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a recipe for carnitas

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  • pigpuss Nov 27, 2004 10:41 AM

Does anyone have a recipe for carnitas

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  1. My mom's carnitas are great - here's what she does. In a large, deep, heavy pot combine a 4-5 lb. bone-in pork shoulder, 2 t. salt, 1/2 teaspoon EACH of dried oregano leaves, cumin and coriander, and 2 roughly chopped white or yellow onions. Barely cover with water. Boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 2.5 hours or until the pork is fork tender. Remove the pork from the water, put on a baking sheet or shallow baking pan, and bake, uncovered, at 350 for 45 minutes or an hour (it's done when the exterior of the pork is very brown). Shred the pork with a fork.

    1. That reminds me, does anyone have a favorite recipe for salsa...I know, I live on the East Coast and most people buy it in a jar, I don't mind using canned tomatoes even, but what to make it great? When everyone wrote in about hummus, they converted me, I'm never buying it pre-made again. Would like to say the same about salsa. Thanks.

      5 Replies
      1. re: coll

        Here's my favorite -- I made dinner for my extended family recently and what did they rave about? The salsa that I almost didn't make because it was just a garnish to the black bean chili.

        1 pound tomatoes (Roma/plum tomatoes are best), seeded
        1/2 medium yellow onion
        2 jalapeno peppers (for "medium" -- adjust to taste), seeded and pith removed
        2 cloves of garlic
        a generous handful of cilantro
        1 tablespoon oil (corn oil or one of the "yellow" oils is best)
        1/2 tsp. salt
        Juice of 1-2 limes (to taste -- will depend partly on the sweetness/acidity of your tomatoes)

        If you want a chunky salsa you can hand chop all this, but what I do is cut the tomatoes and onion into rough chunks and pulse them with the other ingredients in the food processor until "slushy": the fine texture ensures that each bite has all the ingredients in it.

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          Thanks Ruth, I'm making this later this week (as soon as I finish my Paul Newman's!)

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            A few of mine...

            My Salsa Rojo
            - Canned tomatoes (32oz)
            - Mix of jalapenos and serranos (about 6 or 7, or as many as you like)
            - Salt to taste (don't be shy)
            - Squeeze of lime or dash of vinegar
            - Garlic (1 or 2 cloves)

            The exact proportions aren't important. Just prepare to your taste. I find that using canned tomatoes makes a better salsa anyway; the only time I bother with fresh is at the peak of the summer tomato season.

            Drain tomatoes and save liquid. Roast the jalapenos in a broiler or directly on the burners of your stove until skin is blackened. Pull off stems. Peeling the chiles isn't necessary, as I find the char and bitterness tasty, but peel if you prefer. Throw everything in a blender and pulse a few times. You want it to be mostly smooth with a bit of chunkiness, but not liquified. Add some of the saved tomato juices if it is too thick. Serve.

            Sometimes I make the above salsa with dried chiles de arbol instead of fresh chiles.

            My Salsa de Tomatillos
            - Fresh tomatillos (2-3 dozen perhaps)
            - Dried chiles de arbol (10-15 perhaps)
            - Salt to taste (don't be shy)
            - Squeeze of lime or dash of vinegar
            - Garlic (1 or 2 cloves)

            Again, exact proportions aren't important. Just prepare to your taste. I have never tried canned tomatillos and have never met a Mexican cook who used them. The roasting actually makes a yellow/green salsa; not exactly a pretty color but it tastes great.

            Remove husks and roast the tomatillos in a broiler until slightly blackened. Heat a skillet to medium low and warm the dried chiles until they just begin to smoke (but don't let them blacken). Throw everything in a blender--including any juices that release from the tomatillos--and pulse a few times. Again, mostly smooth but not liquified.

            Notes
            Each of these will keep for 1-2 weeks in the fridge. I make big batches of them so that there is always some on the fridge. I often (but not always) add chopped onion and cilantro to the salsa rojo. But they seem to make the salsa go bad very quickly, so I only add them to a portion of salsa just before serving. Same I suppose would go for the salsa de tomatillo, though I have never added onion or cilantro to that one.

