Yum how can you go wrong with heavenly slow roasted pork that melts in your mouth and is topped with fresh made guacamole, cilantro, onions, salsa and a few spicy carrots? To me this is truly the ultimate Mexican meat and its surprisingly not too complicated to make!
Carnitas literally translates to "little meats", and is braised pork shoulder which simmers slowly in a flavorful broth and then is finished by roasting it at a high temperature for a few minutes to crisp the exterior and give it a beautiful caramelization. In this recipe chunks of pork are simmered in a combination of water, orange juice and spices until it’s tender and falling apart. Before serving the meat is returned to an oven at high broil along with some of the condensed rendered liquid and is placed in a fairly shallow pan for a few minutes to produce the desired texture of succulent softness and caramelized crispness which equals deliciousness.
4-5-pounds boneless pork should, cut into 5-inch chunks, trimmed of excess fat
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
2 tablespoons canola or neutral vegetable oil
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon chile powder
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 cups (or more) water
1 - 1 1/2 cups fresh orange juice
1 Tbls grated orange zest
Cut pork into 5 huge chunks and cut off any large chunks of fat. Cover the meat with the salt, cumin, chile powder and stick pieces of the garlic inside little pockets in the meat (you should be able to stick them in with your fingers here or if necessary use a little knife to make a little slit and stick it in). Add some olive oil to the pan and brown the meat in 2 batches in a huge dutch oven quickly on both sides to give it a good sear. Now add the water, orange juice, zest and cinnamon sticks and bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat. Make sure meat is close to covered with liquid. Reduce heat to lowest setting, cover and simmer until pork is tender and falling apart (2 to 3 hours depending on heat). You want the pot to simmer very gently not to boil rapidly which will lead to tough meat! Add more water if necessary to keep the pork partially submerged in liquid. When the pork is tender take it off the heat, pull the meat out and place on a shallow cookie tray. Set aside. Now increase the heat and boil the cooking juices on medium heat until the liquid is reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Add a bit of orange juice once the liquid is reduced to cut through some of the salt. Before serving finished the meat by adding a bit of the condensed sauce to the pan and then roasting the pork in the oven at a high temperature (450) for a 8 minutes or so to crisp the exterior and give it a beautiful caramelization. Cool and shred before serving.
Serve with corn tortillas (warmed quickly by wrapping them in a towel and putting them in the microwave or oven), pineapple guacamole, salsa, pinto beans, fresh cilantro, and diced onion, lime. I think having nopalitos (canned prickly pear cactus) and spicy jalapeno carrots on the table is a nice complement as well. Also, a jalapeno spiked Sangria is a nice accompaniment to this dish!
Beer Braised Chicken Verde- recipe from Mexican magazine
Prep: 20 mins cook: 25 mins
1 cup chopped onion
5 cloves garlic minced
¼ cup unsalted butter
1-teaspoon ground cumin
1-teaspoon ground coriander
1-teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried Mexican coriander
1 12-ounce bottle Mexican beer (Modelo or Pacifico)
1 12 oz tomatillos fresh if you can find them
1 4 to 5 oz can diced green Chile peppers
1.5 pounds chicken thighs
1. In a 4 quart Dutch oven heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic, cook and stir or 3 minutes. Add butter, cumin, coriander, chili powder, oregano, and salt. Cook and stir until butter melts.
2. Set oven to high broil and add tomatillos to the oven on a cooking sheet. Broil 5-10 minutes until you have a nice char. Add beer, tomatillos, and Chile peppers. Bring to boiling. Add chicken. Return to boiling, reduce heat. Simmer covered for about 30 minutes or until chicken is tender and no longer pink, stirring every 5 minutes to break up the tomatillos. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken from the cooking liquid to a cutting board. Gently boil the cooking liquid, uncovered for about 10 mins more or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, using two forks, pull chicken apart into shreds.
3. Place chicken in a medium bowl. Add 1 cup of the reduced cooking juices, stir to moisten chicken. Use mixture as filling for quesadillas or tacos, serve with remaining cooking juices. Makes 3 cups filling.
Prep: 35 mins cook: 45 mins
Nonstick cooking spray
2 ½ pounds roma tomatoes
6 medium fresh poblano chile peppers
1 red bell pepper
1 Tbls olive oil
1 large onion halved and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic minced
1-teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
3 14-ounze cans of chicken broth
8 oz queso fresco
1. Thaw shrimp, if frozen, peel and devein shrimp. Rinse shrimp, pat dry with paper towels and set aside.
2. Preheat broiler and line a cookie sheet with foil, lightly coat foil with cooking spray. Place whole tomatoes on prepared baking pan along with peppers and red bell pepper. Broil for 10-12 minutes until skins are charred, turning everything once halfway through broiling time. When tomatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them over a bowl, collecting all their juices. Pour everything into a blender and cover and pulse until mixture is nearly smooth. Set aside.
3. In a Dutch oven heat oil over medium heat. Ad onion, cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden (just sweating the onions do not brown). Add pureed mixture, garlic, dried oregano, cumin and salt. Bring to boil over medium high heat. Continue boiling for 7 to 8 minutes or unit mixture is quite thick, stirring frequently. Stir in broth and return to boiling and reduce to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Stir in shrimp, simmer uncovered for 2 to 3 minutes or until shrimp are opaque.
4. Sprinkle servings with cheese. Garnish with a lime, cilantro and oregano sprigs. Makes 6 servings
Hibiscus-Jalapeno infused Sangria
2 cups water
5 Tea bags of Hibiscus tea
1 jalapeno diced thin
1 apple chopped
¼ pineapple chopped
1 small orange
1 bottle of dry red whine
1 bottle of champagne
1. Boil water and add it to a pitcher filled with 5 tea bags.
2. Add diced jalapeno, apple, pineapple and orange, wine and ice.
3. Reserve in the fridge for 5+ hours to let the sangria soak up all the fruit and jalapeno. Served iced.
Grilled Pineapple Guacamole
1 cup of fresh chopped Hawaiian pineapple
5 ripe avocados
½ Diced red onion
Few Tbls pineapple juice
1 tbls chopped cilantro
¼ of a chopped jalapeno
Pinch of salt and pepper
3 limes squeezed
1. Grill pineapple over a hot flame for about 5 minutes. Dice grilled pineapple.
2. Place avocados in a bowl and roughly mash with a fork leaving some whole chunks intact. Stir in chopped pineapple, onion, jalapeno, salt, pepper and lime juice. Add cilantro. Reserve in the fridge until needed.
Tres Leche Cake- Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart and Andrea Kruegers creative genius
A bit of Unsalted butter, room temperature, for baking dish
6 large eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 can(12 ounces) evaporated milk
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 Tbls cinnamon
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
1 Papaya peeled and chopped
1 Mango peeled and chopped
¼ a fresh pineapple
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. In a mixing bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy. In another bowl, beat egg whites to soft peaks. Using a rubber spatula, fold whites into yolks until almost combined. Gently fold in flour (do not overmix).
2. Spread batter in prepared dish. Bake until golden and pulling away from sides of dish, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool cake 20 minutes and then pierce all over with a fork.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the three milks; pour evenly over cake. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.
4. Cook payapa flesh, mango and pineapple over the stove top for 5 mins with a bit of water. Transfer mixture to the blender and then put back on th stove until you reach desired thick consistency. Spread filling over first layer of cake and top with second layer.
5. To serve, prepare topping decoration as you wish. In a mixing bowl, whip heavy cream with sugar and cinnamon until soft peaks form. Chill cake and cut into squares; serve topped with whipped cream.