Eat This. Now.

Fine, I’ll say it. If I could eat Mexican food every day of my life, I absolutely would. The really embarrassing part is that I’m not even snobby about it. A breakfast burrito from the brunch place down the street or–God help me–even a Taco Bell gordita can be just as satisfying as something legit.

But let’s never speak of that again.

Thankfully, one of my very favorite Mexican recipes to make at home skews slightly more toward the legit. I’m sure the millions of Mexican grandmothers who aren’t busy hiding out from druglord kidnappers are having heart palpitations thinking of the way I’m bastardizing their carnitas, but too bad. This is delish.

Here’s the recipe I use for Slow Cooker Carnitas.

The recipe calls for a 4-lb. pork roast, but I’ve never used anything more than 2 lbs. Mostly because the thought of having 4 lbs. of shredded flesh in my kitchen kind of skeeves me out. 2 lbs? No sweat. 4? Eh… The important thing is that I don’t adjust the seasoning, even though I’m using a considerably smaller hunk of meat. Trust me. Your tastebuds will sing and dance.

1 t salt
1 t garlic powder
1 t cumin
1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 t ground coriander
1/4 t ground cinnamon
2-ish lb. pork roast
2 bay leaves
2 c chicken broth

Just mix all the spices together and rub them all over the roast. It’s gonna get messy. Just go with it. When your meat is all dressed up, place the bay leaves in the bottom of a slow cooker, plop the pork on top of them, gently pour the broth around the roast, and cook it all on low for 10 hours. Flip the meat halfway through, but otherwise, just leave it alone. Take the meat out of the liquid and use 2 forks to shred it up. It’ll be so tender it will practically collapse when you touch it, so this doesn’t take long. Now, here’s the best part.

Take a warm tortilla (I prefer corn for this), fill it with some shredded pork, top the pork with fresh avocado slices, a little cheese, some fresh cilantro if you’re feeling sassy, and the secret ingredient: PICKLED ONIONS.

The pickled onions make this taco a miracle. Just make sure you put them together a couple of days in advance to give them time to get just as tangy, spicy, crunchy, and wonderful as they need to be. Here’s what you’ll need, mostly following the lead of Evil Shenanigans:

At LEAST 48 hours
1 medium-sized clean, tightly-closing jar
1 c white vinegar
1/4 c sugar
1/2 t salt
A generous pinch of crushed red pepper flakes for heat (you could also use a hot pepper)
1/2 t cumin
2 whole cloves
1/2 t allspice
1/2 t mustard seeds
1 medium to large red onion, halved and sliced into thin half-moons

Just put everything (except the onion and the jar, natch) into a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. Add the sliced onion and let it boil for another minute or so, then take the pan off the heat and let it cool before transferring everything to the jar. Close tightly and store in the fridge for at least a couple of days before enjoying.

Y’all. These things are magic. They take the tacos to a whole new level, but they’re also great on salads, brats (yep, I’m in Wisconsin), and, as I discovered at lunch today, quesadillas made with leftover filet mignon, cheddar, mozzarella, and diced green pepper.

Now, go forth and gorge, my friends.

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About mbdevilbiss

Until 2009, I never really thought much about Wisconsin. When I did, it was usually in the context of silent pep talks I'd give myself as I walked from the Metro station to my downtown D.C. office on blustery January mornings. "This isn't so bad," I'd tell myself. "Just imagine if you were in...Wisconsin!" *shiver* It wouldn't make me any warmer, but I could finish the 12-minute walk secure in the knowledge that I lived so, so far away from Canada. And then, one Saturday in early June, I went to a cookout and met a boy. He was wonderful and he was also moving to Madison, WI, to begin a PhD program in August. After a year of emails, phone calls, and biweekly visits, we shoved the last of my belongings into a jam-packed moving truck and headed west. As of October 9, 2010, I was an Accidental Wisconsonite. I'm no Sconnie, and I'll never be able to claim that prestigious status, but I'm loving life here so far. My blog is a place for writing about this life, and I hope you enjoy my Midwestern adventure as much as I have been.
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2 Responses to Eat This. Now.

  1. Father of Neko says:

    Mary Beth, I’m half Mexican, and my grandmother does not appreciate your cultural stereotypes. She does not run from the druglords. She beats them with the Mexican equivalent of those strange, brandless shoes that all old ladies seem to wear. Again, I am half Mexican, so I know what the Mexican equivalent is – I’m just not telling.

  2. Brigette says:

    Yes! You may be aware that Australia is SEVERLY lacking in all things Mexican. “Mexican hammocks” cost over $100 here. And “Zambreros” (the Chipotle rip-off) serves chicken cooked in coconut-cream and ginger with cheddar cheese, calling it Mexican. It’s revolting. And people are falling for it!

    Anyways, I am overly excited about this post for two reasons:
    1 – I need more Mexican. And I’m sure your Wisconsin excuse for Mexican is much closer than the Australian bastardisation of it. I know, my spelling… I can’t keep switching back and forth so I must go with the ‘s’.
    2 – Geoff and I got a slow cooker for Christmas! And I didn’t know what to do with it!

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