            1. re: nja

              Muchas gracias, tambien! and Thanks for the tomatilla sauce recipe, it's another of my favorites.

            2. re: Ruth Lafler

              A few of mine...

              My Salsa Rojo
              - Canned tomatoes (32oz)
              - Mix of jalapenos and serranos (about 6 or 7, or as many as you like)
              - Salt to taste (don't be shy)
              - Squeeze of lime or dash of vinegar
              - Garlic (1 or 2 cloves)

              The exact proportions aren't important. Just prepare to your taste. I find that using canned tomatoes makes a better salsa anyway; the only time I bother with fresh is at the peak of the summer tomato season.

              Drain tomatoes and save liquid. Roast the jalapenos in a broiler or directly on the burners of your stove until skin is blackened. Pull off stems. Peeling the chiles isn't necessary, as I find the char and bitterness tasty, but peel if you prefer. Throw everything in a blender and pulse a few times. You want it to be mostly smooth with a bit of chunkiness, but not liquified. Add some of the saved tomato juices if it is too thick. Serve.

              Sometimes I make the above salsa with dried chiles de arbol instead of fresh chiles.

              My Salsa de Tomatillos
              - Fresh tomatillos (2-3 dozen perhaps)
              - Dried chiles de arbol (10-15 perhaps)
              - Salt to taste (don't be shy)
              - Squeeze of lime or dash of vinegar
              - Garlic (1 or 2 cloves)

              Again, exact proportions aren't important. Just prepare to your taste. I have never tried canned tomatillos and have never met a Mexican cook who used them. The roasting actually makes a yellow/green salsa; not exactly a pretty color but it tastes great.

              Remove husks and roast the tomatillos in a broiler until slightly blackened. Heat a skillet to medium low and warm the dried chiles until they just begin to smoke (but don't let them blacken). Throw everything in a blender--including any juices that release from the tomatillos--and pulse a few times. Again, mostly smooth but not liquified.

              Notes
              Each of these will keep for 1-2 weeks in the fridge. I make big batches of them so that there is always some on the fridge. I often (but not always) add chopped onion and cilantro to the salsa rojo. But they seem to make the salsa go bad very quickly, so I only add them to a portion of salsa just before serving. Same I suppose would go for the salsa de tomatillo, though I have never added onion or cilantro to that one.

          2. the best (and only way, in my opinion) to make carnitas is the real and original way. To slowly cook it in lard.

            Get your pork shoulder in a pot with enough lard to barely cover it. throw in an orange peel, then simmer it on a low flame. The key here is to slowly cook it and not brown it. You aren't frying it... it's almost more like poaching it in lard.

            Then after about 2 to 2.5 hours of this, turn up the heat just for a couple of minutes to get a little bit of browning on it. Don't overcook it or you'll ruin it.

            Then, take it out and start to drain it on papertowels and newspapers. While it is still hot, break it into a couple of pieces, and salt it. Then use it for whatever you like. For tacos and burritos, you can chop it up into smaller pieces. Or keep it larger for a main dish.

            I know the prospect of cooking it in lard may not sound healthy for many, but doing it in water is just boiling or braising pork... I really wouldn't call it carnitas...

            good luck.

            2 Replies
            1. re: adamclyde

              This is the method we use as well. I included a link to the recipe I use. Works really really well. The recipe calls for a mix but I use pork butt whenever possible, pork shoulder as the backup. The can of coke at the end may sound weird and the reaction is different everytime we do (which is infrequently so I'm not sure why) but it really works and when it reacts like the recipe says, its cool food science! He's not kidding about keeping your eye on it.

              Ah, I just love carnitas. Enjoy!

              Link: http://www.mexconnect.com/foodboard/m...

              1. re: Allison

                ....please repost, if you don't mind. It appears as if you have to subscribe to search; otherwise, I've had tried to find it myself.

                Un mil de gracias.