Sunday, March 29, 2015

Pork Carnitas

3.5 pounds of boneless pork shoulder
2 T olive oil
8 garlic cloves
1 large white onion
2 jalapeños
1 T cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tsp orange zest
1 large orange
1- 1 1/2 cups water

1 lime, cut into wedges
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup crumbled cotija cheese
1 red onion, thinly sliced (cooked or raw)
1 avocado, sliced

Cut pork shoulder into cubes, carefully removing as much fat as possible.  Start by cutting entire piece into large 1 inch slices.  Then cut up each slice while discarding the fat.

Heat oil in large stock pot.  Mince for of the garlic cloves and sauté in the oil for 1-2 minutes.

Add half of the cubed pork to the oil and garlic making sure that each piece is in the oil.  Braise each side of the meat until it begins to brown. Scoop out the cooked meat and set aside.  Repeat braising with the remaining pork.  Add all the pork into the stockpot.

Chop up onion and peppers into small pieces.  I used my hand crank food processor as it chops up everything evenly but doesn't pulverize the onion and release all of the juices.

Add the onion and pepper mixture to the pork.  Add the remaining 4 cloves of garlic (whole or sliced in half if they are too large) to the pot. Simmer together for 3-4 minutes until onion is translucent.

Meanwhile, slice the orange in half and zest enough peel to equal 1 tsp. Set aside.  Use a manual citrus juicer to squeeze the orange juice.  You should yield between 1/3 and 1/2 cup.

Add orange juice and all spices and herbs to the pot; cumin, paprika, turmeric, nutmeg, red pepper flakes, bay leaf and the fresh thyme sprigs.  Stir together all ingredients.

Add enough water to almost cover all of the meat.  Turn heat to medium until it begins to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer approximately 2 1/2 hours or until the meat is soft and easily pierced with a fork.  Remove lid for the last 30 minutes or until most of the liquid has reduced completely.

Serve over corn tortillas, and top with cilantro, cheese, and red onion.  Goes well with chopped cabbage, carrots, pepitos (toasted pumpkin seeds) and avocado. Squeeze lime over entire dish.

For fewer calories, I skip the corn tortillas and serve the pork over the cabbage and make a "carnitas salad."  No other dressing is needed except the lime juice.

Serves 4.

For Whole30 compliant, skip the cheese and tortillas. Here's how I recently enjoyed it on top of a bed of spinach and some lime shrimp and sliced avocado.

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