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September 21, 2009

Growing up in a household where my mother was Mexican and my father was Polish,  any given meal could feature a pierogi and a taco on the same plate.  Now, living in the land of fondue or potatoes, I occasionally crave Mexican food resulting in attempts to recreate the foods I loved so much as a child in an ingredient-challenged environment.  The compromise?  Carnitas, a Mexican slow-cooked pork.

This recipe is fantastic because it calls for ingredients that you can get in the blandest of countries.   The beautiful thing about this recipe is that you can play around with it and make it your own, I added Pequin chilis, an import from the States.

Active time: 10 minutes
Inactive time: approximately 4 hours


1.5 kilos pork shoulder, cut into large pieces (3 inch cubes)
1 cup orange juice (I used blood orange juice because it looked the best)
8 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp kosher salt
3 Pequin chilis optional

carnitasThis is the best bit–just throw all ingredients in a large pot (I used my Staub Cocotte) adding the water last to ensure that you add enough to cover the meat.  Loosely cover the meat, I just put the top on, leaving some space for steam to escape.  By the time the liquid evaporates, you should have incredibly tender pork.  If for some reason it’s still a little tough, add more water.  That’s it!

Once the liquid has evaporated, turn down heat on stove, remove the pork and shred with two forks.  The meat should fall apart.  Left in the pot, you should have some rendered fat.  Put the shredded meat back in with the rendered fat and allow to crisp for a few minutes.  Carnitas should be tender with a slightly crispy exterior.

Serve with hot fresh flour or corn tortillas, cilantro, mexican rice, avocado, nopales,  pierogies or whatever!


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