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Michael's Carnitas

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Posted to Thread #6 at 8:31 pm on Dec 22, 2005

Michael's Carnitas
From: Michael in Phoenix

REC: Carnitas
This recipe was adapted from the Sunset Mexican Cookbook and has evolved over the years into one of our all-time favorites. I will also post a recipe for Albondigas, which is a Mexican Meatball Soup. We always make the two together because they complement each other at the dinner table (Albondigas is an excellent soup course prior to the Carnitas), and you use the broth created by boiling the pork for carnitas as a delicious base for the soup! MMMMMmmmm! CARNITAS (translated: "little meats")

1 4 to 5 pound pork shoulder or butt, left whole, bone-in,
but trimmed of large pieces of exterior fat and rind
1 large yellow onion, peeled, quartered
1 Tbsp. coriander seeds (whole seeds, NOT ground)
1 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds (whole, not ground)
2 tsp. dry oregano leaves (not ground)
2 bay leaves water

Place all ingedients into a 6 to 8 quart stock pot. Pour in enough water to just cover the meat. Heat to a boil, reduce to a slow simmer, cover and allow to cook until meat easily shreds with two forks. This takes somewhere between 3 and 5 hours. Add more boiling water, as necessary, to keep meat covered.

Heat oven to 450 degrees F.
Remove meat from the stock pot and place in a large 13" x 9" roasting pan. (Reserve broth for Albondigas). Gently pull meat apart, discarding excess fat, bone and any connective tissue. Meat should be in small to medium-size chunks, spread out in the pan.

Bake, uncovered, in the 450 degree oven until the meat is browned and sizzling hot, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven, place meat on warmed platter and serve. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Notes: The key to getting the flavor just right is not to be too heavy-handed with the spices. By using the whole seeds when simmering the pork, you are able to impart a flavor that does not overpower the meat. Also, as a minor point, Mexican oregano is best in this dish, not the Mediterranean oregano. The meat makes an excellent entree by itself, but our habit is to use it as an absolutely fantastic filling for burritos, tacos, tortas, and a topping for tostadas. Excellent with fresh salsa, sour cream, white or yellow cheeses, etc. Enjoy! Michael



The man who carries a cat by the tail learns something that can be learned in no other way. - MTwain


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