.

Pork braising, an hour in.

  • Remove the meat and cut off any large fat chunks, smash the meat into large pieces.
  • Strain the braising liquid, removing all the veggie remnants.
  • Put the strained liquid back on the burner, reduce down to a syrup. Should take 10-15 minutes.
  • Remove your syrup and pour it over the shredded pork. Put the pork on a sheet pan in an even layer and place in your broiler.
Pork just removed and pulled

Pork just removed and pulled

  • The pork will become crispy and brown in the broiler after 5-10 minutes. If you want some char leave it in longer.
Crispy pork, after the broiler. You can leave it in longer if you want more of a char

Crispy pork, after the broiler. You can leave it in longer if you want more of a char

  • It is now ready to serve. Eat it in corn or flour tortillas with raw white onion, chopped tomatoes, sliced avocado, cilantro, hot sauce, and cotija cheese. Delish!

 

Carnitas - Pork tacos

Carnitas – Pork tacos

 

This meal was really easy to prepare and a hit! The texture of the meat is different than pulled pork, its more sticky and chewy, and after broiling, crispy. I love it, and its definitely a meal I will make time and time again.

 

 

Thank you.

 

Sean Patrick Gallagher

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Not-so-Scary Nopales

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Not-so-Scary Nopales

Nopales can appear scary, (as a rule, I pretty much wouldn’t eat anything with thorns on it!) but they are a versatile and delicious ingredient that can be added to stews, sautés, or made into a salad.

Once you get through the thorns it’s an easy process!

Remove the thorns of the nopale (Cactus petal) with a small paring knife, or if you are really comfortable, carefully use your chefs knife to remove many at once. I like to boil the nopales to remove some of the viscous liquid inside them. After that I sauté and chill them to add to salads, or keep the nopales in the sauté pan and add in some julienne zucchini, summer squash, snap peas, also caramelized onions, and fennel. Cook until tender, add a squeeze of lime, a dash of ground cumin, and top with chopped cilantro and cotija cheese. DELISH!

I hope you pick up Nopales next time you’re at the grocery and are feeling adventurous! 🙂

Cheers

Sean Patrick Gallagher