If I had known just how easy it is to make Carnitas I would have been making them for years instead of just the last year or so. I love to eat them and order them whenever we go to our favourite Mexican Restaurant- The Red Iguana.
I have always made what we call Mexican pot roast- a pork roast cooked slowly in the crock-pot with salsa or other seasonings. Making Carnitas just takes this a step further by then roasting the liquid off so that the meat gets a browned caramelized flavour and slight crispiness that is so delicious! This is more about technique than recipe but here is a basic one:
- one small pork shoulder or butt roast- it should fit easily into your crock-pot or braising pan.
- broth to cover- you can use chicken, beef, vegetable or even plain water ( I usually use chicken because I tend to keep it on hand) Some people use part cola for extra caramelizing and flavour-I rarely add it.
- Two tablespoons minced garlic (can use a small can of diced green chiles in a pinch)
- 2 small green chiles, roasted, peeled and seeded
- 1 Tablespoon Chile Powder- I use Rick’s of course!
- 1 teaspoon ground Cumin seeds, if you have a chance roast them first for better flavour.
Place the roast in the Crock-pot and cover with the broth and add the other ingredients. Put the lid on and roast until the meat is tender and falls apart- 4-8 hours depending on your slow cooker. Move the lid off so that the liquid can start to evaporate towards the end. Remove the meat and liquid to shallow pan, break the meat up into largish chunks with a fork and roast uncovered in a preheated 350F oven until the liquid evaporates and the meat turns crispy.
Mexican Red Rice with Peas and Carrots
- 1-1/2 cups long grain white rice
- hot water to cover
- 3 Tablespoons canola or similar oil
- 1 (14-ounce can roasted diced tomatoes
- 1/2 small white onion, divided in half and chopped
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
- 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- salt pepper
- 1/4 cup green peas
- 1 small carrot peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 small handful fresh parsley
Place the rice in a small bowl and cover with hot water for five minutes. Drain promptly and rinse in a small strainer until the water runs clear. Drain well and pat dry with a clean dish towel. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a heavy bottomed 4 quart saucepan or dutch oven with a lid. When the oil is hot add the rice- it should sizzle as it hits the oils. Fry it stirring constantly until the rice is starting to turn golden brown and sounds like little pebbles moving around in the pan. Meanwhile place the tomatoes, one half of the chopped onion, and the garlic in a blender and blend until smooth. When the rice is cooked, tip the pan and use a paper towel with tongs to blot up the excess oil in the bottom of the pan. Add the blended tomato mixture and fry until the liquid is absorbed, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. This will take about 10 minutes. Add the broth, peas, carrots, parsley and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir and cover, reduce heat to medium low and cook until the broth is absorbed and the rice is cooked through. Check this by removing the cover after about 25 minutes and pulling the rice apart with a fork to look at the bottom of the pan to check for liquid if it is still there recover the pan and cook for a few more minutes, repeat as needed. Do not stir the rice or it will turn mushy. When all the liquid is gone, remove the pan from the heat and leave it covered for another 15 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff with a fork, lifting up from the bottom of the pan where a lot of the flavour will settle. Great to make ahead and reheat in a pan in a 350F oven (cover with aluminum foil if with a few vent holes punched in it) for about 15 minutes depending on the quantity you’re reheating.
- 2 cups cooked black beans, can use canned or cook your own
- 1/3 cup red onion minced
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon chile powder
- pinch salt and pepper
- juice of one orange
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan, add the onion and chile powder and saute until translucent. Add the beans, salt and pepper and cook until the beans are heated through. Add the orange juice and cover. Remove from the heat and leave covered for a few minutes until ready to serve.
Serve these all with tortillas, salsa (I have Mango-Jalapeno and Pico de Gallo shown above) shredded cheese, lettuce, sour cream, guacamole etcetera to make a feast.
Hope you enjoy!