Sunday, November 8, 2015

Pork Carnitas Tacos

The week after Sam's surgery my  husband had to go to Texas for a week for training for work.  He had to.  The only week that would have been worse for this would have been the week OF Sam's surgery.  He was gone 8 days.  He brought  me back this cookbook.

He got this in Texas, even though it's from the Sante Fe (New Mexico) school of cooking.  But probably Tex-Mex is the same both places; they are pretty close on the map.  Whenever I go to a Mexican restaurant I get carnitas.  They are good at Las Palapas but I don't know if they're gluten free, and I'm afraid to ask them if they are because there is a language barrier there and I worry they won't know what gluten is and they will agree with me and I will eat the food and get sick.  BUT at Miguel's, they have a lot of gluten free choices and carnitas is one of them.  So I like to go there and eat SO MANY chips and salsa that by the time the carnitas come I can barely eat any but they are so good that I make myself.  So when I saw carnitas in this cookbook it is the first thing I wanted to try.  An ambitious first choice considering I don't have any of the special Mexican ingredients.  But I thought I would omit and modify as I went.  Here is the recipe and my modifications.

Pork Carnitas Tacos
2-2.5 lb pork stew meat or trimmed pork butt, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 ounces lard (um.  I used butter)
1 tsp coarse salt
1 ancho chile, toasted, stems and seeds removed, and ground to powder (about 1.5 tbsp)(omitted by me)
1 guajillo or New Mexico red chile, toasted, stems and seeds removed, and ground to powder (about 1.5 tbsp)(omitted by me)
scant tbsp ground chipotle pepper (added by me instead of the two above peppers)(this was a mistake)
1 tsp ground toasted cumin seed (I used the cumin powder I already had)
6 whole allspice
3 whole cloves
6 cloves garlic, peeled
2 bay leaves
1 cup Coca-Cola (they say do not substitute anything else for this, so I didn't)
2 1/2 cups meat broth or water
1 whole orange
Flour or corn tortillas

Heat lard in heavy saucepan until hot (don't use a pan that is too broad; a 10- or 12-inch bottom will keep the ingredients from spreading too far)(that was from the recipe not from me). 

Toss pork pieces with salt, ground chiles, and cumin.  Cook in lard for 8-10 minutes, turning frequently to evenly brown.

Add allspice, cloves, garlic, and bay leaves, then the Coke (TM), broth or water, and whole orange.

Bring to a full boil, then reduce heat to just boiling.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the lard is beginning to sizzle, about 1 1/4 hours.  The meat should be fork-tender; if not, add more water and continue cooking (mine was ready at this point...I tried a bite of the meat.  I could taste the spices and the orange, and there was just a hint of heat.  I thought "oh good").

Remove orange, turn up heat to medium high, and saute meat while stirring until pieces are well browned with carmelized edges (it didn't say to remove the bay leaves, allspice, and cloves, but I did because who wants to bite down on that??).  Remove from pan and drain well.

Serve with assorted condiments and fresh tortillas (at Miguel's they always serve with with refried beans sprinkled with queso fresco and rice on the side...I did the beans but not the cheese or the rice).

Okay by the time I got to the end of the recipe, it was SO spicy I couldn't eat it.  I tried really hard.  I tried it by itself--big mistake.  I tried a teeny bit with a lot of refried beans.  Nope.  I tried it with a tortilla chip.  It didn't matter.  Way. Too. Hot.  Surprisingly though the hubs and two older children LOVED it.  They ate all theirs, finished mine, got seconds.  I did not expect that at all.  The texture was pretty much what I've had.  But I couldn't even taste the spices at all like I could before the sauce reduced and the meat fried.  It was just hot hot hot.  If I ever make this again it will be with no type of chile pepper or whatever at all.  It's not even spicy at Miguel's.  I see no reason why food should hurt.  I've never understood that.  My dad likes things so spicy that he's not happy unless he's crying at the table.  He's all blowing his nose and stuff between bites.  I just cannot get on board with that.  Order spicy stuff at a restaurant, husband and children.  Just like you have to order seafood or anything with mayo.  You won't be (knowingly) getting that from me...........


No comments: