pork carnitas tacos

Sundays at our house are often ‘clean out the fridge’ days.  I hate to waste things, especially food.  Usually weekly menus planned in advance help ensure that nothing gets unused because ingredients are components of several meals.  But the weekends are a good time to open the fridge, take stock and figure out what needs to be used right away.  Usually these items are vegetables and herbs.  Since we’d had a couple of Mexican dishes this week, I had corn tortillas, cotija cheese, half a jalapeño, half a red onion and a lot of cilantro looking at me saying ‘use me, use me!’  So decided to make pork carnitas tacos.  It was so incredibly easy and so, so yummy. Bought a pork butt roast, cut it into chunks, threw it with the other ingredients into a slow cooker this morning then headed out for Mother’s Day festivities.  As soon as I opened the door this afternoon the wonderful smell of slow braised pork welcomed me. A little tangy slaw with a hint of heat to top the tacos and a margarita…the end to a great day.  And all those lingering ingredients got used.  But be warned…this recipe makes a lot of pork {but really…can one have too much pork?  I think not!}.  The braising liquid is subtle enough that I intend to use the remaining meat later in the week to make bbq pulled pork sandwiches.  Love that another dinner is already 80%

Pork Carnitas Tacos
makes 12-14 taco
1 – 4 lb. boneless pork butt, cut into 4″ chunks
salt and pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 medium yellow onion, peeled + quartered
2 dried bay leaves
1 tsp. dried oregano
juice of 1 lime
1 large orange, halved + juiced
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups cotija cheese, grated
Salt and pepper the pork.  Add it and all the ingredients to a slow cooker.  Set on high and cook for 6 hours. Remove meat after cooking and shred.  Discard onion, bay leaves and orange.  Transfer braising liquid to a pot with shredded meat and reduce until liquid is reduced to about 1 cup.  Heat tortillas between two paper towels in the microwave for 1 minute.  Using a slotted spoon, add meat to the tortillas and top with the following slaw and cotija cheese. 
Red Cabbage + Jicama Slaw
4 tbsp. rice vinegar
1 ½ tbsp. rice wine
2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 tbsp. canola oil
1 tbsp. sugar
4 cups shredded red cabbage
2 cups shredded jicama
½ small red onion, finely sliced
1 tsp. jalapeño, finely minced
½ cup cilantro
salt + pepper
Whisk first five ingredients in a bowl.  Add cabbage, jicama, onion, jalapeño and cilantro.  Toss gently with a spatula.  Salt and pepper to taste. 
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