"Honey, I can see that it's meat, but I want to know what kind of meat?" Turns out Hubby wasn't just being cute calling the meat the Spanish word for "little meats", Carnitas was the actual name of the fried pork meat.
Traditionally Carnitas are fried in manteca (lard) in a large copper cazo (pot) over a wood burning fire. The meat is fried to a golden crisp on the outside, but inside it's tender and juicy. The taste is out-of-the-this-world delicious. Carnitas are so good that I've come up with an easier (and healthier) version so we can enjoy them at home.
I use vegetable or canola oil to "fry" my carnitas, but if you're looking for that authentic Mexican Carnitas flavor, you can use lard. The choice is entirely up to you. These finger-lickin' good Carnitas are delicious on their own, or you can use them as a filling for tacos, tostadas, burritos, and/or enchiladas.
- 2 pounds lomo de cerdo (pork shoulder or butt roast), cut in large pieces
- 1/2 medium onion
- 1 clove garlic
- Cilantro (optional)
- 2 tablespoons lard, shortening or vegetable oil
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 orange, cut in half
- 1 cup pork or chicken broth
Place the pork, onion, garlic and cilantro in a medium stockpot. Fill the stockpot with enough water to cover the pork (about 6 cups); season with salt and pepper. Cover the stockpot and bring the meat to a boil over high heat. Reduce to heat to medium-low and let simmer for about 90 minutes or until the meat is tender. Remove from heat.
In a large skillet heat the 2 tablespoons of lard or vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Remove the cooked pork with a slotted spoon and fry in the oil, stirring occasionally and breaking up the meat slightly with the back of a wooden spoon, until light golden brown. Squeeze the juice of the orange over the carnitas; season with ground cumin, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat to low and pour in 1 cup of the broth the meat was cooked in. Let simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
*Timesaving tip: Use leftover pork roast instead of having to wait 2 hours for the meat to cook!