These “little meats” are a savoury filling for tacos, but are also delicious scattered over nachos or tucked inside a quesadilla or burrito. Keep some in the freezer for a quick and easy mid-week meal.
• 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into bite-sized pieces
• Zest of one large orange, removed in large strips without the pith
• 4 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 large white onion, chopped
• ½ to 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 ½ tsp dried oregano leaves
• ¼ tsp ground cloves
• 1 tsp salt, plus more if needed
• Optional: 1 tsp ground chipotle chili powder
• About 3 cups water
• Small soft corn tortillas, warmed
• Chopped cilantro
• Chopped white onion
• Lime wedges
• Salsa (optional)
• Cotija or feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
Put all the ingredients, except those for serving, in a wide 6-to-7-quart heavy pot or Dutch oven and bring the water to a boil, skimming the surface as necessary. Don’t worry if the pork is not completely covered with water, but if it starts to look really dry, add a little more.
Lower the heat and simmer vigorously, stirring occasionally, until the pork is fork-tender and the liquid has largely evaporated, 1½ to 2 hours. Discard the orange peel, cinnamon stick and bay leaves.
Check the seasoning and add more salt if needed, then cook up to 30 minutes longer, stirring frequently, until the water is gone and the carnitas have completely shredded and are a little bit crispy. You can transfer them to a fry pan, and cook them a little more, if you like them really crisp.
Serve with warm tortillas and your choice of the toppings listed above. Carnitas will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days, or in the freezer for three months.
@ Vitis Magazine