18 March 2014

Foodie Tuesday | Pork Carnitas

Daryn and I are big, big fans of Mexican fast food. BIG fans.

I don't mean Taco Bell... I'm the only one stupid brave enough to make the occasional run for the border (and then I come running right back.) Daryn won't touch the stuff.

We go a little more "high-brow" if that's a term you can use in reference to Mexican fast food. Bursting-at-the-seams burritos from Mucho Burrito are the BOMB; the pork carnitas is our favourite.

The challenge with all restaurant food, however, is that we don't know - and therefore can't control - the nutritional content of what we're consuming. It tastes delicious, but is it good for us?

(Hint: not even a little bit.)

With this in mind I decided to embark on a little research. My goal: to recreate our favourite restaurant recipes, right here in our own kitchen.

Not every experiment has been a success; it's a project rife with trial and error. But when I hit upon this recipe from Cooking Light, I knew we had a winner. I've modified the recipe a little bit (adding extra cumin and lime juice) and I used three 1lb. pork roasts instead of one 3lb. roast. It worked out just fine.


PORK CARNITAS
Preparation: 10 minutes | Cooking Time: 40 minutes | Serves: 6-8
    
Ingredients:
  • 1 3lb boneless pork shoulder, trimmed
  • 6 large (10 medium) garlic cloves, quartered
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 chipotle chiles canned in adobo sauce, roughly chopped
    (you can find these at your local grocery store, in the taco/Mexican section)
  
Garnishes:
  • wheat or corn tortillas
  • black beans
  • onion, diced
  • fresh or bottled salsa
  • guacamole
  • grated cheddar cheese
  • fresh cilantro
  • lime wedges
    
Cooking Directions:
  1. Trim any extra fat from the pork roast. Make random, inch-deep slits in the meat. Stuff slits with garlic quarters. Place any remaining quarters on the bottom of a 3 1/2-quart crockpot.
       
  2. Combine cumin, oregano, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkled roast on all sides with spice mixture, and place roast in crockpot. Sprinkle any remaining spice mixture on top.
      
  3. Combine juices and chiles in a separate bowl. Whisk until fully blended, then pour over pork. Cover and cook on LOW heat for 8 hours or until fall-apart tender.
      
  4. Remove pork from slow cooker with a large slotted spoon (be careful; it will fall apart on contact.) Shred meat with two forks, then return to cooking liquid and stir to combine.
      
  5. Serve 2 scoops of meat mixture (or as much you like!) in a tortilla, and garnish with your toppings of choice. My fave is fresh salsa, guacamole, ranch dressing, cheese and a squeeze of lime juice. Oh dear gawwwwd, it's delicious.

Oh holy cow, you guys, this stuff is good. Sooooo good.

Our feelings about take-out will never be the same.

Notes: easy | gluten free | freezer-friendly