Saturday, December 15, 2012
Pulled Pork Carnitas
Pork Carnitas are bites of pork that are cooked until melt in your mouth tender; then the pork is roasted at high temperature just until caramelized and crisp on the edges. Carnitas literally translates to "little meats." This was a big hit with the whole family and I know that I'll be making this pork for years to come.
For all the length of the recipe, the actual work involved was less than 20 minutes. This time, I served the pork on it's own with potatoes. It would be delicious on rice or stuffed into tacos or burritos. I could hardly stop sampling this meat as I was snapping a picture before serving our plates, it really is that good.
Pulled Pork Carnitas
recipe slightly adapted from Cooks Illustrated via My Kitchen Escapades
4 lb boneless pork shoulder or butt roast, fat trimmed slightly and then cut into large 2" cubes
1 onion, ends cut off, halved and peeled
the juice of 1 medium orange or 4 tiny clementines (save the spent halves)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Adjust the oven rack to the lower middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine all the ingredients (including the spent orange halves) in a dutch oven or a large pot with an oven-safe lid. Bring the pot to a simmer over medium high heat. Once the pot is simmering, move the pot to the oven and cook for about 2 hours, until the meat is fork tender and falling apart.
Remove the pot from the oven and preheat the oven to broil. Use a slotted spoon or a set of tongs to remove the meat from the pot and place it on a large foil lined baking sheet. Remove and discard everything else in the pot, leaving only the liquid. Place the pot over high heat on the stove, for about 10-20 minutes. Boil it until the liquid is thick and syrup-like. There should be about 1 cup of liquid left in the pot.
While the liquid is boiling and reducing, use the tongs or a pair of forks to very gently pull each piece of pork into 3 pieces. Avoid shredding the pork at this point, it will be very tender. Once the liquid has become thick and syrup-like, remove from the heat and place the pork back into the pot with the liquid. Gently fold the pieces into the liquid and try not to break them up further.
Transfer the coated pork back onto the baking sheet, spreading it in just one layer across the pan. Place the baking sheet back in the oven on the same lower middle shelf. Broil for 6-8 minutes, until the meat is quite browned and slightly crispy on the edges. Remove from the oven and use your tongs or a large spatula to flip over each piece. Return the pan to the oven and broil the other side for 6-8 minutes, until both sides are well-browned and the edges are crisp. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
ONE YEAR AGO TODAY: Roasted Broccoli with Pecorino Romano