Accidental Carnitas

There are those occasions when I am so focused on one thing that I lose sight of the larger picture.  The resulting tunnel vision allows lots of room for mistakes to be made.

A recent example…after being very pleased with the results of my prototype bresaola and, saltiness aside, not disappointed in the pork loin capicola, I went to the store to pickup the meat for the next round of salumi exercises.  Browsing the meat case at Risoldi’s Thriftway in Hamilton Township, I immediately found a selection of nice eye round roasts, any one of which would be fine for curing and drying.

I also found the pork roast I was looking for.

Or thought I did.

So intent on the size of the “Boston butt” that I wanted, I passed by the “half butts” and picked up what I thought was the former.  In reality, I had picked up a boneless pork shoulder…the butt portion removed.

Unfortunately, I didn’t realize this until I opened up the cryopac to start trimming the meat for the curing process.

Fortunately, I hadn’t yet determined what was for dinner.  While doing some basic trimming, I considered what I might do with the roast.

That’s when I got the idea for improvising on the Mexican dish, carnitas. I figured I already had on hand the key ingredients for a Mexican themed meal.

I finished trimming and cutting up the pork into more or less bite sized pieces.  I sprinkled on some Goya Adobo seasoning that was in the cupboard.

Next I picked out two large pieces of the pork trimmings, tossed them in our largest skillet and slowly, over medium low heat, rendered out the fat. Augmenting this with a couple of splashes of olive oil, I cranked up the heat and started browning off the pork chunks in batches.

In the meantime, I diced up an onion and tossed it into the crock-pot.  As each of the batches of pork finished browning, I transferred the meat pieces to the crock pot.  Once all the meat was in, I deglazed the skillet with some red wine and let it reduce for about five minutes.  I poured the wine into a measuring cup and topped it up to the two 2 cup mark with water.  This went into the crock pot. 

Then I stirred in a mix of spices: some more adobo, some chili powder I had made awhile back, some cumin and a touch of cayenne pepper.

The slow cooker did its thing the rest of the morning and all afternoon.  The pork got tender and the house smelled great!

For service, I cooked up some white rice seasoned with a packet of Goya Sazon con azafran and heated up a can of refried black beans we had on hand.

I took the meat out of the crock-pot using a slotted spoon and tossed it into the hot skillet to let part of it crisp up. 

A little rice on the plate, top with some of the pork and place the beans on the side.  Ole! An easy and unexpected Mexican dinner.


One Response to “Accidental Carnitas”

  1. Marge Miccio Says:

    Whew. On first glance I thought this post had to do with roadkill.

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