Sunday, January 17, 2010

Crock Pot Carnitas

This recipe is healthy, easy, and relatively inexpensive.  So delicious and always a hit with everyone!  I hope you try it. :)

Crock Pot Carnitas
adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe

2-4 pounds pork shoulder (Boston butt), cut into pieces (about 2 to 4 inches in size)
2-3 teaspoons kosher salt (or table salt if you don't have kosher)
2-3 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dried oregano (preferably Mexican but any will do)
1/2 of a large onion, peeled and cut into 4 pieces

Get your crock pot out.  Cut onion in half, put one half in a ziploc-type bag and place in refrigerator for another use OR use it for the Roasted Tomatillo Salsa recipe below!  Take the other onion half, peel it and cut into 4 slices.  Using kitchen sheers or a sharp knife cut the strings off of the pork shoulder --usually the butcher will have tied the roast.  Cut the pork into pieces, 2 to 4 inches in size but don't worry about being precise.  Put the pork and onion pieces into your crock pot.  Add salt, pepper, and oregano to the crock pot and use your hands or a spoon to coat all the pork with the seasonings.  Cover the crock pot and cook on low setting for 6 hours or high setting for 4 hours.
Using tongs, a fork or a slotted spoon, remove pork pieces to a cutting board - - pull out a few at a time.  Use two forks to shred the pork OR you may remove all the pieces to the board let cool a bit and then use your fingers to shred the pork.  Pork shoulder has a lot of fat and a good portion of it will melt away during the cooking process.  You will still find large fibrous, fatty sections while you are shredding the pork.  If you find a tough part you can almost be sure this is just a fatty portion --the pork meat will shred effortlessly.  When all the pork is shredded I put it into a dish and spoon some of the juices from the crock pot over to moisten.
I like to serve this with brown rice and lots of yummy accoutrements:  roasted tomatillo salsa (see recipe below), tomatoes, avocado, sour cream, lime wedges, cilantro, monteray jack cheese, queso fresca, etc...


all the accoutrements

queso fresco -kind of like feta but milder and very salty

my favorite brand of tortillas --these are simply the best tasting brand on the market!
Warm them in a non-stick skillet, set on medium heat, for a few seconds on each side --or heat a batch in the microwave.