Sunday, March 11, 2012

diana kennedy's carnitas

On Saturday, I made carnitas.

I started with four pounds of pork butt (heh heh), cut it down in to 2 inch pieces, and then tossed it all in my dutch oven with several cups of water, a few teaspoons of salt, and the peel from one orange.

I set about bringing it to a boil. Soon enough the water turned murky and opaque. An unpleasant gray foam  formed on the surface. Our apartment began to smell like a tannery. This lasted for about an hour and a half, after which I drained out some of the water (the meat was starting to get soft and I didn't want it to completely fall apart when it got to the frying stage), added a little lard, and let it brown for another hour.

The meat fell apart a bit more than I would have liked, but the flavor was great. We ate the carnitas on  tortillas from La Palma and a sprinkling of onions and cilantro. 

I don't know if I would make it again- the apartment smelled like I'd been boiling glue and I don't know if it was worth several hours of cooking to make something that you can buy at any Mexican restaurant for under $5. Still, it was satisfying to make something I've been curious about for so long and I know Daniel was pleased- he just finished eating the leftovers for lunch.

Diana Kennedy's Carnitas, with a few adaptations
Serves 6-8

4 lbs pork butt (shoulder would work as well)
2 tbsp salt
peel of 1 orange

Cut pork into roughly 2 inch cubes and add to a large, wide pot. Add the orange peel, salt and enough cold water to just barely cover the meat. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook until the meat is cooked through (but not falling apart) and the liquid has evaporated- about an hour and a half. Lower the heat slightly and fry the meat until evenly browned. This will take about an hour. You may need to add some lard if the meat was not fatty enough or it won't brown properly. 


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