While surfing around to some of my favorite food blogs yesterday I hit on this recipe for carnitas on the Smitten Kitchen website. I was all over it. I remember back to my nursing school days when one of my study pals, Linda Mammoliti, and I used to try out lots of Mexican restaurants. Linda is Hispanic and she told me that the first time you try a new Mexican restaurant, order the carnitas. The theory is, if they can’t make good carnitas they probably don’t make anything else very good either. I have tried to follow her advice and have developed a love for good carnitas. I had to try this recipe. They were delicious. Linda would come back to eat at my house in a heartbeat!
Here is the recipe from Smitten Kitchen:
Homesick Texan Carnitas
Adapted, just barely, from The Homesick Texan Cookbook
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 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more to taste
Corn tortillas, for serving plus
Avocado slices, chopped cilantro and fixings of your choice (we love pickled jalapenos or onions, lime wedges and a bit of slaw)
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 pork has browned on both sides, it’s ready. Adjust seasonings to taste and serve on warmed tortillas with fixings.