So many things in Lisa Fain‘s new cookbook, The Homesick Texan, look good to me — and, of course, remind me of home — that I literally couldn’t decide what to make first. Then I saw Deb over at Smitten Kitchen tried out the carnitas, with great results, and I thought, OK, decision made.
Carnitas are basically tender-crispy bits of pork that you put into a corn tortilla, dress up with your favorite fixings, and eat as tacos. You braise the pork first in liquid — orange and lime juices, water, cumin, crushed garlic — and then sear to brown and crisp up all over once the liquid evaporates. It takes a good three hours start to finish and, I have to say, Chrissy and I thought the meat was absolutely delicious. Flavorful, perfect.
The recipe says to use pork shoulder or butt; we used shoulder. And the three pounds of meat was crowded in our medium-sized to large Le Creuset — so I’d suggest using the biggest damn dutch oven you’re got. Also: I’m not sure if it was in part because of the crowding, but not all of our liquid evaporated — we had to remove the excess ourselves. But it didn’t matter. We took out the remaining juice and let the meat brown nicely in the pot. Crispy, salty, addictive.
We made guac and piled on diced pickled jalapenos and cilantro, too. Yum, yum.
Carnitas, via The Homesick Texan (but as posted on Smitt-Kit — looks like Fain has adapted the recipe from her blog for her cookbook, so that’s what I’m linking to.)
Let me know what you think! (P.S. — The kids loved the meat, too, and there were plenty of leftovers.)