We were so excited last month when we opened our CSA cooler to find a pork butt. Finally! We've been waiting for this moment since the start of the year and knew exactly what we wanted to make with it: carnitas!
I wasn't sure how I wanted to make it at first. I wish we had a pressure cooker so I could try the method described on one of the blogs I love, chicken tender, but alas, we don't have one. Because of the heat wave, I knew I also didn't want to spend the labored, heat-intensive work in front of the oven required by the Dutch oven or casserole dish methods. So that left the slow cooker.
I am so glad I opted to slow-cook it. The house smelled wonderful, and the whole dish only required a few minutes of my time on the front and back end. I spent the day away from the kitchen so never experienced the heat of the crockpot.
This dish received the highest marks of praise that Nate bestows on any meal in our home: "I would totally pay for this in a restaurant!" I'm convinced the key to making mine good wasn't really what flavors went into the crockpot but the frying technique at the end.
4 lb. pork butt/shoulder
1 tsp. each of ground cumin, garlic powder, dried oregano, and salt
1/2 tsp. coriander
2 bay leaves
1 medium onion, quartered
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 dried chile, either hatch, arbol, or guajillo
1 1/2 c. chicken broth
Combine spices and rub pork on both sides. Add remaining ingredients to crockpot, making sure to pour broth around pork instead of on it. Cook on high for 1 hour and then low for 7 hours, or else cook on low for 10 hours. Pull pork apart into chunks; don't shred it, or it might dry out.
Heat 3 tsp. of either lard or rendered bacon fat in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Brown pork on one side without stirring for about 5 minutes. Remove to a plate (and if making greens recipe below, keep skillet over medium heat).
1 bunch kale
1 bunch radish greens
1 small onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
Remove kale leaves from stems and chop into 2-inch pieces. Wash and leave in colander. Saute garlic and onion for 2-3 minutes in bacon fat/lard remaining from carnitas skillet. Add kale with water from washing, cover skillet, and cook for about 7 minutes. Meanwhile, remove radish tops, cut in half, and soak in water to remove sandy grit. Drain and add to skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Serve with carnitas and hot sauce as a burrito.
Editor's note: This post is part of Monday Mania, Homesteader Blog Carnival, The Homestead Barn Hop, Real Food Wednesday, It's a Keeper Thursday, Freaky Friday, and Fight Back Friday.