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Carnitas

April 25, 2012

Nate and I love Tex-Mex.  When we were in Peace Corps we spent hours making our own tortillas and re-fried beans,  and going from one store to the market to another store to find cheddar(ish) cheese, sour cream, and tomatoes.  Now that we live in the US we continue to make Tex-Mex pretty regularly, and I still make my own flour tortillas (they just taste so much better!).  That said, I don’t know why it’s taken us this long to make something from the blog Homesick Texan!

We decided to try making carnitas with a green sauce, and it was one of those meals where you are stuffed to the gills but you just don’t want to stop eating. Later we used some of the carnitas on nachos, and those were amazing too.  The green sauce was light and flavorful, and we tried a new way to remove the seed from an avocado:

Just use a corkscrew!  We got the idea from Cook’s Illustrated, and it worked like a charm.  I’d previously always just whacked the seed with a knife and used the knife to pull it out, but then how do you (safely) get the seed off the knife?  I won’t even go into how many times I’ve almost sliced my hand.

The pork cooked for two hours in a mixture of orange juice and water, and then we turned up the heat to boil off the liquid, keeping the melted pork fat (or lard) to get the pork crispy.

I think I stirred it too frequently when the liquid was boiling off (above photo) since you’ll see most of the pork just fell apart and there weren’t as many chunks as I think there were supposed to be.  It seemed like it took a while to make the carnitas, but I definitely could have just left it alone more and it would have been a lot less work.  I picked out the big chunks of pork fat since they were kind of gross before we sat down to eat, although you need to make sure you have plenty of fat on the meat because otherwise your carnitas will be dry.  Ours turned out great, and I think next time I’ll stir less so we’ll have even more crispy chunks!

Carnitas
From Homesick Texan

The link above will take you to the recipe, which we followed almost exactly.  I found that the meat didn’t get crisp until I cranked the heat up, and it took longer than 45 minutes for the liquid to evaporate. Also, apparently pork butt and pork shoulder are pretty much the same thing.  I have a feeling that if you follow her directions with more exactitude than us, you won’t run into the same issues we did.

Salsa Verde
From Homesick Texan

The blender is your best friend for making salsa!

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