Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Worst Mexican Ever Cooks!: Carnitas

I've been called many things in my life but the funniest has to be when someone proclaimed, "You're the worst mexican ever!" upon learning that, YES, I'm mexican...and, NO, I can't speak spanish. Sure, two years of spanish in high school and four semesters in college should help, but it doesn't. I'm so lousy, I can't even learn it...

Okay, okay, I understand more than I let on and, for some reason, I can sing in Spanish. But, at the end of the day, the only thing to visibly validate my hispanic hertiage is my ability to make some kick-ass mexican food. Is it always authentic? No, but then again, I have to keep up appearances with the Polish, Irish, and Cherokee, as well (somehow, with all of that going on, most people think I'm from the Phillipines.) Added bonus: Aubrey totally can't tell the difference...between authentic mexican food or not! Now that I think about it, the Phillipino thing totally worked in my favor, too. What is it with white guys and asian girls?

So, here's to kicking off a new series of "The Worst Mexican Ever, Cooks!" where I'll share with you my favorite Mexican meals with a dash of identity crisis.

Up first, Carnitas:

Carnitas means "little meat" and the cool thing is, when you make up a batch, there's nothing little about it. It will last you for days. I have no clue where I learned how to make this but here ya go:

1 Pork butt roast...yum ( about 2-3 pounds)
1 yellow onion
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
Lawry's season salt
1 c. water

Double the following measurements for the whole roast. I use 1/2 the roast from this point worries, I'll explain.

2 Tbsp. dark chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
Water to make paste
1. Okay, when you get up in the morning, slice up the onion and put it in a crock pot with the roast, garlic, and sprinkle generously with the season salt. YES, lawry's season salt. It's yum.
2. Add cup of water and cover. Cook on HIGH for 8 hours.
3. When you get home from work, put your keys where you can fnd them in the morning so you aren't late to work again. Preheat oven to 425 F. Then, in a large bowl, remove the roast from the crock pot. Leave most of the onion behind. This might be tough to do because the roast will be so moist and tender, it's just gonna fall apart. DON'T get rid of the juice yet!
4. With two forks, pull the pork apart until you have it all shredded. At this point, I save up half of it because I usually end up craving pulled pork bbq sandwiches and this is a great leftover.

5. Mix chili powder and cumin in a dish, adding water until it makes a paste a bit on the runny side. Set aside. ( Double these measurements if you're using the whole roast...)

6. In an oven safe skillet, add the shredded pork and mix with the spice paste. Heat over medium heat for about couple of minutes adding the reserved juice if it seems to dry.

*Note: You can add these seasonings into the crock-pot to cook all day, but, like I said, I like bbq sandwiches out of this pork, too. It doesn't really affect the flavor. Carnitas is all about the texture!

7. Pop the skillet into the oven you preheated at 425 F. This is crucial. It gives the carnitas characteristic moisture with crispy edges. Heat for about 5 minutes. If you do more, it will get dry.

8. Serve with corn tortillas, green chiles, and cilantro. Go crazy and add tomato, guacamole, and sour cream.

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