Friday, May 3, 2013

Pork Carnitas (for Cinco de Mayo!)

Recipes for Carnitas are all over the internet recently.  They are very popular and it's easy to see why.  They are delicious!  When I made this recipe from Domestic Creativity's blog, I didn't have everything on hand to make the Avocado Salsa she made with hers, so I didn't, but I'm sure that would have taken this to a whole new level.  I really want to make that sometime soon.  We just topped ours with sour cream and cilantro.
Pork Carnitas
adapted from Domestic Creativity

3-4 pounds boneless pork butt, fat trimmed and cut into 2 inch cubes
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
3/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 onion, peeled and halved
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
2 Tb fresh lime juice
2 C water
1 medium orange, juiced,  and keep the spent halves

1.  Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat to 300 degrees.   Combine all the ingredients in a large Dutch oven or oven-safe stock pot (with lid), including the spent orange halves and juice. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, uncovered.   Once it simmers, cover pot and transfer it to the oven.  Cook until the meat falls apart when prodded with a fork, about 2 hours.

2.  Remove the pot from the oven and turn on the broiler. Use a slotted spoon to remove the meat from the pan and place it on a large foil-lined jelly roll pan sprayed with cooking spray. Remove and discard everything from the pot except for the cooking liquid. Place pot over medium high heat on the stove and boil until thick and syrupy, about 20 minutes. You should have about 1 C of liquid remaining when it is finished.

3.  While the liquid is reducing, use two forks to pull each cube of pork into three equal sized pieces. Once the liquid has become a syrup, gently pour it over the pork pieces on the baking sheet and lightly toss, trying not to break up pork further.  Taste and add additional salt and pepper.

4.  Make sure the pork is in a single layer on the baking sheet. Place the jelly roll pan on the lower middle rack of the oven and broil until the top of the meat is well browned and edges are slightly crisp, about 5 to 8 minutes. Using a wide metal spatula, flip the pieces of meat and broil the other side until well browned and edges are slightly crisp, 5 to 8 minutes. Don't overcook or meat will dry out!  Serve immediately in a tortilla with all your favorite toppings.  (My oven is in code or something and I have no idea how to turn on the broiler.  So I just heated it as hot as it would go for this last step.)

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