Carnitas, literally meaning "little meats", is a dish that originated in the Mexican state of Michoacán. Traditionally braised, fried and shredded, carnitas are usually cooked in lard but we have simplified the process by baking it before ‘frying’ it in its own juices in a hot oven. Serve with warm tortillas, red cabbage, onion, radish and coriander. We have given the carnitas a bit of a tacos al pastor vibe by generously lashing it with Mabu Mabu’s incredible pineapple hot sauce. Drink beer. Muy bien!
From the pantry or the Hagen's Veggie Box:
1 brown onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1 bottle of Jarritos Mexican Cola
Several sprigs of fresh thyme and marjoram
4 bay leaves
6 to 8 whole allspice
1 cinnamon quill or canela stick
1 can of chipotle in adobo sauce
4 tbsp of neutral oil
2 small oranges
Salt & pepper
3-4 tortillas per person
Shredded red cabbage
Finely diced red onion
Finely sliced and lightly pickled radishes
Picked coriander leaves
1. In a heavy roasting pan, place the onion, garlic, chicken stock, cola, herbs, canela/cinnamon, chipotles in adobo and mix to combine. Ideally the roasting pan would be largely enough for the meat to be just touching but not tightly packed.
2. Cut the meat in to fist-sized chunks and season with salt and pepper. Brown in the oil in a hot pan.
3. Place the meat in the roasting pan along with the whole oranges and spoon some of the liquid over the meat to coat.
4. Loosely cover with a cartouche and bake in your oven at 175c for 2.5 - 3.5 hours or until the meat starts to fall apart. Check it occasionally to ensure there is still liquid in the pan, adding more if need be. At the half way point, turn over the chunks of meat.
5. Remove the meat from the pan and cool enough so you can shred the meat with two forks. Cut the oranges in half and squeeze the juice in to the roasting pan. Remove the bay leaves, canela/cinnamon and herbs and place the meat back in to the juices. Stir to combine.
6. Raise the temperature to 200c and bake the carnitas, uncovered, for around half an hour. Stir it occasionally until the liquid is absorbed and the meat brown and crunchy.
7. Serve with warm tortillas, cabbage, onion, radish, coriander and some amazing pineapple hot sauce from Mabu Mabu. Out of this world!