Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pulled Pork Carnitas & Cowboy Beans

Recipe Review: Pulled Pork Mexican style with a sweet tangy sauce. Plus Bacon makes everything better- including Pinto Beans.

This Sunday I made a late Cinco de Mayo dinner, (Ocho de Mayo?) Pork Carnitas Tacos, Cowboy Beans, and Mexican Red Rice. I've made the pork once before- from a Rick Bayless recipe that called for achiote seasoning, that version has a slightly smoky flavor, while this one has a more true pork flavor with citrus notes. "Real" carnitas involves a dutch oven and cooking for two hours but I cheat and use a crock pot, and then finish by broiling the meat to add a little crisp.

Pulled Pork Carnitas
adapted from Cooks Illustrated
yield: 6- 8 servings

1 3 lb pork shoulder
3 tablespoons Mexican seasoning
1 teaspoon cinnamon
fresh ground salt & pepper
1 cup chicken stock
6 cloves of garlic
1 onion peeled and halved
1 medium orange, haved
2 bay leaves
juice from 1/2 of a lime

Cut pork into 4- 6 large pieces and rub with spices. Add to crock pot, pour chicken stock around meat, and add remaining ingredients. Cook for 6-7 hours on low setting.

Transfer pork to a 13 x 9 casserole dish and use a fork to gently shred, removing any bones and fat cap. Remove any debris from cooking liquid and transfer to a saucepan. Simmer, stirring frequently, until thick and syrupy, then pour over pork.

Broil on high until to of meat is golden brown and the degrees are crisp, 5-8 minutes. For crispier meat flip and continue to broil an additional 5-8 minutes.

Note: The Mexican seasoning blend that I used contains: Cumin, onion, oregano, garlic, paprika, white pepper and thyme.

printable recipe

Carintas can be served alone as a main dish, but we made tacos, using corn tortillas, minced onions, cilantro, lime, avocado, jalapenos, and salsa. My side dishes were from Rick Bayless's Mexican Everyday cookbook. I did Mexican Red Rice, and Cowboy beans. I love these beans and I realized that I've never written them up before. The original recipe calls for home cooked beans, starting from dried pinto beans, but I cheat and use canned beans to speed things up. I didn't write up the Mexican Red Rice because I've blogged about it before- you can find the recipe here.

Cowboy Beans
adapted from Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless yield: 6 servings

4 slices of bacon, chopped into small pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans drained and rinsed pinto beans
1 cup chicken stock
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 medium jalapeno, minced
1/2 cup cilantro chopped

In a large saucepan cook bacon over medium heat until starting to brown, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and stir for one minute, then add one cup of tomatoes with their juice. Cook stirring constantly 3-4 minutes. Add beans and chicken stock. Simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While beans are cooking stem and seed jalapenos, then mince, and add to pot. Once beans have thickened up to desired consistency sprinkle in cilantro and serve.

printable recipe

These taste so so so good. Probably because they have bacon in them. I know this makes them not the greatest nutritionally, but they're kick ass. I used the leftover carnitas to make enchiladas- just rolled them up in tortillas and poured on enchilada sauce. Dinner was instantly ready for later that week- just need to warm up in the oven. I love any recipe that I can get two different meals out of.

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