Last night we had two soon-to-be Joburgers over for dinner- we all have a mutual friend in Berlin, and they were in town from New Delhi to scope out the place and look for a house. Since they are American expats like us I thought I would make them pork carnitas- there is nothing I miss as much (food wise) as yummy Mexican food. It was lovely to meet them and P and I are looking forward to having yet another fun couple in our fair city. Plus, we chatted about the woes of being the trailing spouse and they were so sweet and supportive about my blog and career changing, that I don’t even mind telling people about it now. I write a blog. There. That wasn’t so hard, was it?
For this lovely dish I was channeling the pork carnitas I tasted at El Burro in Cape Town, truly the best tacos I have ever tasted. Next time I would add more adobo, which I’ve reflected in the recipe below. There are many parts to this recipe, but like veggie bimimap it isn’t difficult, just laborious.
The taco fixins’ recipes are what I would describe as common knowledge (guacamole, pic de gallo, etc) so I’ll credit ‘common knowledge’ as my starting point for those. My pork carnitas I used these as a starting point, but changed it quite a bit.
Yield: 6 people
7 lbs or 3 kilos pork butt or shoulder
2 quarts chicken broth
2 medium onions, quartered
1 7.5 oz (212gm) can of chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
1 tblspn ground cumin
2 tspn oregano
1 tblspn chopped cilantro
3 african bird’s eye chilies, or 3 similarly spicy chilies
2 bay leaves
Cut pork into sizable chunks. Combine pork, 5 of the chilies from the can, 2 tblspn of sauce from the can, 2 bird’s eye chilies, and all of the remaining ingredients in large pot, (set aside remaining chilies/sauce). Add water if needed to submerge the pork. Bring to boil. After it has reached a rolling boil, reduce heat to simmer and let cook for 2-3 hours, until meat falls apart when you poke at it with a fork. Put remaining adobo chilies and sauce and bird’s eye chili in food processor and turn it into a paste. Pre heat oven to 400 degree F or 200 C broil. When pork is ready, take out the pork with a slotted spoon, put it in an oven safe dish and take it apart with a fork. Mix in your chili paste until the pork is covered. Put the pork into the bottom shelf of the oven, broiling for 20 minutes, turning the pork to cook all sides. When it is finished, add back some liquid from the pot that it was boiling in, about 2 or 3 ladle-fulls, depending on your preference.
Pico de Gallo
2 cups of chopped tomatoes. (psst: northern hemisphere dwellers…use 2 cans of chopped tomatoes, put it in a mesh strainer and shake out the liquid)
3 tblspn minced red onion
1 green chili
1 tspn red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
salt to taste
1/2 cup chopped cilantro or parsley if you prefer
Mix together all of the ingredients. Voila!
3 cups finely shredded (or ribboned) cabbage
Juice of one lime (or a lemon if you can’t find a lime, obviously, which might be a problem for Saffies)
3 tsp honey
3 tsp minced jalapeno peppers
3 tbsp minced red onion
2 tblsp chopped cilantro
Salt to taste
Same as before! Mix together all of the ingredients.
Mexican Crema (sort of)
(this is my special, healthy version)
2 cups plain yoghurt (greek is fine, I went with a lighter version)
Zest of one lemon
Juice of one lemon
Mix together all of the ingredients. This is healthier a replacement for sour cream or creme fraiche.
2 ripe avocados, peeled, deseeded
1/2 red onion, minced
1 green chili, minced
2 small tomatoes
1 garlic clove, minced
Juice of half a lemon
Salt to taste
Mash the avocados, and mix in the rest of the ingredients.
One last thing, you’ll need is tortillas. If you have access to amazing fresh tortillas, then good for your taste buds! If not, make do with the packaged kind and stick them in the oven for a few minutes before eating. I’d say 2-3 small tortillas a person, or 1-2 giant tortillas per person. Let people build their own carnitas and enjoy…Bon appetit!