Pork Carnitas

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Ingredients:

1 (3 lb) pork roast – either center cut or loin, well-trimmed
1 T vegetable oil
1/2 sweet onion, sliced
1/2 bell pepper, deveined, deseeded, and sliced
1/2 cup salsa (mild, medium, or hot)
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup pineapple juice
2 T hatch chili peppers, roasted and diced (mild or hot)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 T ancho chili powder
1  1/2 t cumin
1/4 t ground black pepper
Warmed corn or whole wheat tortillas
Optional Toppings: a sprinkle of queso fresco, hot peppers, salsa

Spoon Mage™ Note:

If you do not have pineapple juice, substitute 2 tablespoons each of fresh squeezed lime juice and white wine. Consider adding a pinch of sugar as this combo will be less sweet than the pineapple juice. Both methods are delicious. It’s the acidity of the fruit that helps tenderize the meat.

Make this dish mild, medium, or hot simply by varying the salsa, Hatch chilis, and toppings.

If your roast is one small center cut pork tenderloin of about 1-1/2 pounds, reduce the cooking time to 1 1/2-2 hours,

The meat will release juices as it cooks, adding volume and flavor to the sauce.

Directions:

Trim the pork roast of exterior fat, pat dry with paper towels, and bring to room temperature.

In a small bowl, combine the salsa, pineapple juice, peppers, garlic, ancho chili powder, cumin, and ground black pepper.

Set a large pot over medium high heat. When the pan is very hot, add the oil and tilt the pan to coat the entire surface. Wait 30 seconds for the oil to heat.

Add the roast to the hot oil and quickly sear on the top and bottom. This should take just a couple minutes on each side. Remove the roast to a plate.

Add the onion and pepper slices, stir frequently until the onions turn a little brown.

Reduce the temperature to medium low.

Add about half of the salsa mix to the onions and simmer for one minute.

Return the roast to the pan, top with the remaining salsa mixture. Stir well, cover, and keep on a very low simmer to braise for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the meat is fork tender.

Use two forks to shred the meat on a plate. Return the meat to the sauce, stir well, taste, and adjust seasonings.

Keep warm while prepping the side dishes and toppings.

To eat:

Roll the carnitas inside of corn or flour tortillas and top with crumbled Queso Fresco – a soft fresh white Mexican cheese. Serve with your favorite Tex-Mex side dish such as frijoles or spicy pinto beans and slices of deliciously cool pineapple. Enjoy with optional toppings such as avocado slices, tomatoes, jalapenos, salsa, and serranos.

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