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
- Add first 11 ingredients (up to the salt) to a large dutch oven. Marinate for several hours.
- Pour in beer and add water to barely cover pork. Simmer pork over moderate heat until meat easily falls apart, approximately 2 hrs.
- Increase heat to medium-high and continue to cook until liquid has completely reduced, another hour and a half.
- Once the only remaining liquid is the pork fat, watch pork carefuly. Cook the pork cubes or shreds, turning occasionally, until brown and crispy.
- Serve pork over rice or in warmed toritillas. Garnish with cilantro and serve with salsa.