Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Salsa Verde Pork Carnitas

There's something about Mexican cuisine we really love. Perhaps its how Mexican cuisine is somewhat similar to Filipino cuisine with the heavy use of meats and rice. In fact, we love the seasonings of Mexican meats and prefer eating them with steamed white or brown rice over tortillas. (I guess it's the Asian thing in us where everything seems to taste better with rice- lol.) With that said, pork carnitas is one of our favorite Mexican dishes. Instead of the traditional preparation, I made this Salsa Verde Pork Carnitas recipe and it was a hit! The Baron loves salsa verde so it was a nice way to incorporate it as a flavoring instead of a condiment...

Salsas are great as an accompaniment to chips or a condiment with Mexican fare. But using salsa verde in this recipe reminded me how great salsas can be to jump start a sauce or marinade. This recipe is super simple since everything gets placed in a slow cooker and cooks aways with little effort on your part. The sauce is so flavorful and has a nice depth of smokiness, thanks to the salsa and the cumin in the dish. Pork shoulder and pork butt are perfect cuts to braise and slow cook, resulting in tender, juicy meat that soaks up the goodness in the salsa verde sauce. This is a great dish to kick off the fall slow cooker season... and makes for a nice change of pace from the usual pulled pork recipe!


Salsa Verde Pork Carnitas
recipe adapted from Cooking Light
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Sazon seasoning (optional)
    1  tablespoon ground cumin
    1  teaspoon dried oregano
  • 10 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 1/4 pounds boneless Boston butt pork roast, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1  bottle (15 oz.) salsa verde + more for serving
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/2  cup  chopped fresh cilantro, plus some leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Combine the tomato paste, salt, pepper, Sazon, cumin, oregano and minced garlic in a large Dutch oven; add the pork roast and turn to coat in mixture. 
  3. Pour chicken broth and salsa verde over coated pork mixture. Cover and bake at 350° for 1 1/2 hours or until pork is very tender.
  4. Transfer pork mixture to a 13 x 9-inch baking dish, and cool to room temperature. Cover and chill for 8 hours or overnight.
  5. Meanwhile, skim and discard fat from pan juices. Remove the pork from the dutch oven and tent with foil to keep warm.

    Pour juices into a sauce pan. Boil juices, stirring, until reduced to 2 3/4 cups, 8 to 10 minutes.

    With 2 forks, tear meat into large shreds. Add to sauce pan and stir in chopped cilantro. Season with salt. Spoon into a serving bowl and sprinkle with cilantro leaves. Serve with tortillas (or rice!) and more salsa verde.
** Alternately, you can cook this in a slow cooker. Simply placeall the ingredients in the slow cooker, cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Chill, skim and discard fat from pan juices and shred. Continue preparing as called in the recipe.