"Things won are done,
Joy's Soul lies in the Doing."
- William Shakespeare

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Of the Porcine Variety

Well, not quite immediately after the weekend, as promised, but here I am with that incredibly tasty recipe for you, a recipe of the porcine variety.

Until fairly recently in my culinary experience, I was not an appreciator of pork.  Now, however, I have awoken to its many charms; its simplicity to prepare, its intense flavor, its relatively low cost...pig is the goods, I have to say.  Especially on tacos, in the form of carnitas.

We had a little shindig at ours on Saturday, a Final Hurrah with some close friends, before the impending move.  In honor of a little informal, but established tradition of throwing together last minute Mexican dinners with our best mates and neighbors, M & J, and because it's so very simple in a busy time, we went for some Tex-Mex style fiesta food.  This unabashedly delectable, and shamefully easy, recipe comes at you from The Homesick Texan, by Lisa Fain, and it, my good people, is one to include in your repertoire.  After a long, slow cook over low heat, the pork is positively luscious, with a deep, intensely nuanced flavor that defies the short list of ingredients.  Your friends and family will love you for this one, mark my words.

Here you go:

Carnitas - Adapted from The Homesick Texan
-serves 4 to 6, with pretty large portions*

3 lbs boneless pork shoulder, cut into roughly 2 inch cubes (do not remove the fat, this is what makes the carnitas so sinfully succulent)
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
4 cloves garlic, bashed and peeled, but left whole
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sea salt

*Note*  I actually used 4 1/2 lbs of pork, and multiplied the other ingredients by 1.5, accordingly.  With 10 adults and 4 kids, plus shrimp tacos, we had quite a bit left over.  And not because it wasn't good!*

Place the pork in a large Dutch oven, or pot, add the juices, garlic cloves, cumin, salt, and enough water to just barely cover the meat.  It's alright if some pieces are not submerged, don't worry.  Bring the pot to a boil, and then turn the heat down to keep it at a simmer, uncovered, for 2 hours.  Here's the best part:  Don't touch the meat.  No stirring.  No pushing pieces under the liquid.  No fuss.  No muss.  Leave it be, as tempting as it is to give it a stir from time to time...you don't need to.  You can set the timer, and get on with something else for the next two hours.  Like packing, if you're me.

After 2 hours, turn the heat up to medium-high, and while occasionally stirring, continue to cook uncovered for about 45 minutes or so, until all the liquid has cooked out and the pork fat has rendered.  During this time, your pot will be somewhere between a hefty simmer, and a full-on rolling boil.

When pork has browned on both sides, it's ready to go.  Check for seasoning, and add salt, if necessary.  It probably won't be, just so you know.

We served our carnitas up on some homemade corn tortillas, with roasted tomatillo salsa, a chipotle-lime sour cream (recipe follows), and some of J's delightful coleslaw.

Chipotle-Lime Sour Cream

1/2 cup sour cream
juice of 1/2 a lime
1 to 2 tsp chipotle hot sauce (I used Bufalo), depending on how spicy and smoky you like it

Mix it up, and you're good to go.  Serve atop tacos, or as a dip paired with other salsas.  Yum.

Have a good one, my friends!

1 comment:

  1. my coleslaw is now famous! i am going to miss our parties :) xo J