Monday, August 9, 2010
Well, I've neglected everyone over the past couple weeks by not making any posts. To be fair to our growing reader population, I've decided to give up one of my cherished recipes. An always tasty attraction and a fan favorite at Cinco de Mayo parties -- here are Matty Carnitas.
3-4lb pork shoulder
4 tsp salt
4 tsp garlic powder
4 tsp cumin
2 tsp mexican oregano (or regular if you can't find mexican)
2 tsp ground coriander seed
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 bay leaves
a little chicken broth or water
Combine salt, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, coriander, and cinnamon in a bowl. Coat the pork shoulder all over liberally with the dry rub (go nuts, that chunk of pork is thick inside). You may have some extra left over and a lot will just fall off as you're doing it. I apply it to a fresh pork shoulder which is usually a little damp out of the package and takes the rub fairly well. Place in fridge over night if you can for best results, but it can be used right away.
Place in crock pot on low for 6.5 hours with 2 bay leaves and enough water/broth to lightly cover the bottom. Be careful not to rinse off any of the dry rub when placing the liquid in.
When time is up, remove the pork from the crock pot and coarsely chop it up into pieces however you fine you'd like it (mine vary in size from small bits to 1-2" pieces. This takes like 30 seconds as its already super tender and falling apart. Just give it a once over with a chefs knife and you should be pretty good. Spread the meat evenly on a cookie sheet that has a little depth to it.
Now, using a ladle or big spoon, take the rendered fat from the crockpot (you should have a good amount), and pour over the meat just enough to dampen them all pretty good.
Place in a broiler on high for about 10 minutes or until you see the fat bubbling on the top of the meat (like it does when you cook bacon). Mix up the meat a bit then put back in for another 5 minutes. The goal here is to crisp some of it up which adds nice contrasting texture.
And now the carnitas are done. Traditionally I have them as tacos (with flour or corn tortillas) with cheese and whatever other toppings you like. I recommend making the following salsa to use with it. It is fantastic with carnitas, and you will be really glad you did.
Roasted Tomatillo Chipotle Salsa.
3 cloves of garlic
2 chipotle peppers (you'll also find these at most grocery stores in the ethnic food area .. they come in a small metal can and say chipotles or chipotles in adobo sauce)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup of water
Buy 5 good sized tomatillos and cut them lengthwise. If you haven't used tomatillos, you want to take the husk off of them and give them a quick rinse in cold water (as they are sticky) before you cut them.
1. Roasting the tomatillos and garlic
Lay a square of aluminum foil on a griddle or skillet set over medium heat. Set the tomatillos on top and turn regularly until soft and blackened in spots, about 10 minutes. While the tomatillos are roasting, toast the garlic on an uncovered spot on the griddle (or use another skillet) turning frequently until soft, about 15 minutes. The garlic skin will black and brown in spots as well. Cool, slip off the garlic skin and chop each clove into quarters. Allow both to cool off.
2. Finishing the salsa
Place the tomatillos, garlic, 2 chipotles out of the can, 1/4 of water into blender or food processor and puree. Scrape the salsa into a dish, season with salt and stir. Add more water if necessary to give it a light, saucy consistency. If a smokier flavor is desired, stir a teaspoon or two of the sauce from the canned chipotles.
Serve salsa at room temp or slightly chilled.