It's morning. I have chopped and assembled. And then dumped it into this cold, ceramic cylinder. What now? The act of turning the button to LOW on my slow cooker just doesn't seem like I'm creating anything. I just don't know how to press GO and walk away from food, from a meal, from a challenge!
Until you come back later on and you realize you're an absolute genius in the kitchen.
Initially, I was really pleased with how gorgeous the pre-heated contents appeared. It gave me hope that the end result would be amazing. I was experimenting a little, although I knew that I was probably right on the mark with flavors: Orange, onion, jalapeno, garlic (DUH!), and definitely some saffron to intensify it. Pork is like the A-Positive blood type of meats. It just goes with everything.
If there was any mystery to the outcome for me, it was determining if the Ginger Ale I added as my braising liquid would work. And glory be! It was the perfect binder. Peppery in accent. Sweet to marry the flavors and even out the hot and cool flavors of the jalapeno and the orange. IT JUST WORKED.
The broth was so forgiving. It cooked the meat to perfection but didn't turn into a cloudy glob. It will make a perfect gravy, or just a lovely liquid to suspend and preserve the shredded pork until we all noshed away at it. And shredding it, by the way, is masterfully completed with just two small forks and a cutting board. Just bring the large chunks out with your tongs and start the shredding.
Yes, tasting is allowed.
The only thing I removed from the mixture was the orange segments. But only after squeezing out the lovely pieces of pulp and juice to add to the whole floating menagerie of flavor perfection back into the broth. YUMMMM.
For this presentation I just served it over some cous cous with buttered carrots. Simple and pleasing. But you may want to serve it inside a tortilla with enchilada sauce and cheese, or atop black beans, or maybe atop a tortilla chip with cheese sauce and a bunch of your good friends.
There are so many choices with pork carnitas. SLOWLY we learn. QUICKLY we eat!!!
RECIPE: Orange Jalapeno Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
Serves 6 - 8 / Click here for printable version.
3 lb pork butt roast, trimmed of tough white areas and a lot of the heavy fat ends, and cut into small fits-sized portions. I ended up with about 2 ½ lbs to cook
5 cloves garlic, cut into in big chunks
½ large navel orange, cut into 5 wedges
2 huge jalapeno’s seeds removed and sliced
½ large yellow onion, sliced into strips
3 T olive oil
1 t black pepper
2 t+ kosher salt
Pinch of saffron
¼ C red wine vinegar
1 can Vernors Ginger Ale
Prep all the ingredients first by chopping the onion, garlic, jalapeno and orange and placing in a separate bowl. In a large slow cooker place the meat chunks in first. Then cover with the vegetables and the orange segments. Drizzle generously with the olive oil and salt and pepper and using your hands toss to coat thoroughly. Add the ginger ale, and stir to blend. Then add the saffron and a little more salt if you would like.
Cover and cook on low for 5 hours, and high for 1 ½ hours. Or about 7-8 on low. Check after 7. Remove the oranges, squeezing out the juice as you remove. Now remove the large chunks of meat and using two forks, shred the pork. Then put the pork back into the liquid. Store with all of the liquid to keep it moist. If desired, you can use the liquid to make a gravy for later.
TO SERVE: Spread over rice and ladle liquid on top and serve with your favorite vegetable. Or serve inside a tortilla with cheese, beans, some cilantro and a bit of sliced red onion, covering all with enchilada sauce.
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Meet the Cook...
My name is Camine Pappas and I love to create beautiful and delicious food that anyone can make. My signature style centers around a love for combining things in a way you might not expect as I work to find a hidden combination of colors, textures and flavors from the things that are in my pantry and/or easy to obtain.