Can’t Get Enough Carnitas

I love food. Pretty much all of it. Then there is this strange conflict between my love of leftovers and my easily bored taste buds, it usually works out that by the time the leftovers are gone I’m tired of eating that dish anyway and won’t make it again for several weeks. This dish is the first time I have repeatedly wanted to eat anything this consistently since high school when I insisted on having a Publix sugar-free, fat-free key-lime yogurt for lunch every. single. day. For two years. (I still can’t eat those) This recipe however has been made and made again almost weekly for the past two months or more and it’s about time I debuted it here! I found this on a website “” which has been an excellent resource with our new attempts at going paleo.  I can’t pin-point exactly what it is I love about this. Maybe it is the salty-sweet-cold-crunchy – smooth-creamy-spicy combo? Also, I usually end up changing some things (or a lot of things) from recipes I find but this one? Nope. It’s perfect just the way it is. There are two variations for the base, either use a baked sweet potato or make the tostones. The potato option is less work and easier to make extra because the tostones are really only good fresh but they are EXCELLENT!  The main reason I’m putting it here is because I don’t like having to have multiple web pages open while I’m making a meal. There are several parts, don’t get daunted, but it comes together SO WELL and oh my, the leftovers go all week. Let’s get to it!

Slow Cooked Carnitas 

  • 4 lbs pork shoulder cut into 2″ cubes
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons melted lard (or coconut oil)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons crushed garlic
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 bay leaves

1. In a large bowl, mix the pieces of pork with 2 tablespoons of the melted lard or coconut oil, salt, garlic, and oregano until all of the pieces are coated.

2. Place the pork in a slow cooker, add the water and bay leaves, cover and cook on low for 6- 8 hours or until the pork is fork tender. Pull the meat apart and set aside.

Pico de gallo (I highly suggest doubling this! Also, the smaller the dice the better)

  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 small red or white onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup finely diced fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 jalapeño or serrano chile, seeds removed and minced
  • 1 tsp sea salt or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper or to taste
  • 1 garlic cloves, minced
  • Juice from 1 lime

1. Mix all of the above ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl and place in the refrigerator to keep fresh.

Spicy Aioli*

(everything above the line is how to make a basic paleo mayo, everything after makes it the spicy aioli)

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups light tasting olive oil or walnut oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/3 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ______________________
  • 1 garlic clove
  • squeeze lemon juice
  • 1 T tabasco sauce (or other favorite hot chili sauce)

In a blender, add the eggs, vinegar, and mustard and blend together well – leave the blender running and slowly slowly slowly drop by drop or very slow drizzle add the oil.  BE PATIENT!!  Do not dump all the oil in quickly and give up!!  When the mixture begins to emulsify or thicken, only then can you be a bit faster about pouring in the olive oil but still take your time.  Turn the blender off once all the olive oil is in and the mayonnaise is thickened to your desired consistency.  Add the salt and cayenne pepper and mix well or blend again for another few seconds.

*in my opinion, this is the hardest part. I made many mayo’s that fell apart while standing, liquified when heated, or just plain tasted bad. After much trial and error I found that using an immersion blender and going really slow with adding the oil worked best. It takes about 10 minutes of slowly adding the oil and continually running the blender until it all becomes thick enough and looking like mayo. Be patient! You can substitute already made mayo but the end result here is a creamier one without preservatives.

Tostones (or bake a handful of sweet potatoes)

  • 2-3 GREEN plantains, peeled and cut into 2 inch long round pieces
  • 1 cup coconut oil for frying or other cooking oil of your choice such as lard or tallow

1. In a deep frying pan, melt the cooking oil over medium high heat.

2. Once the oil is hot, add the plantain slices into the hot oil standing on one end.

3. Fry until the one side is golden brown, flip and fry the other side until golden brown.

4. Carefully remove from the oil and one at a time, place on a cutting board and using the bottom of a dinner plate or bowl, flatten the fried plantain.

5. Add the flattened plantains back into the hot oil for about 30 seconds to 1 minute per side, watch carefully and do not burn!

6. Remove the tostones from the oil and they are ready to serve!

Okay so you have all the parts ready, now time to assemble. These are basically loaded baked potatoes at the end of the day, just excellent amazing ones! Put your hot potato or tostones on the plate and top with warm pork. Cover with the chilled pico and then top with mayo and/or some slices of fresh avocado. I know, it is a lot to do all at once but the leftovers last us all week (except I usually have to make more pico). The method that works the best for our house is the night I make this I also make the tostones and we have hot, fresh tostones with the rest of it. Meanwhile, I’m baking some potatoes to go to with the leftovers. For the two of us, usually 8 medium potatoes are enough.

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