Carnitas are always cooked in lard with fresh orange slices. The orange supplies moisture that lowers the temperature of the lard while the interior of the meat cooks. Once this moisture cooks away, the temperature of the lard rises, and the meat browns on the outside. The carnitas, when done, will have a dry, crispy exterior, with a moist, succulent interior. There is no substitute for the lard; oil just will not work for this recipe.
- 3 lbs.lard(no substitute)
- 3 1/2 lbs. boneless pork butt(butt or shoulder), trimmed and cut into 3-inch cubes
- 1 small orange, sliced
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro(optional)
- Warmed flour tortillas
- Garnishes: As a main dish, serve with salsa, sour cream, chopped onion, cilantro, jalapeno slices
1. Place the lard in a heavy, deep pot, over medium-low heat. Lightly salt the meat. When the lard has melted, place the meat, orange slices, and the 1/4 cup cilantro(if used) into the pot. The melted lard must cover the meat; if it does not, add more.
2. Cook over medium-low heat, 2 to 2 1/2 hours .After about 30 minutes, the lard will begin to boil. Boil gently. As the moisture gradually cooks away the temperature of the lard will rise, allowing the meat to brown. If the meat has not browned at the end of the cooking time, remove the orange slices and continue to cook. As the meat browns, remove it and drain on paper towels.
3. Place the carnitas on a preheated platter or serving dish. Accompany with warmed tortillas and the garnishes.
Serves 6 .Note: Carnitas may be prepared in advance and reheated in a 350 F degrees oven until heated through(10 to 15 minutes).
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Source: Mexican Cooking At The Academy
Submitted By: Linda Wilson