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Mexican Cooking Project #8


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I invited friends to dinner for Friday night, without a clue of what I might cook. Last evening, I found myself in front of the meat case at my local groceria, trawling for ideas, when what to my wond

What an absolutely lovely table, a delicious feast. Your guests are so fortunate!   And thanks for the invitation. I'll be briefly in Vermont in late March, all other things being equal. Maybe we

Follow-up...   Dinner was quite tasty. I had way too much liquid. That's okay because it tasted great. I simply ladled off a bunch of the cooking liquid six hours later and in a cast-iron skillet,

We had tortas de carnitas for lunch yesterday. I bought un medio kilo de carnitas from a favorite stand near the Pátzcuaro mercado. Back home, I prepared a simple cole slaw with cabbage, radishes, a little jícama and dressed it with lime juice and cider vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. No mayo, no oil. (Who needs more fat when you're eating carnitas?)

 

We also had side dishes of baked beans, made at home with alubias blancas grandes and based on a recipe in James Beard's American Cookery.

 

Mrs. Anónimo warmed up some split teleras, and we sat down to a tasty lunch. I only ate one torta, in an unusual feat of restraint.

 

(I keep thinking that carnitas are barely removed from Southern Pulled Pork Barbecue, and that if someone were to open a Southern Pit BBQ joint here, it might be a tremendous success.)

 

UPDATE: About 4 months ago, a guy from Dallas, Texas did open a Texas BBQ joint, called "El Rincón Tejano". It's on the Avenida Federico Tena, on the right, about 3 blocks beyond the Plaza San Francisco, one of the ways out of Pátzcuaro. "Papo" makes succulent, tender smoked pork ribs and pretty fine smoked brisket. There's also bbq'd chicken, which is ok, but I don't like it as well as the ribs and the brisket. You can get a nice combo plate for under $49 MXP. That includes two sides. There are specials that may include soft drinks.

 

UPDATE of UPDATE: We went there this afternoon at 2:30, and "Papo" was not at his post. They were out of brisket, the chicken wings were terribly dry and tough, and there were not enough ribs to go around. I ordered carne asada, which was passably ok, but even a rib my wife granted me wasn't up to previous standards. Too bad that this restaurant was understocked, and IMO, understaffed.

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Jaymes and I have gone around on the issue of carnitas before. I'll just put out the Michoacan style alternative that is usually found in carnicerias and places that make their own chicharrones and sell carnitas by the kilo or pound. Rolly's page documents this style.

 

At home, the easiest way to make these is to cut pieces of pork shoulder into about 2 inch by 2 inch chunks and simmer them in lard and then once they're tender finish them at a higher fry, sort of like making twice cooked french fries. You can do this the opposite way, too, frying them at a high temp until they are nicely browned and then turning down the heat.

 

For the simmering, you can put them in a pan covered with lard and toss them in the oven at 250 until they're just a little less than fork tender. Or you can do them in a pot, stirring occasionally. You can finish them in just a little oil like Jaymes's recipe, or you can deep fry them.

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  • 1 month later...

keep forgetting to post about turkey carnitas i made a while ago: the idea and the recipe (especially after you check the ingredient list - what's up with this milk/cola thingy) might sound vile but i was curious and encouraged by the fact that the recipe appeared in the Best American Recipes 2005/06 book;

used some organic turkey thighs from WH and must admit that the final result was not that bad.

So next time you have the urge to incorporate this healthy meat into your diet check the recipe out - it's available online - Turkey Carnitas Mesclun Salad with Tangerine Vinaigrette;

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  • 3 weeks later...

was meaning to make carnitas tonight using Zarela's recipe - just pork butt and orange (zest and juice) but ended up getting baby ribs cause they looked so nice (Jaymes might have mentioned ribs as a suitable cut for carnitas). When i came home i discovered i forgot to buy oranges.

Google to the rescue - Pork Rib Carnitas. I had 3lb of ribs and couple of cups of evoo but this was totally ok - (the rub was improvised of amcho powder, cumin and oregano). Boy those were fucking good!

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  • 1 year later...

Re-igniting this thread as I was wandering around a local SF district (Clement, for those who know) where several Chinese butchers exist. I brought home a 10-pound pork butt only with the idea that it is inanely stupid for the person I live with to frequently buy tubs of pulled BBQ pork. These insidiously horrific monstrosities cost about $5.99 and you only get about 1/3 of a pound of badly-prepared meat. The pork butt I brought home cost less than $20 and while it will probably ultimately be slathered in some form of BBQ sauce, it is going to start out its life as carnitas, per Jaymes' recipe...

 

My question is -- for those who caramelized their's; did they start with Jaymes' recipe and add molasses or brown sugar (I know Omni added coffee). Any other recipes of note? I am fondly remembering -- and craving! -- the fabulous carnitas that was made for the winery harvest parties. These were serious affairs; two pigs' worth of meat stewed for several days in pots that an adult can literally curl up in. I never *could* get them to give me their recipe!!!!

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Carnitas

 

Allow to simmer stovetop until liquid is gone, and fat is rendering from meat. Keep an eye on it and either cover, or uncover, or partially cover Dutch oven, and turn heat up and down as required to keep the liquid evaporating nicely, but not so quickly that it's all gone before the meat is properly cooked and tender. This may take a little practice.

A little practice? Ya think?

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Here is a photo essay on the making of carnitas in Mexico.

Making Carnitas

I love a recipe for carnitas that starts with slaughtering the pig...

 

Its killing me that the photos I have from my Ladera Vineyards' Harvest Parties are on a dead computer. I had some seriously stunning carnitas (and chicharrones) porn!

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So here's what I've done...

 

I had this 10-pound pork butt which I chunked up into hefty pieces. Being lazy and not wanting to wait for them to marinade or anything, I threw them into a giant pot with a half-gallon of orange juice, a container of lime juice, two bottles of tequila from which I poured out half of each bottle (one white, one golden). Three or four chopped onions, garlic of several ilk (a giant elephant garlic, a whole head of regular garlic, and some jarred garlic from Trader Joe's). Six peppers; two Anaheim, and two each red jalapeno and green jalapeno. Lots of spices; oregano, cumin, New Mexico pepper flakes.

 

I brought it all to a boil and it is simmering now. Damn, it smells good...

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