Un Experimento Culinario: Carnitas de Cerdo

So far, on this blog I’ve shared only recipes that offer creative ways to use up leftovers—but this culinary experiment turned out so well that I wanted to share it with you.

I was looking for a big beef chuck roast to make shredded beef burritos for our class Cinco de Mayo party, but wow! Who knew beef was so expensive? So I went to the Grocery Outlet and found a five-pound pork loin roast. Surely I could do something with this, right?

I perused several recipes for Mexican-style shredded pork and determined that I was heading in a carnitas direction. This recipe combines the suggestions of several online recipes.

The pork was pretty lean, so I coated the bottom of my lidded roasting pan with about 2 Tbs. olive oil. Then I rubbed the pork with:

  • 1 ½ Tbs. salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbs. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. chipotle chili powder

I placed the pork in the roasting pan, fat side up, and added

  • one white onion, pretty large, coarsely chopped,
  • 2 Anaheim chiles, cut into strips
  • 4 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped

I poured around this

  • one cup of orange juice
  • one cup of water

and put it into a preheated 350 degree oven with the lid on.

Two hours later, I took off the lid, basted the meat with the juices, and continued cooking for another hour and a half, basting every 20 minutes or so—mostly because that makes me feel important. I kept poking it until I was sure it was soft enough to shred.

After the meat cooled, I shredded it with two forks and mixed in the juices from the pan. At first, it looked like there’d be too much liquid, but the meat soaked it right up.

For our Cinco de Mayo party in Spanish class, I served this with flour tortillas, fresh cilantro, purchased salsa verde, and Mexican queso fresco. ¡Estupendo! The shredded pork would also be great for tacos, enchiladas, over rice…or just random forkfuls snatched whenever passing the fridge. ¡Buen provecho!

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