I am a Texan at heart, and always will be. It's hard to be far from the culture and food that I grew up with, so I love whenever I find a recipe that reminds me of home. I loved even more when I found a whole blog and cookbook dedicated to displaced Texans. I am talking about The Homesick Texan - I love this site so much. I will definitely be exploring it more in the future. The recipe that introduced me to The Homesick Texan was a FANTASTIC pork carnitas recipes. It is super easy and incredibly delicious, and is definitely going to be a staple for us from now on. We loved it so much that I went back to the store to get more pork so that I could make it again!
So carnitas means "little meats" in Spanish, and that is exactly what they are. Little bits of pork, cooked in their own rendered fat until they are crispy on the outside, and meltingly tender on the inside.
HT's recipe involves simmering the pork in lime and orange juice - what Deb from Smitten Kitchen calls, "taking a margarita bath". It also uses whole cloves of garlic, which slow cooks into a sweet paste that breaks down and just melts into the meat. The flavor is tangy and sweet and complex and just seriously outstanding.
You can serve these up anyway you like - we choose to do both flour and corn tortillas with sour cream and avocado - keeping it simple and fresh. I would also love to try it Smitten Kitchen style with a fresh slaw or corn salsa topped with queso fresco.
I bought my oranges and limes in the bulk bags (because they are cheaper, and at the time they were better looking than the individual ones). So what did I do with all that extra citrus? Juiced it up and made awesome margaritas of course!!
3 pounds boneless pork shoulder or pork butt, cut into 2-inch cubes
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lime juice (from about 2 to 3 limes)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp Kosher salt, plus more to taste
Corn and flour tortillas, for serving, plus avocado slices and sour cream
Place the pork in a large Dutch oven or heavy pot. Add the orange juice, lime juice, garlic, cumin, salt and enough water to just barely cover the meat. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for two hours. Don’t touch the meat.
After two hours, increase the heat to medium-high and while occasionally stirring and turning the pieces, continue to cook for about 45 minutes, or until all of the liquid has evaporated, leaving only the rendered pork fat. Let it sizzle in this fat long enough to brown at the edges, turning pieces gently (they’ll be eager to fall apart), only as needed.
When the pork has browned on both sides, it’s ready. Adjust seasonings to taste and serve on warmed tortillas with fixings.