From the creative kitchen of Julia Deane and Culinary Works, this recipe for melt in your mouth pork carnitas is as versatile as it is delicious. Wonderful on its own or as the perfect addition to a tortilla, folded into a burrito or with any dish where this south of the border classic would be welcome.
4 pounds fatty pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch pieces
2-3 cups cold water
1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
1-2 oranges, preferably seedless, cut into wedges
1 lime, cut into large wedges
1/4 cup heavy cream
4-5 garlic cloves, peeled
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons dried oregano, preferably Mexican, crumbled
3 to 4 teaspoons kosher salt
Place all of the ingredients in a wide 6 to 7 quart heavy pot (don’t worry if everything isn’t completely submerged). Bring to boil, skimming any scum that collects on the surface as necessary. Reduce heat to medium-lowish and simmer vigorously, stirring very occasionally until pork is fork-tender and the liquid has completely evaporated (this can take 1 1/2 – 2 hours or more). Discard the orange and lime pieces and bay leaves. Shred some of the pork with your hands and transfer to a large, shallow baking sheet. Leave a shallow pond of the liquid in the pot. Preheat the oven to 450°F Slide the pork into the oven, uncovered, and let it fry in its own fat until it’s browned. Before serving, pour the hot flavorful liquid from the pot over the pork and serve it straight from the pan, or place it in a bowl.
Slow Cooker Variation
This is the easiest recipe ever. Toss everything in the slow cooker, reduce the amount of water by at least 1 cup and cover. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, on high for 6 to 8 hours or until the pork is tender and falls apart. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the chunks of pork to a large skillet but leave the cooking liquid in the cooker. If desired, shred the pork using 2 forks (or your fingertips). Heat the pork in the oven or in a frying pan, until crispy. If desired, drizzle a little of the strained cooking liquid over the pork before serving to moisten and flavor it. Tip: If the cooking liquid is quite watery, pour it into a saucepan and simmer until it reduces to the desired consistency.