Friday, December 2, 2011


Things we love:  slow cookers, roasts, meat under $2/lb., flavorful meals, healthy food, minimal active prep, leftovers.  Why not put it all in one recipe?

“Carnitas” literally means “little meats.”  It is a Mexican way of preparing pork that involves braising a pork roast until it is tender and falls apart.  Because the meat is braised, you can get away with using an otherwise tough and undesirable chunk of pork.  This means you can often find it at a good price.  The last two weeks, WinCo has had pork chuck roast on sale for $1.69/lb.  So of course I bought too many.  It may also labeled as “shoulder,” “Boston butt,” and “picnic ham.”

The meat itself is so flavorful that it is delicious by itself.  I like the meat rolled in a warm tortilla with no competing flavors.  For the kids, I add cheese, sour cream or yogurt, corn, and salsa.  Robbie discovered that it is excellent with my neighbor Fred’s green salsa.  I’ll have to pry that recipe out of him.

If you want, you can trim the meat before cooking it, but I prefer to leave it until after it is cooked.  Not only does it contribute to the flavor, but it helps keep the meat moist by providing a barrier for water evaporation.

1 c. water
1 Tbsp. chicken bouillon
2 bay leaves
1 pork shoulder roast (about 4 lbs.)
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cumin
¼ tsp. paprika
dash cayenne pepper (optional)
½ tsp. oregano
1 tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. cinnamon (optional)

Place water, bouillon, and bay leaves in bottom of slow cooker.  Place roast in crock, fattiest side up.  Sprinkle remaining spices over top.

Cook on low 8-10 hours.

Spoon some of the broth over top to rinse the spices off.  Remove any fat.  Shred meat using two forks.

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