Monday, July 25, 2011

birthday dinners

I recently invited a friend to dinner for his birthday (well more for dinner, considering he brought the dessert).

I decided on carnitas--Patrick, my friend, likes Mexican food, I like Mexican food, and because I've made this recipe a number of times, I figured it was a sure bet.

I started with a recipe from The Art of Mexican Cooking by Diana Kennedy, and after reading recipe reviews, have made a few adaptations.  The result is quite tasty.

I start with a 3 pound lump of pork butt.

Trim the fat and cut in to similar sized cubes. Add meat to dutch oven or cast iron pot, with a tablespoon of oil. Brown meat.

Once meat is brown, add enough water to cover meat (about 3 cups), along with the following:
- one orange, cut into 8 pieces
- one onion, sliced
- 4 sprigs fresh marjoram
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
Bring to boil, turn down heat and simmer for 2 hours.  At this point I let the pot cool and refrigerated overnight. 
After a night in the frig, i skimmed the fat off the top, removed sprigs of thyme and marjoram, oranges, and bay leaves.  Heat pot and cook down liquid--about 20 minutes. 
Once liquid is cooked off, turn up heat, add a tablespoon of oil if necessary, shred pork and allow it to crisp up just a bit.

Serve on corn tortillas, with your favorite topping--i like salsa verde, corn salsa, or pico de gallo.

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