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Carnitas de Michoacan

While on our trip to Patzcuaro and Janitzio, we passed through the state of Michoacan.  We did a day trip to Tzintzuntzan and Quiroga. In Quiroga, we sampled the wonderful Carnitas Carmelo (pork).  Unable to convince the owner to share his secret recipe, Larry set out to make his own. The original one I posted on the travel blog – www.mexico1012.wordpress.com, but we never actually made it.

 With the end of the Maya calendar fast approaching, we decided to have our “Last Supper” with a dozen of close friends. What to serve? Well, he already had purchased the copper pan in Santa Clara del Cobre…so why not make the famous carnitas? Pouring through the Internet he came up with four recipes. Larry being Larry, he decided to improvise using parts of all four recipes. Et voila! Here is HIS version…

CARNITAS DE MICHOACAN

Feeds  12 carnivores!

Prepare this the day before.

Ingredients

2 kilos boneless pork shoulder, cut into approx. 2 inch cubes

1 kilo pork ribs

1 kilo back bones

1 kilo pork fat

¼ cup soya sauce

2 cups safflower oil, or similar

One slab of pork skin with fat left on, about 12 x 12

One large white onion thickly sliced

1 tsp  of whole cumin seeds

2 Tbs  of Mexican oregano

3 bay leaves

One 4 inch stick of cinnamon

2 Tbs of chopped garlic

6 whole cloves

3 cups of water

1 cup of orange juice

3 oranges

2 Tbs of course salt

Add chiles to suit your taste!!!

 

Preparation

Marinate the pork cubes in ¼ cup of soya sauce for about 30 minutes.

Heat the pork fat and oil and add the onion, oregano, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, cumin seeds, cloves and garlic.  Cook until the onions are well caramelized in color. Remove onion, bay leaves, cinnamon and cloves.  Set aside to be added again later.

Brown all of the meats, in small portions, in the hot oil. This is necessary so that the meat does not lower the temperature of the oil and allow the meat to become saturated before sealing the outer surface.

When all of the meats have been browned, add the oranges, orange juice and water to the oil, add in the spices and onions that were set aside.  Now add in all the meats.  Cover the meat in the with the pork skin.  Reduce heat to a simmer and allow to cook for approximately 2 to 3 hours.   Remove the meats.  Allow to cool.  Remove all bones from the ribs and spine.  Add the meat to the boneless pieces and mix together.   Remove the onion and other spices from the hot mixture with a strainer.  You can add the onions to the meat mixture.   Place the meat and the liquid in separate containers in the fridge overnight.  Before you combine the liquid with the meat the next day, remove as much of the congealed grease as possible. Reheat the meat in the broth, adding more water if necessary.

 Serve in soft tortillas or ‘Italian’ ciabatta buns. Top with onions escabeche (Recipe follows)

Slow Cooker Salsa

Salsa with fresh tortilla chips

This recipe comes courtesy of our friend, Chuck, who prepared this as an appetizer the other night. At the end of the salsa recipe is a suggestion for using it with chicken on tortillas….it was great!!

Watch for next week’s post on brining your Christmas turkey, something I learned from Emeril Lagasse many years ago and always a hit! It has to be done 24 hours in advance, so I want you to have lots of time to prepare it!

Slow Cooker Salsa

Put into a slow cooker:
1.5 cups onion finely diced
1 red sweet pepper finely chopped.
2 jalapenos finely chopped. (Include the seeds if you want a spicy salsa)
15 diced Roma tomatoes (you could use 3 cans of canned tomatoes)
(All can be chopped coarser if you like a chunky salsa)
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp each thyme, oregano
2 tsp cumin
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 tsp brown sugar (more if you like a sweeter salsa)
1 can tomato paste
1/4-3/4 cup water to add if it cooks down
Red pepper flakes (or not, depending on your taste)

Cook on low for 4 hours.  Add water to keep it boiling if necessary.  Chill and serve. Just before serving you might want to consider chopping up some fresh cilantro on top of the dish to add a crispness to the salsa.

Serving suggestion:
Pan fry chicken breasts, then cool before slicing thinly
Thinly slice 1/2 green pepper
Grate 4 oz of your favorite cheese
Layer a pizza pan with tortilla chips. Arrange the sliced chicken breast and green peppers on top, then cover with cheese.
Broil until cheese bubbles.
Enjoy with the fresh salsa on the side!