Sunday, May 2, 2010

Carnitas con Salsa

improvise - to make, provide, or arrange from whatever materials (or ingredients) are readily available (click on image to view larger image)

I saw this recipe in Elise's Williams-Sonoma cookbook and it jumped out at my tastebuds ~ I just had to make it.  Problem was, I kinda had the ingredients.....kinda-sorta, hence the definition of the word "improvise" which I had to do a lot of.  Results were just as good short of maravilloso!!

by Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Slow Cooking*

  • Salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 boneless pork shoulder or 3 thick, boneless pork chops which is what I used.
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion (I used three large, organically grown [not mine] green onions - the bulbs were the size of walnuts bought at a local farmers market).
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1  1/2 cups of Mexican, lager-style beer (yea, like I would have that - so I used beef broth)
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 large orange (didn't have it)
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lime (didn't have that either)
  • 1 tbsp. oregano
  • 15-20 corn or flour tortillas (I used corn and browned them)

In a small bowl, combine 2 tsps. salt and 1 tsp. pepper.  Season the pork roast generously with the mixture.  Set aside.
In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil.  (1) Add the pork, and cook, turning frequently until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes.  Remove from the pan and set aside.
Pour off all but a thin layer of fat in the pan.  (2-3) Add the onion and garlic and saute until they begin to soften, 1-2 minutes.  (4-5) Add the beer (or broth) and deglaze the pan, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
(5) Transfer pork back to pan with the onions and broth, lemon and orange zest along with their juices.  Also add the oregano.  Simmer for about 1/2 hr. to .45 minutes and let most of it evaporate down to nothing but don't let it burn.  Add two cups of water or more broth if there's any left, stir browned  bits again and continue to simmer the pork for another hour until meat is tender and half of broth has evaporated.
(6) Take two forks and pull apart the pork and shred it all, cover and set aside.
In a large skillet (I used my large flat iron skillet which I LOOOOVE) pour 2 tbsps. olive oil, heat on med-high.  Brown tortillas on both sides and fold over in 1/2 - taco style.  Place on paper towels to drain excess oil and set aside.


  • 2-3 medium sized fresh tomatoes (from 1 lb to 1 1/2 lbs.), stems removed, finely diced.
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced (didn't have red onions so I used one big fat shallot)
  • 1 jalapeno chili pepper, stems, rib, seeds removed, finely diced (don't shoot me on this one, I didn't have any so I "improvised" and used 1/4 cup of Sriracha [Rooster Hot Sauce]).
  • Juice of one lime (didn't have it)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • Cumin to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Start with chopping up 2 medium sized fresh tomatoes.  Prepare the chilies.  Be very careful while handling these hot peppers.  If you can, avoid touching them with your hands.  Use a fork to cut up the chilies over a small plate, or use a paper towel to protect your hands.  Wash your hand thoroughly with soap and hot wather after handling and avoid touching your eyes for several hours.
Combine all of the ingredients in a medium size bowl.  Taste.  If the chilies make the salsa too hot, add some more chopped tomato.  Add cumin for added taste.
Let set for an hour for the flavors to combine (or as some chefs say, "marry").

Take folded tortillas, stuff with shredded pork meat, add the salsa and cilantro and enjoy!!

I didn't take any pictures while I made the salsa.  Don't ask me why but it could of been because I was a little excited but stressed to use my brand new Cuisinart Food Processor. for the very first time.  I've been wanting one for the longest time so Elise gave it to me as a late birthday present and an early Mother's Day present.  But I promise, I did make the salsa, with the help of my new food processor but I really wish I could've taken pictures.  Anyways, maybe because it was so easy, I made it in a matter of minutes.  Anyway, this is the BEST salsa I've ever made ~ not too oniony or garlicky with just the right kick ~  Delicioso!!

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