Tuesday, March 17, 2009


During the week, I rarely have much time or energy to cook anything more than the simplest of dishes. For this reason, I tend to spend my Sunday nights tending to a braised dish on the stove or a roasted meat in the oven. This Sunday, I prepared carnitas, a Mexican dish consisting of cubed pork butt that is braised in spices until all of the liquid evaporates, and then fried in it's own fat (hey, I ran 15 miles this weekend!). The nice thing about carnitas is that it is so versatile. Having researched a number of recipes, I found that nearly anything combination of ingredients can be used so long as the basic technique is followed. Realizing that it was not necessary to follow a recipe, I decided to make my own, and I was proud of the result, which follows. In order to use up some the lager I bought for the pork, I served the carnitas with Drunken Beans made with Rancho Gordo vaqueros.


  • 3 lb. pork butt, cut into 1.5 inch chunks
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 poblano pepper, chopped
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo, minced
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 Tb cumin ground
  • 2 tsp. dried ancho pepper, ground
  • 1 Tb dried marjoram
  • Salt, for seasoning
  • 12 oz. lager beer
  • Cilantrol leaves, for serving
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  • Tomatillo salsa, for serving
  1. Add first 11 ingredients (up to the salt) to a large dutch oven. Marinate for several hours.
  2. Pour in beer and add water to barely cover pork. Simmer pork over moderate heat until meat easily falls apart, approximately 2 hrs.
  3. Increase heat to medium-high and continue to cook until liquid has completely reduced, another hour and a half.
  4. Once the only remaining liquid is the pork fat, watch pork carefuly. Cook the pork cubes or shreds, turning occasionally, until brown and crispy.
  5. Serve pork over rice or in warmed toritillas. Garnish with cilantro and serve with salsa.

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