Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

Carnitas3

There are certain important, iconic historic events that when they happen, you’ll always remember exactly where you were.

I was very young both times around, but I remember where I was when President Bill Clinton was elected. Both times in 1992, and in 1996: my grandparent’s living room, watching TV with my grandpa.

Strangely enough, I remember where I was the day that O.J. Simpson was acquitted of the murder of his wife: again, my grandparents living room watching the verdict unfold on Geraldo Rivera.

I remember where I was on December 31st/January 1st, 1999 when everyone was holding their breath, thinking the world was going to end in the year 2000. I was at my other grandmother’s house in Detroit with my Dad and sisters and we all were laughing about it.

I remember where I was on September 11th, 2001; my 7th grade English class. My teacher had left in the middle of class for a few minutes, then come back into the room and without saying a word to us, just turned on the TV and switched to CNN. I still remember that first image I saw of the smoke billowing out from the World Trade Center, and not fully realizing what it was I was really seeing.

Carnitas2

I remember where I was when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005; I was visiting my Aunt in Atlanta and was horrified at the images and video footage the news was reporting, not just from the hurricane itself, but also from the aftermath. The first few weeks when I got back to high school, several of the student organizations I was apart of were collecting food, toiletries and clothe donations to send down there to help out.

I remember where I was when President Barack Obama was first elected; in 2008 me and Jas were in our dorm room, watching the election results on our tv through tears of joy and near disbelief. To date, that night is one of the best nights I’ve ever had in my life. (I remember where I was the night of his re-election in 2012 too, but that night in 2008 will always and forever be particularly special to me)

I remember where I was when I found out that Michael Jackson died in 2009. I was in the kitchen cooking and my Mom came in and told me that the story was trending on the internet. I refused to believe it for a really long time. When it finally was confirmed as true, I felt an unexpected sadness and depression that lingered with me for a few days.

Carnitas1

Right up there with all those super duper important, iconic historical events I’ve lived to see, I’m gonna go ahead and add another to that list.

I’ll always remember where I was the day that I first made pork carnitas. It was a sunny Sunday afternoon. I was in the kitchen, while my mom and sister Ashley were watching the tv show The Blacklist in the living room.

Yep. This recipe is that important and life-changing to me.

You have to understand, I’ve never done this before. I didn’t even really know what I was doing, I just knew that carnitas was something I’d always wanted to make for myself.

Carnitas5

So when my grocery store finally put their pork butt (shoulder)on sale, I just went out and bought one of those bad boys, along with some basic ingredients that I knew were traditionally used in making carnitas.

The first good sign was the smell coming out of my slow cooker when I woke up on Sunday morning after letting the shoulder do it’s thing overnight. It was friggin glorious, people. I went in the kitchen and pressed my face up against the glass lid like a kid looking through the glass of a candy store, trying to see what ind of magic was going on in that crockpot that smelled so delicious. The steam and heat had created too many bubbles for me to see unfortunately, so I had to exercise an INCREDIBLE amount of self-restraint from yanking off the lid and let it keep cooking for another few hours. I wasn’t taking any chances. I wanted to make sure I had that type of pork that’s been cooked to low and slow perfection. It needed to practically melt off the bone with little to no force or resistance.

Kinda like the way I get after watching “The Avengers” and seeing Chris Hemsworth’s arms and Chris Evans work a punching bag.

Carnitas4

Good things come to those who wait. I found that out when I finally couldn’t take it anymore and lifted my crockpot lid. The steam from the pork hit me in the face. It was like, the best kiss I ever had

Okay, maybe not the best kiss I ever had. But pretty darn close. I wanted to break out in Snoopy dances when I took a fork and pierced the meat. I didn’t even have to pull, guys. I just touched it. And it FELL off the bone. Fell, I tell you. If I thought it couldn’t get any better, I was wrong. Because a few minutes underneath the broiler elevates these carnitas from mere mortal (albeit delicious) viddles, to the Food of the Gods.

Moist, fork-tender pork that literally melts in your mouth. A hint of crusty caramelization. This is living.

Something this simple to make really shouldn’t taste this good. It just shouldn’t. It almost feels like I’m cheating. Life’s not a fairy tale like that, am I right?!

So why did this dish turn out SO GOOOOOOOOD?!

I’m going to the Fiesta Friday #43, hosted by Angie@TheNoviceGardener and co-hosted this week by  Tracy @Scratch It and Stephanie @The Cozy Cook. I’ll also be bringing these carnitas. See you there…

fiesta-friday-badge-button-click-to-join1

**********************************************************************

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

Recipe by Jessica@Cooking Is My Sport

Print

Ingredients

  • 4-6 lbs. pork shoulder, slightly trimmed of excess fat
  • 1 tbsp. garlic salt
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 2 oranges, sliced in half
  • 1 lime, sliced in half

Directions

1. Combine garlic salt, chili powder, dried oregano, dried basil, cumin, ground coriander, brown sugar, and sweet paprika.

2. Rub the spice mixture evenly over the pork. Place pork in the bottom of a slow cooker (minimum of 6 quarts)*

3. Squeeze the juice from the oranges and limes over the pork. Place rinds pulp side down in slow cooker over the meat.

4. Cover and cook on low for 10-12 hours, or until pork is tender and falling off the bone. Use a fork to pull away from bone and discard it.

5. Preheat oven broiler. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper and arrange pork in a single layer. Place underneath broiler until tips of pork are browned and slightly crisp, about 3-5 minutes. (Don’t walk away from it. Keep an eye on meat to make sure it doesn’t burn or become overly browned).

6. Serve finished pork in corn/flour tortillas, or over rice.

*I had to use 2 slow cookers too cook a 6lb. pork shoulder that I ended up cutting in half, so keep that in mind when buying your meat.

Roast Beef and Bourbon Sauce

Bourbon Roast Beef1

Show of hands: how many of you guys out there make something new for dinner every single night?

Okay. Now, still show of hands: how many of you guys out there have full time day-jobs (like 8 or 9-5:00pm) and STILL make something new for dinner every single night?

Well, since we’re not sitting in the same room together, I may as well come clean and tell you guys that my hand’s not up. Although I’m kinda the designated cook in my house- a role I’m admittedly glad to fulfill-I’m still not the type of cook that makes something new for dinner every single night when I get off work. It just doesn’t happen that way.

Bourbon Roast Beef2

When I look back on past generations where women like my grandma really did make breakfast and dinner from scratch every.single.day, I’m really in awe. I personally can’t see myself cleaning a house,doing laundry, running errands and looking after children all day like she did, THEN on top of that throwing down in the kitchen. I just don’t have the energy for that. By the time I get home during the week, just about the only thing I feel like doing is just warming my food up and sitting down to eat it.

Having said that, my personal method of ensuring that me and my family eat good food during the week while also not wearing myself out, is to just make the majority of the food on the weekend, then eat the leftovers during the week.

Bourbon Roast Beef3

I’m trying to make enough food to feed 4 people for about 5 days, so I also usually end up cooking quite a bit. Roasts, pork loins and jumbo packages of chicken breasts are usually what I look for in the grocery store sale ads- with chicken usually being the one that gets picked the most. It’s the most inexpensive, and I actually kinda prefer it to red meat and pork. Sometimes though, I’ll come across a recipe that calls for red meat that I really really really want to make, and beef will win out for the week- which is basically what happened with this recipe.

Bourbon Roast Beef4

It’s been a while since I made a beef roast, and when I found this recipe I decided that it would be the one that would break my dry spell. The prep is actually ridiculously simple-you rub the meat over with salt & pepper then sear it in grapeseed oil- and I will say that the grapeseed oil does make all the difference. It has a really delicious, almost sweet flavor that I’ve never had in using any other cooking oil. After the meat is done roasting, then you can really get down to the good stuff: guys, this… sauce. It’s just amazing. It really exceeded my expectations (not an easy task) and was the perfect accompaniment to the tender, juicy meat. I sliced the roast into thick, round slices and poured the sauce on top, then roasted some vegetables with agave to serve on the side. It’s one of the best meals I’ve made, hands down.

Bourbon Roast Beef5

And even better than that, the leftover sliced beef makes for AMAZING sandwiches throughout the week, hot OR cold.

I’m ridiculously late to the Fiesta Friday #34 party this week, hosted by Angie@TheNoviceGardener and co-hosted by Selma @Selma’s Table andElaine @Foodbod, but I’m still coming- if for nothing else, because I feel like I HAVE to share this roast beef. Have a good rest of the weekend, guys 🙂

*********************************

Roast Beef & Bourbon Sauce

Recipe Adapted from Aaron McCargo, Jr.

CLICK  HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

For Roast Beef

  • 1/4 cup coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 cup coarse cracked black pepper
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil, for searing
  • 1 whole Beef Striploin, trimmed with some fatback remaining

 

For Bourbon Sauce

  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1 cup onion, finely diced
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Directions

1.Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

2. Add oil to saute pan. Season meat on all sides with salt and pepper.

3. Sear meat on all sides, about 2 to 3 minutes each side.

4. Place meat on sheet tray with a rack. Roast meat for 30 to 40 minutes.

5. Crank oven up to 450 degrees F. and roast for an additional 15 to 20 minutes until crust forms and meat is nicely colored. When done, allow to rest before slicing. In a small bowl reserve juice for Bourbon Sauce.

6. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add 4 tablespoons butter. Add garlic, onion and cook for 4 to 5 minutes until nicely Add flour and mix well to form pasty roux.

7. Remove pan from flame. Add bourbon and scrape pan with a wooden spoon. Add stock and mix well removing any lumps.

8. Bring sauce to a boil and allow to simmer for 10 minutes until sauce thickens. Add sugar and pepper. Add 1 tablespoon cold butter and whisk together. Stir in reserved roast beef juice. Finish with parsley. Serve on top or along side of roasted meat.

Baratheon Smothered Pork Chops and Apple Gravy

Smothered Pork Chops1

Game of Thrones Series Week 4

Okay, guys. Before we get to the food, I simply must debrief about what I think is one of the best Game of Thrones episodes that we’ve seen in all of the seasons thus far. Seriously, by the end my heart was pulse was a little faster than usual and I was more than a little miffed when the credits came on and I realized I would have to wait until next week to see the next episode. Fortunately, that happens to be today, so all is right with the world again:

  • I really don’t like Stannis Baratheon. To me he’s an opportunist that’s willing to use any means or follow any cause so long as it will make him win- for now it’s that crazy Melisandre’s “Lord of Light” cult, but if that ever stopped working for him, I’m pretty sure he would cut and run from that too. Even though his loss in the battle at King’s Landing meant Joffrey’s victory, I was still glad that he was left with barely any army and no money. It was fun to watch him get chewed and spit out by the Iron bankers. As usual, Sir Davos had to come to his rescue. Honestly, I’m pretty sure Stannis wouldn’t even still be a king if it weren’t for Sir Davos.
  • I’ve pretty much despised Theon ever since he went rogue in Season 2 and turned his back on the the Starks for the Greyjoys (who didn’t even care about him anyway.) So it kinda goes without saying that I don’t particularly pity him for how terrible he’s been treated by Ramsay Snow. It’s a shame that Yara ended up abandoning him, and that he’s kinda lost his mind and…another rather important part of his body, but what can you say? What goes around comes around, and around, and around. We’ll see how if ‘pretending’ to be Theon will actually help him towards getting back a hold on his true self- I’m thinking that that plan may backfire on Ramsay…

Smothered Pork Chops2

  • Daenerys is starting to realize that being a queen isn’t exactly as effortless and glamorous as she probably imagined it to be. #1, she has to sit in a hard chair and spend the entire day listening to HUNDREDS of petitions from commoners who are really just there to either complain, or ask l her for money. #2 Her policies aren’t being as wholly accepted and welcomed as she had thought they would be. Just because she’s a ‘Mother of Dragons’ doesn’t mean that everyone is going to like her in her kingdoms. And #3, Speaking of dragons , ss advantageous as her dragons are for her to take over cities and destroy armies, they are proving to be a major problem in keeping them under control in the general public. I don’t know man: I have a bad feeling about those dragons- like they’re going to be like a dangerous wildfire that Daenerys won’t be able to control when it really will count.
  • I definitely don’t think that the producers of the show handled the now infamous ‘scene’ between Jamie and Cersei correctly (I’m just gonna leave it at that), but his friendship with Brienne and loyalty to Tyrion make it very difficult for me to completely despise Jamie. I also don’t think that would be fair to Nikolaj Coster Waldau’s performance of him either. Regardless of the terrible things that he’s done, Jamie’s not a one-dimensional person and I don’t feel as though he should be viewed through the lens of one particular action or crime that he did. Having said that, I thought that the deal he made with Tywin in exchange for sparing Tyrion’s life signified a very important change for his character; being in the King’s Guard has always been Jamie’s way of staying close to Cersei, and not being forced to betray the love that he has for her by marrying and having children with another woman. The fact that he’s willing to now not only leave the King’s Guard, but also King’s Landing to marry and bear children to carry on the Lannister name signify to me that Jamie has in a sense, given up on Cersei and the ‘love’ that he’s had for her all these years. I think he’s realized that her love for him was either not as strong for him as his was for her, or just never existed in the first place. His ultimate conclusion it seems is that Tyrion’s the sibling worth making sacrifices for, not Cersei.

Smothered Pork Chops4

  •  What can I say about the trial itself? Can we just give Peter Dinklage the awards now-and I do mean ALL OF THE AWARDS. Good Lord, his performance was just outstanding. I literally was on the edge of my seat for the entire scene, the build-up to the climax was just marvelous. I could feel the sheer devastation that Tyrion felt when Shae appeared and testified against him. It almost made me wish that I was a crier so that I could cry for him, I felt so sorry for how cruel she was to do that. I think the pain of that scene was so powerful not just because it was Shae that delivered the crucial blow to Tyrion’s hopes of mercy in the trial, but also because she gave the false testimony because of hermistaken belief that he had cast her aside simply because he was tired of her when in reality he only made her leave because he wanted to save her life. I’ve always believed from the very first season that Tyrion is the heart and soul of GoT- the show just wouldn’t be the same without him, and last week’s episode certainly reinforced that belief. I can’t begin to guess what will happen now in Tyrion’s trial by combat. We can only wait and see, can’t we?

Smothered Pork Chops3

So this recipe was begun originally as an intention to follow one of the recipes from my new Game of Thrones cookbook that I told you guys about in my last post. I got as far as sauteeing the apples before changing my mind and just doing things my own way, putting a ‘Jess Twist’ on this dish. The seasoning rub on the pork chops are inspired by the cookbook, while the cooking methods and apple gravy are my own contributions. When it was finished and I was looking for the GoT inspiration in the dish, I immediately thought of Robert Baratheon. Why? Because this is just a real ‘man’s man dish’, that’s why. Spice rubbed thick, tender meat that’s swimming in a thick, hearty apple gravy-it’s just the type of meal you would expect a ‘man’s man’ type of king like Robert to come and feast on after a hunt, joust, or whatever. I went off the script, and it just really paid off.

For those of you just now joining the GoT series, I’ll post the series existing recipes below for you to check out. Until next week, guys!

Game of Thrones Series

Week 1: Pigeon {Chicken} Pies

Week 2: Winterfell Brown Bread

Week 3: Southron Spinach & Plum Salad

Week 4: Baratheon Smothered Pork Chops & Apple Gravy

********************************************

Baratheon Smothered Pork Chops & Apple Gravy

Recipe Loosely Adapted from The Unofficial Game of Thrones Cookbook

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  •  10-12 boneless pork chops, about 4- 5 oz each
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tart apple, peeled, cored and chopped into slices
  • 1 cup white wine, divided
  • 2 tsp ground cloves
  • 4 tsp ground cumin
  • 6 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 2 tsp hot paprika
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 tsp rubbed sage
  • Vegetable oil
  • 2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp Dijon mustard

 Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Cook the fennel seeds and apple slices in 1/2 cup of the wine in a heavy cast iron, or regular non-stick skillet, covered, for about 20 minutes. Be sure to keep  wet by adding liquid as needed. When apple is soft, add the butter and stir until melted. Remove the apples and fennel seeds from the heat and set aside.

3. In a medium size bowl, combine the cloves, cumin, hot & sweet paprika, coriander, zest, salt, pepper, cardamom and sage. Rub the mixture on the pork chops on both sides.

4. Heat about 1 tbsp vegetable oil in the skillet and turn the  heat up to medium high. Cook steak for about 3 minutes on either side. (It does NOT have to be cooked all the way through). Remove pork to a plate and cover with aluminum foil, leaving the drippings in the skillet.

5. Lower heat to medium-low and combine other 1/2 cup of white wine,, chicken broth, flour, heavy cream and Dijon mustard in skillet. Stir and allow to  cook until flour has completely dissolved and liquid is thickened to desired consistency. Stir apples and fennel seeds into gravy.

6. Spray two casserole dishes with cooking spray. Place pork chops into casserole dishes and pour the apple gravy over them, stirring to combine. Cover dishes with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes in preheated oven.

7. Remove aluminum foil and check the seasoning of the gravy, adjusting if need be. Use a fork to test the doneness of pork chops. If it slides in and out of the meat smoothly, they are done.

 *******************************************

 

Enhanced by Zemanta