Monday, July 22, 2013

Carnitas

Actuallly, leftovers the next day

This may be one of the easiest dishes in the world to prepare, and it is so good. It has fast become a company meal for me because I can prepare pretty much everything in advance, and everyone (that is a meat eater, at least) seems to like it.

First of all, buy yourself a big old hunk of pig meat (the recipes I originally consulted call for three pounds, but I've used five because I cut a fifteen-pound pig hiney into three pieces to keep in the freezer). Boston Butt or pork shoulder or something like that. It should be fatty. Salt and pepper that sucker and pop him in a slow cooker with some liquid for 6-8 hours. That is it! After 6-8 hours, the meat will be full-flavored and falling apart.

For full disclosure, I started with this recipe from my beloved Smitten Kitchen, who got it from the Homesick Texan, whom I also follow. Mine is super simplified, meaning I don't bother cutting up the meat in advance, and I do the whole thing in the slow cooker. The first time I made it I used orange and lime juice and cumin as she suggested. The next time, I used the two juices but put in a chipotle chili in adobo sauce (BTW, see P.S. for best way to store that stuff.

Possible ingredients

I love the fresh taste of a crunchy cabbage slaw dressed with lime, salt and cilantro with my carnitas (see top pic). I add in narrow slices of sweet and hot peppers to the slaw if I have them. Pickled jalapenos are good, too, as is sliced avocado. I always seem to eat carnitas with a tomatillo sauce in restaurants, but I've never made it that way myself.

The one flaw in my preparations thus far is that I have not found good corn tortillas. Please do not be tempted by Market Pantry or even Trader Joe's. Disappointing, they both are. I was feeling pretty down about the lack of an HEB (as mentioned before) when The Dude pointed about there are about 50 hundred Mexican shops and bakeries within five miles of our house. So, next time...

P.S. I have never known what to do with the rest of the can of chipotle chilis after using the one I need for a recipe. One is killer, as is! I came across this solution that everyone in the world may know but me, but just in case...
Freeze the rest in an ice tray! Once frozen, remove to a freezer bag. Easy, peasy.

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