Eating is a necessity. However, we choose what to eat. The choices we make reveal a great deal about us. The food you eat can tell quite a bit about your heritage, your family, your fears, your sense of adventure, your attitude toward yourself and others, and a myriad of other personal tidbits to anyone paying attention. Everything about eating is a glimpse into your soul.

I hope to reveal a little bit about myself to you through my food. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy eating. I find pleasure in bringing pleasure to others. I hope that by sharing my recipes I bring you a little bit of joy.

Cook my food. Feed it to the people you love.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Pork Carnitas

Carnitas means ‘little meats’ in Spanish. These little chunks of goodness are a popular ingredient in tacos, burritos, or just served on their own.  Think of them as Mexico’s version of pulled pork. I wait until pork shoulder or butt are on sale to make them.  So, this is inexpensive.  I don’t remove the fat from the meat when I’m preparing it, since it renders off in the braising process. I also make sure the oil is very hot when I fry the meat, because I just want to brown the outside while leaving the inside moist and juicy. You can double this recipe using the same amount of liquid, but doubling the spices.  If you want you can add a chopped chili to the liquid.  I love heat, but prefer my carnitas savory instead of spicy.

I always serve carnitas in warm, soft tacos with refried beans and Spanish rice.  I offer my guests chopped tomatoes, avocado tossed in lime juice, chopped cilantro, pickled jalapeños and sour cream to dress their carnita tacos.

Servings: 4-6
Hardware:  A cutting board and knives, measuring spoons and cups, a large Dutch oven (or other big pot with a heavy bottom), a wooden spoon, a heavy skillet, a slotted spoon, tongs, a bowl
Time:  Prep:  10 minutes    Cooking: 3 hours   Active time: 20 minutes

Pork Carnitas Tacos

  • 2 pounds pork butt or shoulder
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 large, thin-skinned orange
  • ¼ cup vegetable shortening
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • Oil for frying
  1. Cut the pork into 1 ½ inch cubes.  Leave on the fat. Wash the orange carefully. Quarter the onion and the orange. Smash the garlic.  Toss the meat, orange, and onion with the seasonings in the Dutch oven.  Add the shortening and turn the heat up to medium.  Let the shortening melt. Then add everything but the frying oil. Allow the liquid to boil.
  2. Lower the heat and simmer without the lid.  Stir occasionally.  Simmer until the pork is tender, 1 ½ -2 ½ hours.
  3. Remove the pork with the slotted spoon.
  4. Heat the oil in the heavy pan on high.  The oil should be deep enough to cover the pork pieces and you want the oil to be very hot. Fry the pork pieces until they are crispy, about 2 minutes per side.
  5. You can make these on the weekend and serve them up to three days later.  Serve warm.

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