Sometimes I feel like an oddball when I wake up early on a Saturday morning, reach for the milk for my coffee, notice 2 pounds of pork shoulder in the fridge, and decide I really ought to make carnitas before I head out for the day.
But that’s what I did.
I love my little slow cooker (though I think I need to upgrade to a full-size one if I’m ever going to use it for entertaining). I’m not sure why it’s any safer to leave that thing going instead of the oven while I’m out, but so far so good.
From pastry chef and all-around creative (and hilarious) cook David Lebovitz, I learned that carnitas is just a basic braise. Who knew? Brown chunks of pork in a heavy pan, deglaze with some water, and toss it all into the cooker with a cinnamon stick, garlic, a couple of bay leaves, cumin, and several kinds of chile powder (I had chipotle and Rancho Gordo New Mexican). Five hours or so later, shred the meat and spread it out in a roasting pan with the remaining liquid. Roast until crispy and utterly irresistible.
Why is it so good? Well, it’s pig. But it’s also pig roasted in a glaze of its own fat. Can’t beat that.
(Hey, the traditional method is to deep-fry the meat. This is better, no?)
The photo is horrible, but the carnitas made for a fine taco, particularly graced with some of those beautiful tomatoes I brought home yesterday, a good helping of avocado, and a healthy squirt of lime. I really should have invited someone over for dinner.