Carnitas: The Next Generation

I don’t usually eat meat, but when I do, it’s homemade carnitas! As long as the pork is tender, lean, non-oily, and tastes like anything other than “pig”, I’m game. With that being said, I’m not a traditionalist when it comes to carnitas, so ordering this little meat dish in most Mexican restaurants would be no bueno for my stomach. Once in awhile, especially when entertaining guests who expect some hint of traditional cooking from this half Mexicana, yo cocino slow cooked carnitas.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ -2lbs organic/all natural pork tenderloin (shave off any fat)
  • fresh squeezed orange juice from two oranges
  • fresh squeezed lemon juice from one small lemon
  • tiny dash of habanero chili powder (or larger dash of red pepper flakes)
  • 3 large minced or crushed garlic cloves
  • throw in these spices as seen fit:
    • salt
    • pepper
    • cumin
    • Spanish paprika
    • A few shakes of a spice mix ( I used Pappy’s Louisiana Hot Spice (contains salt, paprika, sugar, garlic, onion, etc)
  • organic chicken or vegetable broth
  • half of 1 Serrano pepper, de-seeded and cut into thin strips lengthwise

Serve with:

  • chopped white onion
  • chopped cilantro
  • tortillas of your choice (I prefer small corn tortillas)
  • fresh salsa
  • fresh guacamole

Directions

Chop the tenderloin into chunks and put in a gallon sized Ziploc bag. Add all of the remaining ingredients to the bag (citruses and spices). Knead the ingredients and the meat until everything is mixed well. Store in the refrigerator for a few days, or use right away.

Heat a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a large frying pan on high. When the pan is hot, carefully take chunks of the pork out of the bag, leaving the liquid in the bag, and briefly brown both sides (beware of hot splatter). This will only take a minute on each side. Put the slightly browned pork chunks in a crockpot and pour in the juice from the bag over. Pour in chicken or vegetable broth to “almost” cover the meat. Throw in the Serrano strips.

Cooking will depend on the size of your crockpot and how much meat you are using.

I let this small portion of carnitas slow cook in a 3-quart crockpot for about five hours. I used low heat for the first hour and a half (left for a yoga class during that time), high heat in between, then low heat again for the last forty minutes. The meat was excelente!- juicy, tender, and muy flavorful.

Optional: Just before serving, heat up the frying pan again, brown and break up the chunks just for a couple of minutes, then return the meat back to the crock pot simmering with juices.

Serving carnitas with chopped white onion and cilantro is a must. Remember to include the obvious!: fresh guacamole, salsa, and tortillas of your choice.

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The “Ian” Special Carnitas Tacos

Although not my grandmother’s comfort carnitas, or my aunt’s spicy Hijole! tacos,   these are healthily and simply derived by the next proud generation.

 

 

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