Sunday, January 15, 2012

First post! And a fabulous recipe.

Today I made carnitas, and though they were a bit more work than I usually put into a meal, they were SO worth it. I got the recipe from America's Test Kitchen. The pictures aren't great, but just believe me, it tasted sooo good. Now if we could just invent a scratch-and-sniff button...

During the process. How do you like my sexy Dutch oven I got for Christmas?

The finished product. The picture is a bit blurry, sorry.

So now for the recipe:
3 1/2 - 4 lb. boneless pork butt, fat cap trimmed to 1/8 inch thick, cut into 2-inch chunks
salt and ground black pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 small onion, peeled and halved
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 tbsp. juice from 1 lime
2 c. water
1 medium orange, halved

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat to 300 degrees. Combine pork, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, cumin, onion, bay leaves, oregano, lime juice, and water in large Dutch oven (liquid should just barely cover meat). Juice orange and remove any seeds. Add juice and spent orange halves to pot. Bring mixture to simmer over med-hi heat, stirring occasionally. Cover pot and transfer to oven; cook until meat is soft and falls apart when forked, about 2 hours, flipping pieces of meat once during cooking.

Remove pot from oven and turn oven to broil. Using slotted spoon, transfer pork to bowl; remove orange halves, onion, and bay leaves from cooking liquid and discard. Don't skim the fat from the liquid. Place pot over high heat and simmer liquid, stirring frequently, until thick and syrupy, about 8-12 minutes. You should have about 1 cup reduced liquid. (While this was reducing, I removed most of the fat from the pork chunks because pork butt is a fatty cut of meat, and meat fat grosses me out. I also pulled each piece of pork in half while I was doing this).

Fold meat into reduced liquid; season with salt and pepper to taste (I use Kosher salt. Nom nom.). Spread pork in even layer on a wire rack set inside rimmed baking sheet or on a broiler pan. Place pan on lower-middle rack and broil until top of meat is well browned but not charred and edges are slightly crisp, 5-8 minutes. Flip pieces and continue to broil other side 5-8 minutes longer. Serve immediately with warm tortillas and garnishes.

I used lime juice, cheese, sour cream, and lettuce to garnish. Pretty run-of-the-mill, but that's what I had in the fridge. This would have been rather tasty with avocado and cilantro.


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