Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tacos de Carnitas with Red Chile Salsa

Most recipes call for pork shoulder or Boston butt to be used in the preparation of Carnitas. All I had were two pork tenderloins, so I figured that was good enough for my family and me.

I didn’t want to make a big production of dinner, just something simple to where I could set up a taco bar and let everyone make their own tacos however they wanted to. Carnitas seemed to be the right choice.

Look at those beautiful bits of crispy pork spilling out of the taco shells. Topped with guacamole and served with refried beans, this is an easy and delicious dinner.

It’s a hot and muggy lazy summer. So it’s either BBQing or something that can be eaten (mostly) with your hands. Gives me an idea for another meal: shooters. But, I guess that’ll be another post.

I set up the table (with the help of Lily, Brian and Bob) to provide sour cream, guacamole, salsa, shredded cheese and lettuce, taco shells and a big steaming bowl of carnitas and refried beans.

Lily and Brian had made Paula Deen’s Biscuit Donuts earlier in the day and were quite ready to eat something a little heartier (they’d been munching on the donut holes since morning). To see the famous and easy-to-make donuts using Paula Deen's recipe, go to the Mexican Chocolate blog. They were actually pretty good. They decided the recipe should go on the Mexican Chocolate blog because despite the fact that they didn’t use Mexican Chocolate for the glaze, they did flavor it to taste like it. Sounds reasonable to me.

So I hope you’ll give Carnitas a try. Carnitas, by the way, means “little meats” in Spanish. Traditionally they are made with pork but I bet the tacos would be just as tasty if you made it with chicken or beef. Enjoy your day, we are. After having less than an inch of rain all year long, we’ve finally hit our “monsoon” season and it’s been coming down in glorious, copious amounts since Sunday.


2 (4-5-pounds) boneless pork shoulder, cut into 5-inch chunks, trimmed of excess fat
I used two pork tenderloins
2 (16 ounce) cartons of chicken broth – I used Swanson’s
½ cup orange juice
1-tablespoon coarse sea salt
1 whole onion, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1-teaspoon black pepper
1-tablespoon ancho chile powder
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1-teaspoon chile powder
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, combine pork, broth, juice and seasonings. Add enough water to completely cover the meat. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for 2 – 3 hours (or longer) until meat pulls apart easily. Add salt to taste if needed.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove meat from liquid in pot (discard the liquid) and spread the meat out in a roasting pan. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon chile powder and drizzle 2 tablespoons oil over the meat. Break the meat into small chunks. Roast meat for 15 to 20 minutes until brown and crispy.

Remove from oven and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm while preparing your garnishes: guacamole, sour cream, shredded cheese, salsa and shredded lettuce. If you are making your own taco shells, make them while the meat is roasting in the oven or if you are using prepared taco shells, warm them in the oven when you remove the meat from the oven and are preparing your garnishes.

Red Chile Salsa
(inspired by Tyler Florence)

1 large can of whole peeled tomatoes, drained of most liquid
3 Serrano chiles, chopped (or less if you want less heat)
1 large red onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, smashed
2 teaspoons sea salt
juice of 2 limes
½ cup chopped cilantro (we didn’t use)
a drizzle of olive oil

Put all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse 3 or 4 times for a chunky-style salsa, or longer if you don’t want it so chunky. Pour into serving bowl, cover and chill until serving.


doggybloggy said...

you dont need to ask me twice to have a few tacos de carnitas. these look great!

ARLENE said...

Mmmmmmmmmmmm! I've never had carnitas, but they sure look good. I will have to try them. Have to bookmark your other site so I remember to visit more often.

Reeni♥ said...

These look awesome, Teresa! Especially with that red chile salsa! Yay for the monsoons - I remember them from Tucson!

girlichef said...

You do NOT know how much we love carnitas in this house!! I'm not going to show mexichef this post...cuz he'll beg me until I make some! They look amazing :D

Adam said...

I'm a big fan of pretty much any type of crispy pork dish, and eating with your hands is always fun :)

Thanks for your kind words on my blog, they were very thoughtful. If we lived closer, I would totally invite your family over to my new home (once I get one), for a party.

We'd have to supply our own music of course :)

Kelly said...

MMmm. Carnitas have always been my meat of choice when eating out at Mexican restaurants but I never knew that much about it. Thanks for the delicious recipe and the context.

Foodycat said...

That's a gorgeous looking meal. I must try the carnitas - I love a bit of pork! And we have serrano chillies growing at the moment, so it's nice to know what we can do with them.

GTT said...

very tasty -- we especially enjoyed the salsa. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Good thought thanks for sharing.....

Get Payday Loan in 4 easy steps