Monthly Archives: December 2016



Meltingly soft carnitas, or stewed pork, can be served as a traditional entree with pickled red onions or wrapped in corn tortillas as a taco.

2 pounds lard, pork fat, or shortening
1/4 cup Mexican beer
1/4 cup Mexican Coke
1/4 cup condensed milk
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 dried chipotle chile
1/2 onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
1 cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 pounds pork butt, trimmed and cut into 3-inch cubes

For Serving:
24 small (4-inch) corn tortillas
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Chipotle Salsa
Border Guacamole

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. 

Heat lard in a large, deep, ovenproof saucepan over moderate heat until just melted.  Add beer, soda, orange juice, chipotle, onion, garlic, bay leaf, oregano, thyme, cinnamon stick, salt, and pepper.  Combine thoroughly.  Arrange pork cubes in the pan and bring back to a simmer.  Remove from heat, cover with a lid or foil, and transfer to oven.  Cook until pork is tender and can be pulled apart easily, about 3 hours, being careful not to crisp the meat.  Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool slightly before shredding carnitas with a fork.* 

To serve as a taco, dip corn tortillas in water, shaking off excess.  Toast one at a time in a nonstick pan over moderate heat about 1 minute per side.  Wrap in a towel to keep warm.  Meanwhile, toss carnitas with red onion and cilantro.  For each taco, stack 2 tortillas and top with carnitas mixture, Chipotle Salsa, and Border Guacamole.  Serve immediately.

* Alternate Method:  Instead of shredding, cut cooked carnitas into 1/4-inch cubes and brown quickly on the griddle before serving on tacos.


Border Sugar Cookies

Photo: Helen Rosner

Mary Sue’s mother, Ruth, came up with the secret ingredient that gives these crumbly sugar cookies their irresistible crunch. It is only a small amount of potato chips, but what a terrific difference it makes. Just place a few handfuls in a bag and crush with a rolling pin or the palms of your hand.

These sugar cookies stay fresh for a couple of weeks stored in an airtight tin.

Makes about 24 cookies

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup crushed potato chips
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Sugar, for dipping
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, for garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the salt and vanilla. Then add the pecans and potato chips and mix well. With a wooden spoon, stir in the flour just until it disappears.

Roll the batter into balls about the size of a large walnut and place on the parchment-lined cookie sheet, allowing plenty of room for spreading. Coat the bottom of a heavy glass with butter and then dip in sugar. Press and twist to flatten each ball into a 3-inch circle. Transfer cookies to oven and bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges turn lightly golden brown. Transfer to racks to cool.

For optional garnish, melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering water. Let cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, dip your fingertips, or the tines of a fork, in the chocolate and drizzle over the cookies. Refrigerate to set.

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