Slow-cooker carnitas

How to make Mexican carnitas with a slow-cooker. Recipe on theothersideofthetortilla.com.

This post is part of a compensated campaign with the National Pork Board, but all opinions and the recipe here are my own.

Slow-cooker carnitas are great for an easy weeknight family dinner or for a weekend gathering. This is a super simple meal with only four ingredients that you can also prepare in advance and reheat.

Carnitas are typically a true nose-to-tail kind of dish where almost the entire pig is used. My husband loves this recipe and says that it’s similar to ordering maciza, which is mostly lean and white meat. If you’re used to eating carnitas and order “surtido” (which includes a little bit of everything), you can simulate that by buying a pork shoulder that has a cap of fat on one side. The fat will partially cook down and melt in the slow-cooker, and the soft remains left over at the end can be chopped up and mixed in with the shredded meat. (And you can use some of the liquid fats to moisten the meat before storing, so it doesn’t dry out when reheated, too.) 

RELATED RECIPE: Slow-cooker cochinita pibil

This recipe is made with pork shoulder which can also be called Boston butt roast or pork butt, depending on the region of the U.S. where you live. In Mexico, this area of the pig is often called espaldilla or cabeza de lomo, which are adjacent cuts that come from the top of the front legs of the pig and just above. These cuts are typically well-marbled and are very versatile, but the best way to use them, in my opinion, is to cook them low and slow (at a low temperature over a long period of time) so that the meat becomes fork-tender. 

If you’re not very familiar with pork shoulder, you may have already eaten it before without even realizing it; when you buy ground pork from the grocery store, it’s oven made from pork shoulder. And it makes great chorizo!

RELATED RECIPE: Homemade pork chorizo

If you can’t find a boneless roast, you can buy a little larger piece to account for the weight of the bone. You can cook it the same way, just leaving the bone in, and then remove the bone before serving. A bonus to cooking this cut low and slow: you can also render your own pork fat—the same way you would with bacon—and transfer to a jar and store in the refrigerator.

This recipe serves four people for a light meal (about three tacos each), or two people for a larger meal. If you wish to serve more people, or simply have more leftovers, you can double the size of the pork roast to 4 pounds, add three slices of thick-cut bacon and two more dried bay leaves.

Slow-cooker carnitas

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 8 hours

Total Time: 8 hours, 10 minutes

Yield: 2-4 servings

Slow-cooker carnitas

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds boneless Boston butt roast (pork shoulder)
  • 5 slices thick-cut smoked bacon
  • 1.5 to 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 dried bay leaves

Instructions

  1. Line the bottom of your slow-cooker with three pieces of bacon and put the bay leaves on top of the bacon.
  2. Sprinkle about half of the sea salt on one side of the pork roast, and the remaining salt on the other side. Place the pork roast over the bacon and bay leaves.
  3. Place the remaining two slices of bacon over the top of the pork roast and put the lid on the slow-cooker. Turn the slow-cooker to low and let it cook for 8 hours.
  4. After 8 hours, remove the meat from the slow-cooker with a slotted spoon to a large bowl and shred well with a fork.
  5. Serve with warm corn tortillas and garnishes such as diced white onion, chopped cilantro and salsa of your choice.
http://theothersideofthetortilla.com/2014/10/slow-cooker-carnitas-recipe/

For more information and recipe ideas visit porkbeinspired.com or The National Pork Board’s Spanish-language website, porkteinspira.com.

 

Tacos de longaniza en salsa verde

Quick and easy meals for weeknights are essential in most households, mine included. But if you’re like me, you still want to put something at least semi-homemade on the table to please your family at dinnertime. Longaniza en salsa verde is one of my go-to dishes that’s both easy and quick to make and can also use homemade or store-bought ingredients depending on how much time you’ve got to cook.

tacos de longaniza en salsa verde

If you have the time, you can make my salsa verde recipe from scratch (but I suggest that you leave out the salt until after it’s cooked; longaniza can be rather salty so you may find you don’t need to add any salt in the salsa). If you don’t have time to make the salsa, you can use your favorite brand of store-bought salsa verde. I often serve this dish with a side of black beans diced onion and chopped cilantro as garnish…. 

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Alambre de la Patrona

I haven’t written much here about my favorite taquería in Chicago, La Lagartija, but have always widely recommended the place to anyone who asked me in person, on Facebook or Twitter about where to get an authentic Mexican meal in my hometown. I wasn’t exactly trying to keep it a secret, but it’s definitely a gem and I always appreciated the neighborhood charm and the way that the meseras and owners always remembered us and greeted us like family. I have so many photos stowed away of memorable meals we ate there, and it was the only place in Chicago where we’d regularly eat tacos al pastor.

But one of my favorite standby meals there, the alambre de la patrona, is both succulent and super easy to recreate at home. The owners are from Mexico City, and this dish on their menu is actually a version of a popular dish at one of our favorite taquerías in Mexico City, El Charco de las Ranas. This dish is sometimes known as alambre de chuleta and is best served with warm tortillas, but you can skip the tortillas if you like and just eat it with a fork.

alambre_de_la_patrona_tacos… 

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Huevo con chorizo breakfast tacos

Tacos for breakfast? You bet. One of the staple breakfast dishes that I like to eat both when I’m visiting Mexico and at home is huevo con chorizo in the form of a breakfast taco. Literally, it’s just egg and chorizo, but don’t think something so simple can’t still be satisfying.

