|Served with avocado slices, fresh cilantro, and cauliflower Mexican "rice"|
I love carnitas, a Mexican braised pork dish. I wasn't sure what was in them, so I decided to Google a recipe. Rick Bayless is my go-to source for Mexican recipes, so I was excited to find that he has a recipe for these. However, it calls for, uh, 4 gallons of lard. No wonder they always taste so good! So, these are not authentic carnitas; it is more like a Mexican pulled pork. I remembered that the best carnitas I ever ate had Grand Marnier in them, so I included that too. Of course I made it in the slow cooker, so when I got home, the kitchen smelled wonderful and dinner was waiting for me!
If you are watching calories, use a lean pork loin for this dish. Otherwise, you can use pork butt or shoulder.
SLOW COOKER CARNITAS
Number of servings depends on size of pork roast
- 1 pork roast, anywhere from 1.5-3 lbs
- 6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 1 tsp ancho or pasilla chili powder (you can make this yourself by toasting and grinding dried chilies. In a pinch, just use regular supermarket chili powder).
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 canned chipotle pepper, finely minced
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional; leave this out if you don't like spicy food)
- 1 tsp salt (Kosher or sea salt; use 1/2 tsp if using regular table salt)
- 1/2 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
- 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp agave nectar or honey (optional)
- 1 orange
- 1 lime (2 if your limes are not very juicy)
- 50ml/about 1/4 cup orange liquor such as Grand Marnier (or substitute 1 Tbs orange extract, or use the zest from the orange)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/2 cup chicken broth + extra if needed
- Combine the garlic, chili powder, chipotle, cumin, oregano, cayenne, salt, pepper, olive oil, and optional honey to form a paste. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, sear the pork on the stovetop on high heat until the outside is well-browned.
- Rub the pork with the spice paste. If you have a small pork roast, you may not use all of it.
- Put the pork in your slow cooker. Pour the Grand Marnier and the juice from the lime and orange over it. Pour 1/2 cup chicken broth around the pork and toss in the bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Cover and cook for 6-8 hours.
- Discard the bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Shred the pork with two forks and combine with the meat juices. You may add extra chicken broth to moisten if necessary.