Pork Carnitas

Carnitas 4

Growing up, my parents made Chinese food at least 90% of the time. So you would think my blog would be mostly Chinese food recipes. Nope. Once I moved out and was left to cook on my own I enjoyed trying all sorts of new food types and trying new recipes. If you ask my kids, they will tell you I can eat Mexican food everyday of the week. It’s true. Pork carnitas is one recipe I love as it is not particularly hard to make. And if you get a large pork shoulder, it makes enough for a crowd or you have leftovers for days. This recipe makes at least 12 servings!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3-4 pounds pork shoulder
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1 bulb garlic, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 8 cups low sodium chicken broth

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Season the pork shoulder with salt, then arrange the pork in the Dutch oven. Cook until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, lime juice, chili powder, oregano, and cumin. Pour in the chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and continue to simmer until pork is very tender, about 2 1/2 hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  4. Transfer the pork shoulder to a large baking sheet, reserving the cooking liquid. Drizzle with a small amount of the reserved cooking liquid.Carnitas 1
  5. Bake the pork in the preheated oven until browned, about 30 minutes. Drizzle more of the cooking liquid on the meat every 10 minutes, and use two forks to shred the meat as it browns. (Keep in mind, the objective of the final step is to get slightly crispy outside with a moist, tender inside.)
  6. Carnitas 2
  7. Serve the carnitas with warm, fresh tortillas and pico de gallo or whatever you like! I like to make mine into tacos. Carnitas 3
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Chicken Tortilla Soup

chicken tortilla soup 2

We had a few weeks of cold and rainy weather. I wish I had made this soup back then. For some reason I was all about making heavy and  filling stews. This soup is nice change from the stews. Light enough for lunch or add a salad or some cornbread and make it a filling dinner. Feel free to use a rotisserie chicken if you want to make things even easier. I’m all about shortcuts and making things easy.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2-3 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Diced Onion
  • 1/4 cup Orange Bell Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Red Bell Pepper
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 can (10 Oz. Can) Rotel Tomatoes And Green Chilies
  • 32 ounces, fluid Low Sodium Chicken Stock
  • 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 4 cups Hot Water
  • 2 cans (15 Oz. Can) Black Beans, Drained
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 5 whole Corn Tortillas, Cut Into Uniform Strips Around 2 To 3 Inches

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F degrees.
  2. Mix cumin, chili pepper, garlic powder, and salt. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil on chicken breasts, then sprinkle a small amount of spice mix on both sides. Set aside the rest of the spice mix.
  3. Place chicken breasts on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until chicken is done. Use two forks to shred chicken. Set aside.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pot over medium high heat. Add onions, orange pepper, red pepper, and minced garlic. Stir and begin cooking, then add the rest of the spice mix. Stir to combine, then add shredded chicken and stir.
  5. Pour in Rotel, chicken stock, tomato paste, water, black beans and corn kernels. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes, uncovered.
  6. Check seasonings, adding more if needed—add more chili powder if it needs more spice, and be sure not to undersalt. Turn off heat and allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Five minutes before serving, gently stir in tortilla strips.
  7. Optional: Ladle into bowls, then top with sour cream, diced red onion, diced avocado, cilantro, pico de gallo, and grated cheese or whatever you like!

chicken tortilla soup