Thursday, December 12, 2013

Carnitas

At the restaurant, the week after Thanksgiving is always painfully slow and we're very prone to getting out relatively early, say home by 9:30 rather than 11:30. And so it was last Saturday. As I was getting ready to leave, Ann texted me to bring home something for dinner. Cool. I usually stuff something cold and leftover in my face on the way in the house. Actually having a warm dinner with my wife on a Saturday night of all nights? Priceless.

Carnitas, Sauté of Maíz Morado, Salsa Verde
So I brought home some carnitas, cubes of Berkshire pork shoulder that we have seared and then braised with beer, canela (Ceylon/Mexican cinnamon), garlic, cilantro stems, and bay leaves. We braise them in minimal liquid and we let the liquid evaporate to the point where the pork is finally cooking in its own lard. A few turns in the lard and all the sides are crispy while the center is meltingly tender. Yes, you do want to eat these, very badly, unless you're a hater, in which case, why are you reading this?

Meanwhile, we roast, peel, and seed poblanos and roast sheet trays of garlic and tomatillos. These all go into a blender with the juices we get from deglazing the roasting pan and then this smooth green sauce cooks for a few minutes and we season it with salt, lime juice, and cilantro as necessary.

We reheat the carnitas for service in a black steel pan and then put them back into the oven to warm through. Once warm, we toss them in salsa verde and plate them atop a big pile of purple hominy, maíz morado, that we have sautéed with diced onions, poblanos, cilantro, garlic, cumin, and lime zest.

And there you have it: one of Mexico's finest contributions to the world of cooking. So delicious!

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