Sunday, November 18, 2007

Carnitas (soft tacos)

I keep getting asked to post this... so here ya go.

3 pounds thick, meaty country style pork ribs, pork butt or pork shoulder
2 pounds lard, or enough to cover the meat (I have never needed 2 pounds! Also, I use Crisco shortening instead of lard, just because that's what I have)
1 cup water
1 orange, zest removed with a vegetable peeler in wide strips
1 lime, zest removed with a vegetable peeler in wide strips
5 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
Tortillas (we prefer flour, but this is great on corn too. If you use corn, be sure to soften them in a bit of vegetable oil)

2 jalapeño peppers, cut in half length-wise (add these along with the other ingredients)
Pico de gallo goes very well on these

Trim most of the fat from the meat, leaving a thin layer. Cut into 4-inch pieces.

In a large, heavy saucepan, melt the lard over medium-low heat. When it has melted but is not yet very hot, add the pork, water, orange zest, lime zest, garlic, and salt. Cook at a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally so that the meat evenly cooks, for about 2 hours, or until the meat is tender. If the meat needs more time and all of the water has evaporated, add a bit more water and continue to cook until the meat is tender.

Once the meat is tender, raise the heat to medium-high. (Don't panic if the lard comes to a rolling boil – this will diminish as the water evaporates and will become small bubbles.) After the boiling lard changes to small bubbles, cook the meat for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until light golden brown and crispy all over. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon or tongs and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with the salt. When the meat has cooled slightly, pull the meat apart using 2 forks into shreds and smaller pieces and discard the bones.

No comments: