Monday, February 23, 2015

Slow-Cooker Mexican Pork Carnitas

Slow-Cooker Mexican Pork Carnitas
from Skinnytaste Cookbook

2 lbs. boneless pork shoulder roast, trimmed
6 garlic cloves, crushed with a garlic press
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced (or more if you like it spicy)
1  1/4 tsp. ground cumin, divided
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, divided
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

Season the pork all over with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Set in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat, add the pork, and brown on all sides for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

For the dry adobo rub:

In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon of the cumin, the garlic powder, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and the black pepper.

Using a sharp knife, insert the knife into the pork about 1 inch deep and insert the crushed garlic, rubbing any excess over the pork. Rub the pork all over with the dry adobo rub.

Pour the chicken broth into the slow cooker and add the bay leaves, chipotle peppers, and the pork. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. After 8 hours, transfer the pork to a large dish. Discard the bay leaves. Shred the pork using two forks and return it to the slow cooker with the juices. Add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon cumin and the 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Serves 10

My Notes:

This recipe made enough for 6 tacos and 2 large quesadillas. If I'm going to make this for a group, I'll definitely want to use 4-5 pounds of pork. The roast I bought was 4 pounds, so I cut it in half and put it in the freezer for future use. I was worried that 2 pounds wasn't going to be enough for a couple of meals, but there was plenty. However, I think next time, I'll just double the recipe and freeze the cooked meat for tacos, quesadillas and burritos. 

I didn't use the garlic and the meat still tasted flavorful.

I've never cooked with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, and I wasn't sure how spicy they would make the meat, so I decided to just use one pepper. I didn't dice it up, either; just set it in the broth and stirred it around. I'm not sure if I'd bother with it next time around. Maybe some cayenne added to the rub would be sufficient for a little kick.

After shredding the pork, I decided to throw it in a hot skillet to make the meat a bit more crispy. I didn't have to add any oil or fat since the pork is already a little fatty. 

Serve with warm tortillas, shredded jack & cheddar cheese, diced tomatoes, chopped cilantro, guacamole and sour cream. Don't forget the Negra Modelo!

Labels: , , , , ,

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Crock Pot Carne Asada Tacos/Machaca

A couple of years ago, I discovered a new (to me) food blog to which I quickly became addicted. Jessica Merchant's hilarious blog, How Sweet It Is, is not only full of hilariously snappy posts, but it's also filled with photos that are more than just enticing, they're seductive. It didn't take long for me to add dozens of recipes to Evernote, which of course I've completely ignored and forgotten. Somewhere along the line, I decided to cut back on my blog-hopping and stopped following HSII. Apparently I've missed a lot. Merchant now has a cookbook (Seriously Delish) AND a new baby. If only I had more hours in my day to read all the blogs I so enjoy.

I eventually did try one of the recipes I saved from How Sweet It Is and it's now a family favorite. I try to make it at least once a month, since we really love it for the leftovers. More about that in my notes.

Crockpot Carne Asada Nachos
(or in this case, tacos)

1.5 lb. flank steak
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
2 Tbsp. olive oil
8 oz. of your favorite beer 

1 ripe avocado
1 lime, juiced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, torn
1 bag of tortilla chips
8 oz. of monterey jack cheese, freshly grated
1/2 cup sweet corn (cooked or fresh)
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup sour cream or greek yogurt

In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder and cumin. Whisk it together to create a rub, then evenly pat it all over both sides of the flank steak. Heat a large skillet over high heat and add olive oil. Add the flank steak and sear it on both sides until it is golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the steak and place it in the crock pot. Cover it with beer, then cover the pot and cook the steak on low for 6 hours.

After 6 hours, remove the steak from the liquid and place it on a cutting board to rest for 15 minutes. Slice against the grain, cutting it into thin strips--it may be tender from the crock pot and fall apart, and that is fine.

In a small bowl, mash the avocado with the lime juice, half of the cilantro and a pinch of salt. Set it aside. 

Layer the chips on a baking sheet or dish. Cover them with half of the cheese, then add the corn and the steak. Add the res of the cheese. Turn the broiler in your oven to high, and place the nachos underneath, cooking only until the cheese is golden and bubbly, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the nachos and immediately cover them with the tomatoes, guac, sour cream and remaining cilantro. Serve!

Yield: Serves 4 appropriately, 2 obnoxiously [Jessica's note, not mine.]

My Notes:

I've made the meat portion of this recipe a few times, but have only made the nachos once. We prefer ground beef and pinto beans for our nachos and this seemed a little too dry. However, this recipe makes the most flavorful meat for machaca, so I continue to use it, especially since it's super easy in my slow cooker. However, flank steak is very fickle, and even in a slow cooker, it tends to dry out. From now on, I'll use the rub and beer, but I plan to buy a chuck roast instead of a flank steak. I want this meat to be super tender!

My slow cooker has a browning feature, so I skipped the step with the skillet and did it directly in the pot. 

I used a full bottle of Shiner Bock rather than just the 8 oz. the recipe calls for. It seemed silly to throw out the extra 4 ounces and since it was a workday (and quite early in the morning), I couldn't bring myself to drink the leftovers.

Check out Jessica's complete post for this recipe. She's a hoot!

And now for the leftovers:

Cut the cooked beef into bite-size chunks. 

Saute mushrooms, bell peppers and onions (however much you like and all diced) in a large skillet with either butter (approximately 1-2 tablespoons) or olive oil. Add beef and cook until sizzling hot.

Beat 4-6 eggs in a medium-size bowl, add to skillet and scramble until just cooked through.

Enjoy with steamed tortillas, avocado slices, shredded cheese, diced tomatoes and salsa.

Even the leftovers of the leftovers are great! If we have anything left, I usually put some in a flour tortilla and make a breakfast burrito to take to work the following day.

Labels: , , , , , ,