Pork Carnitas

I’ve given up on trying to figure out the weather this winter.  For every few days of perfect chilly (I get to wear my cute new boots!) winter weather we’ve had there have been an equal number of bright sunny days in the 80’s.  My menu-planning is feeling a bit bi-polar.  And always in the wrong direction.  The week I stock the refrigerator with ingredients for soups and stews is when I wake up to warm sunshine.  And, of course, when the temperature finally drops enough to turn the fireplace on, the fridge is stocked with salad ingredients.

The perfect solution – pork carnitas.  On the one hand, they’re hearty and delicious enough to warm you up on a chilly day.  But pair them with a margarita and it instantly feels like summer.

This recipe, originally from The Homesick Texan, makes some of the best carnitas I’ve ever had.  Crunchy and perfectly carmelized on the outside.  Moist and falling apart on the inside.  It’s everything pork should be.

So, no matter the weather, cook yourself up a big pot of love and enjoy.  And, if it’s nice outside, open all the windows and make the neighbors jealous.

Pork Carnitas
Adapted (barely), from Smitten Kitchen who adapted it from The Homesick Texan Cookbook

Ingredients

3 pounds pork butt, cut into 2-inch cubes
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lime juice
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Kosher salt

For Serving
Tortillas
Sliced avocado
Chopped cilantro
Salsa

Directions
In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, combine the cubed pork, orange juice, lime juice, garlic, cumin, and salt.  Add enough water to barely cover the meat.

Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer.  Simmer, uncovered, for two hours.

After simmering, increase  heat to medium-high.  Stir and turn pork occasionally and cook for approx. 45 minutes or until all the liquid has evaporated, leaving only the rendered pork fat.  (Mine took about 35 minutes, so watch it closely towards the end.)

Sizzle pork in the fat just long enough to brown at the edges.  Turn pork gently (the meat will be ready to fall apart) and brown on both sides.

Resist the urge to eat an entire serving while standing in front of the stove.

Serve carnitas on warm tortillas with toppings of your choice.

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