CARNITAS (BRAISED AND FRIED PORK) TACOS
Makes 24-32 tacos
4 pounds fatty pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 cups water
1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
1/2 orange, cut into 2 pieces
2 tablespoons pork lard or vegetable oil
8 garlic cloves, peeled
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons dried oregano, preferably Mexican, crumbled
2 teaspoons fine salt or 4 teaspoons kosher salt
24-32 taco shells
1. Put all the ingredients in a wide 6-to 7-quart heavy ovenproof pot (don't worry if the pork is not completely covered) and bring to a boil, skimming the surface as necessary. Lower the heat and simmer vigorously, stirring occasionally, until the pork is fork-tender and the liquid has completely evaporated, 1 ½ to 2 hours. Discard the orange pieces and bay leaves. [If the liquid hasn't evaporated after 2 hours, transfer the pork pieces to a bowl and let the liquid continue to bubble away, stirring often, until the excess liquid has evaporated and only the fat remains.]
2. Preheat oven to 450° F. Transfer the pot to the oven and brown the pork, uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes. There's no need to stir.
3. Transfer the pork to a plate. When cool enough to handle, shred or pull off chunks with a fork. Serve in taco shells with roasted pineapple salsa.
-Carnitas keeps in the refrigerator for up to three days.
-If you want to make half a batch, cut the amount of pork, salt, and oregano in half, but use the same amount of the remaining ingredients and water. You will need to use a slightly smaller pot.
barely adapted from Epicurious, April 2011 (from Truly Mexican by Roberto Santibañez with JJ Goode)
|This was the smallest pork shoulder at the |
store (it weighed in at a whopping 7.2 lbs.).
|Because my pork shoulder was so large, |
I doubled all the other ingredients.
|I really pushed my pot to its limits, but managed to |
keep my eye on it and prevent any boiling over.
|2 hours later (obviously I needed to cook it |
longer too, so I left it in for about 3 1/2 hours).
|braised pork shoulder|
|Reducing the liquid left in the pot.|
|I used a slotted spoon to strain out the solids and leave |
just the oil behind. The disgusting brown gunk is full of such
intense flavor, I called it carnitas pork base and couldn't bare
to throw it out. So I used it to make pork fried rice.
|oil left behind |
(plus what's stuck to the bottom of the pan)
|pork shoulder back in the pot|
|after 25 minutes in the oven|
For some people, that might be a
touch overdone, but I like a little char.
|shredding/pulling off chunks|
|carnitas in taco shell|
|carnitas taco with roasted pineapple salsa|