Birthday Dinners

I recently invited a friend to dinner for his birthday (well more for dinner, considering he brought the dessert).

I decided on carnitas–Patrick, my friend, likes Mexican food, I like Mexican food, and because I’ve made this recipe a number of times, I figured it was a sure bet.

I started with a recipe from The Art of Mexican Cooking by Diana Kennedy, and after reading recipe reviews, have made a few adaptations.  The result is quite tasty.

I start with a 3 pound lump of pork butt.

Trim the fat and cut in to similar sized cubes. Add meat to dutch oven or cast iron pot, with a tablespoon of oil. Brown meat.

Once meat is brown, add enough water to cover meat (about 3 cups), along with the following:
– one orange, cut into 8 pieces
– one onion, sliced
– 4 sprigs fresh marjoram
– 4 sprigs fresh thyme
– 3 bay leaves
– 1 tsp salt
– 1 tsp pepper

Bring to boil, turn down heat and simmer for 2 hours.  At this point I let the pot cool and refrigerated overnight. 

After a night in the frig, i skimmed the fat off the top, removed sprigs of thyme and marjoram, oranges, and bay leaves. Heat pot and cook down liquid–about 20 minutes. 

Once liquid is cooked off, turn up heat, add a tablespoon of oil if necessary, shred pork and allow it to crisp up just a bit.

Serve on corn tortillas, with your favorite topping–i like salsa verde, corn salsa, or pico de gallo.


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