Carnitas and Chipotle Salsa

Carnitas with Chipotle salsa

I had never made carnitas.

Now, I'll make them all the time! Cooking pork in a citrus liquid made for sensational grub.

While the carnitas were cooking I kept sticking my nose over the pot and letting my sense of smell drink in the flavors. It was hard waiting for the pot to finish, but it was totally worth it. The citrus didn't overpower, it added a sweet balance to the savory pork and other seasonings in the dish.

From the batch of carnitas I made four servings — tacos twice and two burritos for myself.

I harvested the pork shoulder chunks from a bone-in shoulder I picked up on special at the grocery store. I didn't realize it was bone-in until I was ready to start cooking. I wasn't quite sure how to attack it so I went to youtube and watched a video on how to de-bone a pork shoulder. It worked like a charm and I didn't waste hardly any meat.

To go along with the carnitas I made a spicy chipotle salsa. I knew I would be eating most of it myself over the next week, so I made it hot, probably way to hot for most people, but I like really bold salsa for my tacos. Removing the seeds and flesh from the jalapeno and chipotle peppers can reduce the heat significantly if a milder sauce is desired.

The carnitas and salsa were an evening project on a day off. At one point, I had both pots on the stove simmering away, releasing magical aromas that turned my kitchen air into a yummy potpourri. As I inhaled the stove-top perfume I felt the zen of culinary bliss take over my mind — which made for a great evening of relaxing and eating at home.

Cooking and creating the food that keeps us alive can be a true pleasure, these dishes were exactly that for me.

Eat, well cook often ...

CARNITAS
Serves 4 to 6, 3 hours, 30 minutes
3 lbs pork shoulder, cut into cubes
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs oregano
1 bay leaf
2 oranges, zest and juice
3/4 C pineapple juice
2 C water

In a large pot, over medium-high heat brown pork in a little oil or lard on all sides. Work in batches if necessary, season to taste. Remove pork and add onion, cook until soft 4 to 6 minutes, season to taste. Add garlic, oregano and bay leaf, cook 1 minutes more or until fragrant. Return pork to pan and zest and juice from oranges, pineapple juice and water. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Let simmer 2 hours. Remove lid and cook liquid out, 45 minutes to 1 hour more. Monitor closely toward the end. Remove from pot and serve. For Tacos I served carnitas with corn tortillas, onion, cilantro and salsa (recipe follows).

CHIPOTLE SALSA
Makes 2 cups, 1 hour, 30 minutes
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped
3/4 C pineapple juice
1 Tbs white vinegar
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 can chipotle in adobo sauce
1 C water
1 handful cilantro
2 limes, juice and zest

In a soup pot over medium heat, saute onion and jalapeno in a little oil until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Season to taste. Add oregano and garlic, cook until fragrant or a another minute or two.  Add pineapple juice, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, chipotles in adobo sauce and water. Bring to a simmer and let cook for an hour or until liquid has reduced by 3/4ths. Let mixture cool for a bit then pour in blender add cilantro, zest and juice of lime. Blend until smooth, 4 to 6 minutes. Adjust seasoning if necessary, then serve.

1 comment:

Adam J. Holland said...

Carnitas are like little precious jewels. Yours look wonderful. And the salsa.. Wow!