Papaya Pomegranate Guacamole
Carnitas (Mexican Pulled Pork)
My reason for tonight's Sunday dinner menu would be that I wanted some good eats that would transport my mind to somewhere South of the border because it has been cold! And not just cold, but also days of icy conditions on the roads and sidewalks. Walking two dogs in such weather is not good. But what is good, is this meal! Four pounds of pork butt simmered in a flavorful broth and then "pulled", glazed and then broiled until crisped and caramelized. These carnitas or "little meats" are great for taco and burrito fillings, but they are wonderful when served on a dinner plate with all of these other good eats. I am starting to feel better all ready. Happy Sunday!
Mexican Pulled Pork (Carnitas)
4 pounds boneless pork butt, fat cap trimmed to 1/8 inch thick, cut into 2-inch chunks
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 small yellow onion, peeled and halved
2 dried bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
2 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
3 cups water
1 medium orange, halved
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300° F. Combine pork, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, cumin, onion, bay leaves, oregano, lime juice, and water in large Dutch oven (liquid should just barely cover meat). Juice orange into medium bowl and remove any seeds (you should have about 1/3 cup juice). Add juice and spent orange halves to pot. Bring mixture to simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Cover pot and transfer to oven; cook until meat is soft and falls apart when prodded with fork, about 2 hours, flipping pieces of meat once during cooking.
Remove pot from oven and turn oven to broil. Using slotted spoon, transfer pork to bowl; remove orange halves, onion, and bay leaves from cooking liquid and discard (do not skim fat from liquid). Place pot over high heat (use caution, as handles will be very hot) and simmer liquid, stirring frequently, until thick and syrupy (heat safe spatula should leave wide trail when dragged through glaze), about 8 to 12 minutes. You should have about 1 cup reduced liquid.
Using 2 forks, pull each piece of pork in half. Fold in reduced liquid; season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread pork in even layer on wire rack set inside rimmed baking sheet or on broiler pan (meat should cover almost entire surface of rack or broiler pan). Place baking sheet on lower-middle rack and broil until top of meat is well browned (but not charred) and edges are slightly crisp, 5 to 8 minutes. Using wide metal spatula or tongs, flip pieces of meat and continue to broil until top is well browned and edges are slightly crisp, 5 to 8 minutes longer. Serve immediately with warm tortillas and garnishes. Enjoy!
Source: Adapted from cooksillustrated.com