My Cook: Carnitas Tacos

January 30, 2019
- Pork,

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Pork shoulder and pork butt are tough cuts of meat that benefit from long, slow cooking times. In this recipe we utilize the Suvie slow cook setting to help break down the meat's muscle fiber, thereby producing tender, juicy pork. You can use either pork shoulder or pork butt in this recipe, however, pork butt will give richer and juicier results, due to the intramuscular fat that naturally exists in pork butt. (Pork butt, for the record, actually comes from the top part of a pig’s shoulder and is nowhere near a pig’s hindquarters). We’re serving our carnitas tacos with raw, white onion, cilantro, queso fresco, and lime, but any number of toppings can be substituted. Avocado, pickled onion, and radish would also be delicious accompaniments. Note: we prefer Mexican oregano for this recipe, which has a citrus-like flavor that boosts the flavor of the orange in the marinade; however, standard oregano can also be used.

Ingredients

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  • 3 lbs pork shoulder or pork butt, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • juice from 1 orange, plus 2 (2-inch) strips of orange peel
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
  • 1 tsp oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro
  • ¼ cup queso fresco or feta cheese
  • ground black pepper
  • 1 lime, cut into quarters

Instructions

Roughly chop the onion and set aside ⅓ cup in the refrigerator for garnish. In a large bowl stir together the chicken broth, orange juice, orange peel, remaining chopped onion, brown sugar, garlic, bay leaves, cumin, kosher salt, and oregano.

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Add the pork to the marinade and stir to coat.

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Divide the pork and marinade evenly between the protein and vegetable pans.

Cover each pan with parchment paper or plastic wrap and then tightly with aluminum foil (the layer of parchment or plastic wrap is essential to keep the acid in the marinade from interacting with the aluminum foil, which can produce metallic flavors in food). Place the pans in your Suvie enter the Slow Cook settings and set to cook.

Slow Cook Settings

Protein: LOW, 8 -10 hours

Starch: 0 minutes

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Stack tortillas on top of one another and wrap in aluminum foil. Once the pork has finished cooking, carefully remove the pans from your Suvie, remove the aluminum foil and parchment paper, being mindful of hot steam. 

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Place aluminum-wrapped tortillas in the lower left portion of your Suvie. Drain the liquid and return both pans of pork to your Suvie and set to broil for 10 minutes. The liquid can be kept in the fridge and used for other recipes. 

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Once the pork has finished broiling, remove both pans of pork and transfer to a large bowl or cutting board.

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Roughly chop cilantro. Shred the pork with two forks and then season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove tortillas from your Suvie, unwrap, and divide evenly between 4 plates. Top each tortilla with pork and then garnish each serving with reserved raw onion, cilantro, queso fresco, and a squeeze of lime.

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Wine Pairing

The wonderful thing about pork is that it can be paired with a wide variety of wines. If your preference is white wines we recommend Sauvignon Blanc. The tart acidity of the Sauvignon will make the citrus notes of the carnitas really pop. If red wines are more your speed try a Cabernet Franc. The unusually high acidity of this wine makes it an ideal pairing for Mexican food. If you're struggling to choose between red and white wines try pairing this meal with a dry Rosé. Finally, for fans of bubbles, this meal will pair well with a glass of Spanish Cava.

Caroline Pierce