Friday, August 6, 2010

Slow Cooker Carnitas

Since I finally bought a slow cooker after being without for many, many years, I am trying to use it more frequently. I've discovered starting a recipe first thing in the morning, leaving it alone for 8 - 10 hours, and then having a meal ready at suppertime is a pretty good deal. Plus, I am able to avoid heating up my house as much or I don't need to be at the mercy of Curtis and the Egg (I know I could learn how to barbeque, but why?). Thus, I am ever on the search for new recipes that aren't just soups or stews.

With the heat wave that's stifling the East Coast (By the way, we just hit 100 degrees in my part of Texas. We've had rainy days on occasion. Such a nice respite from last summers 70+ days of 100 degrees weather), slow cooker recipes are more prevalent on good food blogs.

This was fabulous. The prep work was minimal--I get annoyed with slow cooker recipes that has a lot of upfront work. If I want to do a lot of prep work, I'll not bother with getting out the slow cooker! We made these into tacos and quesadillas. I saved the juice from the crockpot, cooled it and skimmed the fat off the top. It made a great sauce for pouring over the pork when I reheated it for may other meals.

This recipe will feed a small army (12 - 16 people). Either plan on feeding a lot, eating it all week, or freezing some to save for later.

Slow Cooker Carnitas
from the Kitchn

1 ( 6 - 8 lb) bone-in pork butt, also called pork shoulder or boston butt (or if you can, buy meat labeled carnitas)
2 T coarse salt
1 T cumin
1 T black pepper
1 T dried oregano
2 t cinnamon
1 t cayenne or chili powder, or to taste
8 cloves garlic, smashed
4 chipotle peppers, canned or dried (optional)
1 c tomato juice
1 c orange juice

Trim excess fat off meat and discard fat. Place all ingredients in slow cooker and stir gently to combine. Cook on low for 8 hours. Meat will fall off the bone and shred very easily. When cool enough to handle, remove meat from juices and place in large bowl. Remove bone from meat and shred using a couple of forks or a pastry blender (it really works well!).

Refrigerate juices. Once fat has congealed, skim the fat off the juices. Save the juices to top meat with when reheating.

For tacos, serve on your choice of tortillas with sour cream, cilantro, chopped red onion, lime wedges, and roasted chiles (if you have an overabundance of chiles like I do).

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