Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

I've written about making a crock pot Latin-inspired recipe before (see the recipe here ) but that recipe included tomatillos. And, while I love tomatillos, I don't always have them on hand and sometimes they are not available locally. Or if they are, they cost an arm and a leg. Here's another recipe, a little different in flavor, but really good, nonetheless. I found this recipe on 12 Tomatoes, a recipe blog/website that I read quite often. You can read their version HERE  I did things a little differently, because I just do. It always caused me trouble in school, but it seems to work out in cooking. I only had one orange -- and it was HUGE-- so I used half -- and 2 limes, but I need one for the slaw, so that's what I used, and honestly, it seemed like plenty to me. I added a little more cumin to make up for it. My jalapeno was huge, so I used half and used the other half in the slaw I made to go on top. I've linked that recipe below.

We liked the Carnitas better the 2nd time we ate them and I actually followed the directions and crisped the pork up in a skillet. The first time I made it, I simply spread it on a cookie sheet and put it under the broiler. Didn't get nearly crispy, so go for the skillet option recommended. Sometimes it IS good to follow directions!

Get out your trusty slow cooker and throw everything in early in the day. Go to work, or head off for a busy day of errands, etc. and you'll come home to a heavenly smelling house!

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
Makes at least 8 Tacos

3 lbs. boneless pork roast, rinsed and patted dry
(I used a sirloin roast, not a tenderloin)
2 yellow onions, chopped
1 half of a large orange                                         3 cloves garlic, smashed and roughly chopped     1 lime, cut in half
1 T. cumin
2 heaping tsp. dried oregano
1 bunch cilantro, rinsed and stems removed
1 T. olive oil
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed and chopped (should be about 1 T. total)
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
Corn or wheat tortillas, your choice, for serving
Limes to squeeze over
Jalapeno Slaw, optional
Hot Sauce (optional)

(Don't skip the step of drying the roast. It makes a difference, as the spices will adhere to it better.You can see mine draining on a paper plate lined with several paper towels.) 

Season the pork roast well with salt and pepper. Place it in the bottom of your slow cooker. Pour over the oil and turn it over to coat. Add the onion, garlic, jalapeno, cumin. cilantro and oregano. Squeeze the orange half and the lime over the ingredients. Add the squeezed out fruit to the slow cooker. 

Cook on low heat for at least 6 hours. Remove the orange and lime and discard. Take your roast out and place it on a cookie sheet.
Using two forks, and perhaps occasionally a knife, shred the pork, onions and chili into a big ol' mixture of goodness, like this:

As I said above, I tried crisping the meat up under the boiler, but it didn't get nearly crispy enough. The second time was the charm, when I used a hot non-stick skillet, added a little vegetable oil and carefully laid 2 heaping spoonfuls of the pork mixture and pressed it down into the oil and let it sizzle away into awesome crispiness....Like this:

We enjoyed them topped with a little jalapeno slaw (recipe here, along with Fish Tacos)  and a few drops of hot sauce! 
They were YUMMY! 

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