RECIPE: Pork Carnitas with Pickled Red Onions

Yield: 6 servings

Carnitas are made by seasoning, braising and frying tender pork roast. Typically braising pork for carnitas is a lengthy process but with a pressure cooker, the preparation time can be reduced to 1 hour.  

Pork carnitas:
3 pounds boneless pork shoulder
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
4 large garlic cloves, smashed
1 bay leaf
1/2 whole cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves 
1 tablespoon chipotle paste
2 serrano chiles, thinly sliced 
1 cup orange juice
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice 

Pickled red onion:
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced on a mandoline 
1 small jalapeño, thinly sliced
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt 

For serving:
Warm tortillas
Shredded cabbage
Cilantro leaves
Lime wedges

For the carnitas: Trim away any large pieces of fat and cut pork into 1 1/2-inch pieces. In a large bowl, combine pork with remaining carnitas ingredients. Transfer to a pressure cooker and cook according to manufacturers' instructions for 30 minutes, or until fork tender. (Alternatively, to braise pork without a pressure cooker, transfer to a heavy pot, Dutch oven or slow cooker with tight-fitting lid, and braise over medium-low heat until tender, 3 to 4 hours.) 
For the pickled onion: To a medium bowl or jar, add onion and jalapeño. To a small saucepan over medium-high heat, add remaining ingredients; bring to a boil and remove from heat. Pour liquid over onions; let stand at room temperature until cooled. Pickled onions can be stored, refrigerated, in an airtight container for up to ten days.

To finish carnitas: Preheat oven to broil, and place the rack in the positon closest to the top. With a slotted spoon or spider, transfer pork from the braising liquid to a rimmed baking sheet.

Transfer braising liquid to a large liquid measuring cup. Spoon some of the fat that has risen to the top of the liquid over the pork and discard the rest of the fat. Transfer the rest of the braising liquid into a small sauce pan. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer; cook until liquid is reduced to 1/2 cup. 

Meanwhile, place carnitas in the oven and broil for about 10 minutes, rotating and stirring regularly until meat is crispy. Transfer to a serving bowl or rimmed platter, top pork with reduced braising juices and serve with pickled onion, warm tortillas, shredded cabbage, cilantro, lime wedges and charred tomatillo salsa.    

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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