Friday, January 22, 2010

Food For Friday: Slow Cooker Carnitas

One of Truman's favorite Mexican dishes is pork Carnitas. I wanted a delicious version that I could simmer in the crockpot for a quick and easy meal. I combined elements from several recipes to create this dish, and we were very happy with how it turned out!

3-4 lb. boneless pork shoulder roast
2 tsp. salt (I used Kosher salt)
4-6 cloves pressed garlic
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. crumbled dried oregano
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. onion powder
sprinkling chili powder
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup tequila
2 cups chicken broth
handful of fresh cilantro

Serve with:
warm tortillas
diced tomato
lime wedges (squeeze juice over the meat)
fresh cilantro
we add shredded cheddar and monterey jack cheese to ours, but that isn't typical for this dish

Place the 2 bay leaves in the bottom of the crockpot.

Cut the pork shoulder roast into large chunks and place in the crockpot on top of the bay leaves.

Mix together salt, cumin, oregano, coriander, fresh ground pepper, onion powder, chili powder, and garlic in a bowl. Coat the pork with the spice, rubbing into the meat. Add the tequila into the bottom of the crockpot. Pour the chicken broth around the sides of the pork, being careful not to rinse off the spice mixture. Throw the handful of fresh cilantro on top and squeeze 2 lime wedges over the meat.

Cover and cook on low 6-7 hours, until the pork shreds easily with a fork. Flip the meat over after 4-5 hours. When the pork is tender, remove from the crockpot and shred with a fork. Remove and get rid of the bay leaves. You can serve the Carnitas at this point if you like the meat soft and juicy.

If you want a more traditional Carnitas texture with crispy edges, you can add one additional step. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. After shredding the pork, spread it out in a thin layer on a rimmed cookie sheet. Spoon some of the liquid from the crockpot over the meat. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the edges of the meat are slightly crisp.

Serve with warm tortillas, tomato, guacamole, a sprinkling of fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime. We like to add shredded cheddar and monterey jack cheese to ours!

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