How to make huevo con chorizo breakfast tacos from theothersideofthetortilla.com

Most people know how to make this easy and tasty breakfast, but surprisingly I still sometimes get asked how to make huevo con chorizo. Here are my step-by-step photos taken over breakfast this past weekend in case you’re not familiar with this dish…. 

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Tacos de rib eye

I’ve been buying thinly sliced rib eye and grilling it to serve as tacos for years, but the truth is that it can get kind of boring. I recently came up with a flavorful and easy fix that is literally only one ingredient but makes a world of difference: ponzu sauce. Yes, you read that correctly, I said ponzu sauce! I knew I had to share this recipe when my husband and chief taste-tester raved about this dish, even days after I served it.

No, ponzu sauce isn’t a Mexican ingredient, but it bears some striking similarities to the popular seasoning sauce known as Maggi that is widely consumed in Mexico. You may remember reading about Maggi here before in my cebollitas recipe, which is basically just grilled spring onions, lime juice and Maggi—a succulent side dish that also pairs well with these tacos.

What’s great about ponzu sauce is that it’s similar to Maggi in taste, already has a hint of citrus so adding lime juice isn’t necessary (but you still can, if you want), and ponzu is much lower in sodium per tablespoon than Maggi.

If it’s any indication how good it is, I’ve whipped this recipe up for dinner three times in the last two weeks and gotten no complaints about repeating the same dish. I’ve served it each time with a different salsa to make it just a little different. With grilling season right around the corner, this dish is definitely going to be my secret weapon for summer barbecues. Let me know how you like it!

RECETA | RECIPE

TACOS DE RIB EYE

  • 1 lb. thinly sliced rib eye (about 1/4 inch thick)
  • 1/2 cup Mitsukan ponzu sauce for the meat plus 1/8 cup for cebollitas
  • 1 bunch of cebollitas (in English they’re called spring onions; they look like scallions but with a bulbous end instead of straight and skinny)

Directions:
FOR THE MEAT
Marinade the meat with 1/2 cup ponzu sauce for 30 minutes in a zippered plastic bag. Discard the liquid and bag, and grill meat over medium-high heat just long enough for each side to get grill marks and cook through.

FOR THE CEBOLLITAS
Use as much or as little ponzu as you’d like. You can choose whether to use the ponzu to soak the onions in advance, or pour over them or use as a dipping sauce after grilling. If you choose to soak them, you can put them in a shallow bowl and use about 1/8 cup-1/4 cup of ponzu sauce. Reserve the sauce if you’d like to use it again as a garnish or dip after grilling.

Serve meat with cebollitas and corn tortillas. These tacos also go great with guacamole or a fresh green salsa.

Yields 2 servings or about 6-8 tacos.

  • How do you dress up your basic rib eye tacos?
Disclosure: This post is part of a sponsored series to promote Mizkan cooking wines, vinegars, sauces and marinades. We also received product samples and promotional material from Mizkan to assist in preparing this post. All opinions and recipes in this series are our own.

Queso fundido

During the winter, I love to eat warm, hearty treats. There’s something about the winter weather that makes you want to eat things that’ll stick to your ribs, right?

This past weekend, I made a very simple queso fundido that really hit the spot. Given that I just shared a recipe for homemade chorizo earlier this week, I thought it would be nice to give you another way to use that during the holidays for a quick and easy party treat.

Whether you’re hosting at home or need to bring a dish to a posada or any other type of party, this is a super simple recipe that’s sure to wow guests. To take it to go, just prepare in the crock or a casserole dish and wait until you arrive at the party to pop it under the broiler for a few minutes. Don’t forget to bring some tortillas!

RELATED RECIPE: Vegetarian queso fundido with mushrooms and poblano chiles

We like to make tacos out of this recipe, but you can absolutely also serve it dip-style with chips if you like.

Queso fundido

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: About 10 tacos

Queso fundido is a classic Mexican appetizer that can be eaten with warm tortillas or tortilla chips. You choose the mix-ins!

Ingredients

  • 4 to 5 ounces cooked chorizo
  • 14 ounces shredded Chihuahua or Quesadilla cheese
  • Non-stick cooking spray

Instructions

  1. Cook your chorizo first and set aside to drain the grease over paper towels.
  2. In a microwave-proof dish, grate the Chihuahua or Quesadilla cheese and microwave at intervals of 30 seconds until mostly melted. Stir if necessary to heat evenly.
  3. Spray a little non-stick cooking spray in a small oven-proof crock (an individual-size soup crock will hold half this recipe and is what I typically use and make a second serving). Pour the melted cheese into the crock. Add half the chorizo and fold in gently.
  4. Set your oven broiler on low and place the crock at least 6-8 inches from the flame. Heat for about 5-6 minutes or until the cheese bubbles and gets brown spots. Be sure to use a pot holder or oven mitt to remove the crock or oven-proof dish from underneath the broiler.
  5. Place the crock or dish on a trivet and serve with warm tortillas to make tacos or hearty tortilla chips if you want to serve it more as a dip.

Notes

Note: the cooking spray is completely optional; I like to use it because it helps a lot with cleanup and getting all the cheese out of the dish before it makes it to my sink.

http://theothersideofthetortilla.com/2011/12/queso-fundido/

  • What do you like in your queso fundido?
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