Looking back on the past few weeks, Fridays have really become my day to cook. Do a little recipe surfing, go to my favorite shops, and come home to cook the stress of the week away. My 20 year old self is going to be appalled at what I say next, but I don’t like going out on a Friday night. Even leaving the comforts of home for a dinner out seems like too much effort. I far prefer to stay home in comfy clothes, pour a glass of wine (or two, or three) and cook up something tasty for a few friends or even just me – what I’m learning most from this blog is how to enjoy food for me (plus then I can watch Corrie uninterrupted).
T. is home now (Yay!) and I offered to him to select the Friday meal, well within some limits. I prepared a standing rib roast with roasted parsnips and whisky sweet potato mash for his first meal home on Wednesday, so I gave him the limit that it should be a white meat or fish. As you may recall from the half a cow story T. would eat red meal every night. T. came back with an ‘I don’t know’ response and asked for some options. I thought I would branch out of my normal comfort zone and attempt something Mexican. After some searching I decided on carnitas or ‘little meats’ that are usually braised then roasted. A little foodie research informed me that they are generally made with pork and very common across Mexico. They sounded like a great Friday night fun dinner option. T. wanted to invite my brother from another mother C. over and I knew the boys would enjoy this meal.
I worked off a carnitas recipe found on Simply Recipes, I will share my modifications with you. The recipe says it serves 6 – 8 I halved the amount of meat for the 3 of us and have no leftover (a sign of a great meal!)
- Cut up 2 pounds of boneless pork shoulder into large chucks removing as much fat as possible. Add meat to 900 ml of beef broth, 2 cups of chili sauce (might be a Canadian product, the recipe calls for salsa), 4 smashed cloves of garlic, 1 tsp cumin, and 1 tsp of coarse sea salt in a heavy dutch oven. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 4 hours till the meat is tender and easily pulls apart.
- Once the meat is tender, remove from broth, pull apart into small pieces placing meat on baking tray. Sprinkle meat with brown sugar and place into a heated over at 400F for 15 mins. After 7 mins I poured one ladle of the broth over the meat to keep moist while roasting.
- In the meantime, the cooking broth is too tasty to discard so I decided I would make a sauce for the carnitas with it. After you have removed the meat from the broth, bring the broth to a boil over high heat and add 1 cup of beer. Once the liquid has reduced, lower heat and allow to simmer while you prepare the rest of the meal.
The main accompaniment for the carnitas was a fresh tomato salsa. Very easy to make, just be careful with the chili peppers! I apparently had a little cut under my thumb nail, which was very uncomfortable for a few hours. The only alteration to this recipe was the use of parsley instead of cilantro – T. is not a fan of cilantro.
I served the carinates with the fresh salsa, the sauce from the broth, sour cream and cheese. I picked up fresh corn tortillas that are made locally. The sauce was good you could just drink it… according to the boys.
After last night I’m ashamed that I wasn’t familiar with or made carnitas before! They were so tasty!! A great meal with friends. The boys loved them, hence no leftovers. The meat was so tender in the middle, but with caramelized crispy ends that made for an awesome combination.
We will definitely be making this again soon! Perfect to feed a crowd, the meat isn’t expensive and most of the work can be done before your guests arrive. Plus it is one of those meals where you can sit around a table, chatting and eating all evening. Enjoy! We definitely did 🙂