Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Salsa Verde Pork Carnitas

There's something about Mexican cuisine we really love. Perhaps its how Mexican cuisine is somewhat similar to Filipino cuisine with the heavy use of meats and rice. In fact, we love the seasonings of Mexican meats and prefer eating them with steamed white or brown rice over tortillas. (I guess it's the Asian thing in us where everything seems to taste better with rice- lol.) With that said, pork carnitas is one of our favorite Mexican dishes. Instead of the traditional preparation, I made this Salsa Verde Pork Carnitas recipe and it was a hit! My husband loves salsa verde so it was a nice way to incorporate it as a flavoring instead of a condiment...

Salsas are great as an accompaniment to chips or a condiment with Mexican fare. But using salsa verde in this recipe reminded me how great salsas can be to jump start a sauce or marinade. This recipe is super simple since everything gets placed in a slow cooker and cooks aways with little effort on your part. The sauce is so flavorful and has a nice depth of smokiness, thanks to the salsa and the cumin in the dish. Pork shoulder and pork butt are perfect cuts to braise and slow cook, resulting in tender, juicy meat that soaks up the goodness in the salsa verde sauce. This is a great dish to kick off the fall slow cooker season... and makes for a nice change of pace from the usual pulled pork recipe!

Salsa Verde Pork Carnitas
recipe adapted from MyRecipes

3 1/2  pounds  bone-in pork shoulder (aka pork butt)
1  bottle (15 oz.) salsa verde
1  medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3  cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon Sazon seasoning (optional)
1  tablespoon ground cumin
1  teaspoon dried oregano
1/2  cup  chopped fresh cilantro, plus some leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

Trim excess pork fat and place trimmed pork in a slow cooker (5 to 6 qt.). Turn the heat to high.

In a sauce pan, bring salsa, onion, garlic, broth, Sazon seasoning (if using), cumin, and oregano to a boil. Pour over pork, cover, and cook until meat is very tender when pierced and registers at least 165° on an instant-read thermometer, at least 7 or up to 9 hours.

Meanwhile, skim and discard fat from pan juices. Remove the pork from the slow cooker and tent with foil to keep warm.

Pour juices into a sauce pan. Boil juices, stirring, until reduced to 2 3/4 cups, 8 to 10 minutes.

With 2 forks, tear meat into large shreds. Add to sauce pan and stir in chopped cilantro. Season with salt. Spoon into a serving bowl and sprinkle with cilantro leaves. Serve with tortillas (or rice!) and more salsa verde.


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