Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Mexican Pulled Pork - Carnitas

I have a newer, easier version of pulled pork for tacos here
Sorry for the delay in posting this. I've been having back and neck problems for the last 2 weeks so everything has been sporadic based on how my back happens to feel at the moment. Robert made these 2 Sundays ago since I was out of commission w/ above mentioned back problems. They were delicious. The recipe is from Cook's Illustrated which won't let you into their recipes unless you pay a membership fee... so here it is on my blog, no membership required. Cook's Illustrated May 2008. You really want to go with the corn tortillas for these... the corn taste is wonderful with the pork, onion and cilantro. Tacos are the most obvious use for this meat, but you can also use it as a filling for tamales, enchiladas, and burritos.

1 (3 1/2-4 pound) boneless pork butt, fat cap trimmer to 1/8 inch thick, cut into 2-inch chunks
table salt and ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 small onion, peeled and halved
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons juice from 1 lime
2 cups water
1 medium orange, halved

Tortillas and garnishes
18 (6-inch) corn tortillas, warmed
Lime wedges
minced white or red onion
Fresh cilantro leaves
sour cream
(we also had wedges of fresh tomato)

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees. Combine pork, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, cumin, onion, bay leaves, oregano, lime juice, and water in large Dutch oven (liquid should just barely cover meat). Juice orange into medium bowl and remove any seeds (you should have about 1/3 cup juice). Add juice and spent orange halves to pot. Bring mixture to simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Cover pot and transfer to oven; cook until meat is soft and falls apart when prodded with fork, about 2 hours, flipping pieces of meat once during cooking.

2. Remove pot from oven and turn oven to broil. Using slotted spoon, transfer pork to bowl; remove orange halves, onion and bay leaves from cooking liquid and discard (do not skim fat from liquid). Place pot over high heat (use caution, as handles will be very hot) and simmer liquid, stirring frequently, until think and syrupy (heat-safe spatula should leave wide trail when dragged through glaze), 8 to 12 minutes. You should have about 1 cup reduced liquid.

3. Using 2 forks, pull each piece of pork in half. Fold in reduced liquid; season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread pork in even layer on wire rack set inside rimmed baking sheet or on broiler pan (meat should cover almost entire surface of rack or broiler pan). Place baking sheet on lower-middle rack and broil until top of meat is well browned (but not charred) and edges are slightly crisp, 5 to 8 minutes. Using wide metal spatula, flip pieces of meat and continue to broil until top is well browned and edges are slightly crisp 5 to 8 minutes longer. Serve immediately with warm tortillas and garnishes. (We took the pork out of the oven at the flipping stage, but decided it looked good enough and since we were hungry we didn't flip or return it to the oven - so it didn't get the crisp edges described but tasted wonderful!)

Serves 6


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