On occasion, hovering over the top of the stove can be enjoyable: sauteing onions and garlic, boiling spaghetti noodles, or mixing up a delicious impromptu curry. But sometimes, it’s nice to just sit back and let time be your sous chef.
Of all of the gadgets and cooking devices in my kitchen, the slow cooker has to be one of my favorites, primarily because I’m very drawn to the idea of coming home to the smells of dinner while still maintaining a two-income household. I’d like to think the slow cooker is going to be a recurring subplot of this blog, and we’ll start today with one of my favorites: carnitas.
OVERVIEW: I have never seen the movie “Babe”, and I don’t think I ever will, because I never want my opinion of a pig to be anything other than, “Damn, I really want to eat that pig.” Pork has the versatility of chicken, and a ton more flavor, so it’s my go-to meat. (yes, I realize what I just typed). Chicken just goes through the motions because it always knows you’ll be back; pork looks at you and says, “I’m delicious; try and reject me, fool.”
And although anytime is a good time for a pork taco, it’s an especially appealing choice this time of the year. I personally am not in grilling mode yet, and on a warm April day, I would also prefer to have a dinner that doesn’t make me want to hibernate. Comfort food is so two months ago; incorporating some fresh flavor (and fresh produce) into the dinner mix feels right.
On a pragmatic note, tacos always seem to be an excellent way to clean out the fridge in our household – we always have cheese, and generally the produce we have lends itself very well to taco production.
This recipe for carnitas itself is a pretty ridiculously easy one, because essentially all you need is a thawed pork roast and some common spices. And about 10 hours. If you don’t have 10 hours, this might not be the recipe for you. On top of that, you’ll want to make sure to have all of your appropriate acoutrements: this time around, we opted for mango (love), avocado (double love), Sriracha, red onion, cilantro, and cheese on top of corn tortillas. I also drizzled a little bit of the leftover slow cooker juice over the meat, to keep it moist.
DID MY SON EAT IT: In nacho form, yes. And in “avocado and mango on its own” form, yes. That’s the other beautiful part about slow-cooking this meat. You can use it in tacos, nachos, sandwiches, BREAKFAST THE NEXT MORNING (foreshadowing, people)…
RECIPE: SLOW COOKER CARNITAS
1 – 4 lb. boneless pork shoulder roast (I used bone-in; I haven’t noticed a difference)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 bay leaves
2 cups chicken broth
- Mix together salt, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, coriander, and cinnamon in a bowl. Coat pork with the spice mixture. Place the bay leaves in the bottom of a slow cooker and place the pork on top. Pour the chicken broth around the sides of the pork, being careful not to rinse off the spice mixture.
- Cover and cook on Low until the pork shreds easily with a fork, about 10 hours. Turn the meat after it has cooked for 5 hours. When the pork is tender, remove from slow cooker, and shred with two forks. Use cooking liquid as needed to moisten the meat.
LINK TO THE RECIPE: