Tag Archives: Mexican

Carnitas

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Two summers ago, I worked for a newly opened office, designing their billing systems and doing data entry as well as answering phones.  The majority of my co-workers had immigrated from Mexico and Central America, and about half of them barely spoke English.  One day we had a potluck lunch, and I basically gorged myself on delicious, authentic Mexican food.  I’m not exaggerating when I say I almost couldn’t move after lunch, and just wanted to take a nap for the rest of the day.  I asked one of my co-workers to ask another girl for the recipe for her carnitas, because I don’t speak Spanish.  She wasn’t able to give me an exact recipe, but said that the pork is cooked in water with onions and jalapenos, shredded, and then cooked in a mixture of orange juice and milk.  I’m glad she didn’t tell me about the OJ and milk combo earlier, because I probably wouldn’t have tried it, but somehow it works and just adds a tiny bit of sweetness.

After looking around online I found a popular recipe that only seemed to deviate from my coworkers recipe in that it didn’t have jalapenos.  I made it recently using half a jalapeno, because I was worried about it being too spicy and my roommates not eating it.  It was delicious, but not at all spicy.  Next time I’ll use at least one whole jalapeno, and more likely two.  These carnitas are simple and fairly quick to throw together, because most of the cook time is completely hands-off.  You could also probably cook the pork in a crock-pot during the day, and just shred the meat and add the OJ and milk right at dinnertime.  No matter which way you do it, this is an easy, delicious meal that everyone will like.

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Your ingredients.

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I used pork shoulder steaks, because they were on sale.  It’s just a pork shoulder that’s already partially cut.  I only used half of this.

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After cutting up your meat, garlic, and jalapenos, add them to a pot of water with salt and pepper and boil for 40 to 45 minutes.

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Drain your meat, and shred it a little bit with two forks.

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Put your meat back in the pan, and add the orange juice and milk.  Remain calm.  Continue to cook over medium heat.

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Cook the liquid and pork until the liquid has mostly evaporated and coats the meat.

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Place your carnitas in a tortilla with whatever you want.  Some salsa or veggies would be great.  I just added a little bit of cheese.  Devour.

Pork Carnitas

adapted from Martha Stewart

2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch pieces (I used pork shoulder steak)

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped (I would use 1 or 2, and maybe leave some of the seeds in)

Salt and Pepper

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 c. milk

1/2 c. orange juice

Tortillas and whatever toppings you like (I would recommend salsa, onions, cheese, cilantro, and lime wedges)

1. In a large pot, combine the pork, onions, jalapeno, garlic, salt and pepper, and about 8 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 40-45 minutes.  Drain well.

2. Heat oil over medium-high in a large non-stick skillet (I just used the same pot).  Add pork, milk, and orange juice, and cook 8-12 minutes, until liquid has evaporated and pork is browned.  Serve carnitas in a tortilla with whatever toppings you like best.

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Walking Tacos

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Sorry this is so dark, it's the only picture of quarter midgets I have where you can see the cars! Mike's youngest sister Sarah is in the white car on the far left.

My boyfriend, Mike, grew up driving racecars.  Ok, so technically they’re called quarter midgets, and as near as I can tell they’re glorified go-karts.  Not important.  See, the important part is that he grew up eating what he calls “racetrack food” just about every Saturday in the summers.  And for the past couple of weeks he’s been pestering me to make “walking tacos”.  All I knew about them was they involved meshing tacos and Fritos, and since I had bags of chips left over from a big dance event a couple of weeks ago, we had walking tacos in all their salty glory.

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Step one: Cook and crumble ground beef in a skillet until fully cooked.  Drain off excess fat if necessary and add taco seasoning and water.  I made half a pound of ground beef, so half a package of seasoning.  Alternatively, you can make your own seasoning.

I’ll stress this, though: if you can, use low sodium taco seasoning.  My local grocery store doesn’t usually stock it, so I stock up when I’m at other stores, but I was out this week and used full-salt seasoning.  I don’t really recommend it.

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Step two: Once the ground beef is fully cooked and the water has reduced down to a thick sauce, scoop some of the meat into your Fritos bag.  We had four-one ounce bags of Fritos, apparently you’re supposed to use the next size up, but beggars can’t be choosers.  For us, a half a pound of ground beef worked for the four bags (although the fourth bag had significantly less  meat in it), but how much you use will depend on how much meat you want in your walking taco.

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Step 3: Add whatever else you want.  Shredded cheese, lettuce, salsa, sour cream, whatever makes you happy.  Mike had cheese, salsa, and sour cream, I had cheese, lettuce, and a bit of salsa, but this part is completely up to you.

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Step 4: At this point, you apparently hold the bag shut at the top and shake.  The small bags made this difficult, and I ended up just stirring mine, but you get the same end result.  Which is, grab a fork and dig in!

My thoughts on this, I liked it.  It was fun.  It was WAY TOO FREAKING SALTY!!!  I would be willing to make it again, but I’d definitely use reduced sodium taco seasoning (which I just stocked up on, how convenient!).  Mike was really happy, though, and thought they were good.  This would be a really fun thing for getting kids into the kitchen.  An adult makes the taco meat, and then the kids make their own tacos and shake the bags up (or mix them, if you’re less daring).

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