Friday, October 25, 2013

Pork Carnitas

I have modified this recipe to what I have available in my kitchen today and I’m very please with the changes.  My version is also simpler and took less time.  The original recipe called for whole oranges so I’m saving money also. I substituted a large can of Mandarin oranges (You can add some dried orange peel if you wish a more intense orange flavor).  It also called for a whole onion and I replaced that with onion powder (you end out tossing the onion out so I saved my last onion from being tossed).  I wanted a little heat so added pepper flakes.  The original recipe did not call for it.  Since it is just me, I am cutting the recipe in half.  I’m giving you the full recipe though.  A pork taco will be a nice change.  I’m making soft tacos with a flour tortilla for today’s lunch.

4 pound boneless pork (you may use a pork butt or any cut of pork you have)
2 tbs. garlic (I use the garlic packed in oil that is already chopped for easy measuring)
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tbs. onion powder
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. dried oregano (I’m using the oregano I dried from my herb garden since my fresh died with the snow this week)
1 pinch of red pepper flakes (add more if you like heat)
4 tbs. lime juice
2 tbs. lemon juice
2 cups water
1 large can of Mandarin oranges
Kosher salt and pepper

Cut pork into cubes. Since I had a boneless pork tenderloin roast (on sale), I'm using it.

Add a can of Mandarin oranges to the crock pot.  Add your cut up pork and the rest of the ingredients.  I’m home today so I set the crock pot for higher heat.  I’m using my Presto cooker.

Salt and pepper generously over top, stirring gently.

Simmer for six hours on low in a crock pot or 2 hours on high.

Preheat your oven to 300.

Using a slotted spoon, remove pork from sauce and onto a cookie sheet covered with aluminum foil.  Be careful to take out the bay leaves.

Transfer the sauce to a pot on the stove.  I’m using the Presto slow cooker/deep fryer combination so I can leave it in the pot and just turn up the heat.  I had to add a little water because the juices were almost gone.  Stir repeatedly as you simmer over medium heat to reduce the liquid and get it to thicken to a syrupy gravy (about 20 to 30 minutes).

While the sauce is being prepared, place the pork in the oven.

Turn the pork pieces over gently one time while the sauce prepares, monitoring the progression through the oven door.

You should have approximately 1 cup of pork sauce remaining once finished.

Pour the sauce over the pieces of pork.  Coat each piece of pork.

You can separate your pork pieces gently with two forks while mixing if you’d like.

Taste a piece of pork here and reseason with salt and/or pepper, if needed. 
Continue to cook and flip the meat here until the pork is well browned and edges are slightly crisp, about 10 minutes.  The pork is tender enough you can pull it apart if you like it shredded.  I like it chucky.

Remove from heat.  Serve with your favorite taco fixings in a flour tortilla or with white rice.  Use some pepper cheese and lightly fry 2 tortillas filled with the pork and cheese to make a great quesada.  Fill a toritilla with your favorite Mexican cheese(s) and beans and roll a great burrito.  Top with a little lettuce and guacamole or sour cream.  The pork is great reheated.  Just microwave it for a minute of so.

Wish I had an avocado to add to it.  It would have been even greater. 
You can top it with a dollop of sour cream also.
I cut the recipe in half but I will get several meals out of it depending on how I use it.  It will also save me time fixing my next meal. 

Hope you have a great day.  Be happy and may God bless you and yours. 

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