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Pork Carnitas

I don’t know how authentic this recipe is exactly—it started with a wikipedia entry* and combines elements of various recipes I found online.  Regardless, pork carnitas is the perfect recipe for a Saturday or Sunday.  It takes a while to cook, but most of that is “passive” time in the oven.  And the result?  Tender, crispy, intensely flavorful shredded meat for your tacos, enchiladas, or sandwiches!

-pork butt (aka Boston Butt; approx 2-3 lbs.)
-salt and pepper (lots)
-vegetable oil
-3/4 lg. onion, chopped
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-3/4-1 c. white wine
-1 c. beef broth
-2-3 c. milk (or enough to cover the meat halfway AFTER you’ve added the broth)
-3 bay leaves
-4 cloves
-4-6 juniper berries (optional, but they’re good)
-1 tsp. dried oregano
-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
-1/2 tsp. ground coriander
-1/2 tsp. cumin
-chipotle pepper, jalapeno (fresh, not pickled), or hot pepper sauce, to taste

garnishes:
-a few sprigs cilantro
-tomato
-salsa
-crema or sour cream
-lime

1. Preheat oven to 250F. Liberally salt and pepper the roast on all sides. Brown well in a deep oven-safe casserole dish on all sides (this takes about 10 min.) Remove roast.

2. Add sliced onions to the rendered fat. Cook until translucent. Add garlic, cook until fragrant (don’t brown).

3. Deglaze pan with white wine and broth, scraping up brown bits. Return roast to pan.

4. Pour milk over meat (it might curdle; don’t worry). Add in the remaining spices. Bring to a boil. Cover.

5. Move to preheated oven. Cook covered on low heat for 3-4 hrs. Baste occasionally.

6. When meat is falling apart, remove from pot using tongs (leave fat and broth). Shred into bite-size pieces on a large cookie sheet.

7. Broil meat 8-10 min. until beginning to brown and crisp up.

Serve in small tortillas with chopped cilantro, tomato, salsa, crema or sour cream, and lime wedges to squeeze over.

*wikipedia mentions that cola (Coke) can be substituted for the milk. que tradicional! 😉

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