Crock Pot Carnitas

Well, here we go!  My fiancée and I are getting married on Saturday after just over 6 1/2 years together.  We enjoyed the benefit of having a year and a half to plan, so at this point there isn’t much to do besides sit around and wait for the end of the week!  As I’ve mentioned the past few weeks we’ll be off to France next Monday for about 3 weeks and because of that I’m going to take a break from regular posts.  The last month I haven’t had as much time to explore new recipes, but I am going to have a few posts that revisit things I’ve done in the past.  Hopefully you’ll enjoy them, and when I’m back there will be plenty of stories and pictures to share!

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In the meantime, why not bring out the crock pot and make these carnitas?  I know it’s summer (well here at least), but who says you can only use a slow cooker for winter meals?  These are the perfect start to a great taco salad, burrito, fajita, or anything else you can dream up.

I used half a head of cabbage we had left over to make a slaw to go with it.  I didn’t use any precise measurements but did add a few shredded carrots, a diced pepper and red onion, chopped cilantro, lime juice, and a bit of cumin.  It tasted great and the cabbage especially gave a nice contrasting texture to the carnitas.

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It was amazing how easily the meat shred after it finished cooking.  I did find that most of the juice got absorbed by the meat once it was shredded and I was left wanting a little extra sauce to put on top.  You can make something like we did or perhaps consider adding a bit more liquid than the recipe calls for.

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If you make these and are left wondering how you’ll last to July without new recipes, why not check out the dozens of breads I’ve written about, or maybe some other meals?  Or journey through my own bread-laden version of Michigan football history.  Off I go!

Crock Pot Carnitas

Ingredients

  •  2.5-3 lbs pork shoulder
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 1 T garlic powder
  • 1 T cumin
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 2 t onion powder
  • 1 t oregano
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 C orange juice
  • 2 C chicken stock
  • Vegetable oil for searing

Directions

In a small bowl mix all spices together and set aside.  Cut the pork shoulder into large (about 2 inch cubes) pieces and rub thoroughly with the spice mix so that each piece is fully covered.

Heat a large skillet or cast iron pot to medium high with a bit of oil and sear the meat on all sides.  Don’t put too much in the pan at once, but allow some space between each piece.  It may take two batches but that’s fine, it should take 5-7 minutes for each group to sear to a nice brown color.

Chop the onion into large slices and place at the bottom of the slow cooker, then add in the bay leaves and cinnamon stick.  Add the seared meat followed by the orange juice and chicken stock.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours (should be ready after 6 but letting it go for longer is not a bad thing…however it fits into your schedule).

After the 6-8 are up you can either shred the meat in the slow cooker or transfer to a baking sheet and place under the broiler for 5-10 minutes (rotating frequently) to get a crisper, browned finish.

Recipe courtesy of Jo Cooks.

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