12/14/16

Carnitas

Carnitas

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.

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