Instead of going out to dinner, buy good food. Cooking at home shows such affection. In a bad economy, it’s more important to make yourself feel good. -Ina Garten
Sometimes I will be just standing in the meat isle, looking for inspiration of what to make for dinner, my eyes will lock onto something and it will hit me like a ton of bricks. Tonight, that was pork shoulder. Plus it was on sale, so: Bonus! I decided to make carnitas and literally could not get home fast enough to get started.
I’ve made carnitas many times and with several variations. For this recipe, I included some tomatillos to the pot as a little test and it added some amazing flavors so I will definitely make it like this again.
Let’s get to it!
For the carnitas:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
3-4 lbs pork shoulder/pork butt
1/4 onion, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
1 roma tomato, diced
3 garlic cloves, whole
1/2 lime, halved
3 whole tomatillos
1 cup chicken stock
1 tsp cayenne
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp pink salt
1 tsp black pepper
For the bowl:
*these are all optional ingredients--top it the way you like!
1 small head cabbage, shredded
10 oz kale, torn
8oz colby jack cheese, grated
To begin, cut the pork shoulder into large chunks. Remove as much of the meat from the bone as you can but do not discard the bone, it will be going in the pot too! Put the pork in a large bowl.
Make the spice rub and add to the pork, stir, covering all pieces well with the spices.
Turn your Instant Pot to saute “more”. Add olive oil and butter to pot. Once the butter melts, begin searing the chunks of pork shoulder for 2 minutes and then flip and sear the other side for another 2 minutes. Do not overcrowd the pot or the meat will begin to steam. You will probably need to do two or three batches.
Remove the pork from the pot and set aside. Add a splash of the chicken stock and use a flat wooden spatula to remove the yummy brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the onions and jalapeno to the pot and saute for a few minutes, stirring constantly until the veggies begin to soften. Add the tomatoes, cook for another minute and then add the garlic and cook again for another few minutes, stirring often.
Add the pork back into the pot, including the resting juices and the bone. Throw in the tomatillos, limes and rest of the chicken stock.
Turn off Instant Pot saute function. Place lid and make sure the venting knob is set to sealing position.
Set Instant Pot to pressure cooker on high for 45 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally or use the quick release after 15 minutes. Be careful of the steam if using the quick release.
Once the pressure is completely released, remove the top. Take out the pork and begin to shred.
If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can make this in a slow cooker. Just follow the same directions, searing the meat and cooking the veggies in a heavy bottomed pan and then transfer everything to a slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours.
I forgot to take a pic of this next part. I got very distracted because I tried a bite of the carnitas and lost my mind from the total yumminess. But what you need to do is take out the limes from the pot and then grab an immersion blender and blend together the liquids and tomatillos, creating a wonderful sauce.
Now, you might not be able to wait much longer to eat this, which I totally understand. However, if you can wait a day and let the pork sit overnight in it’s sauce, the flavors will develop beautifully. Just stick the carnitas and sauce in a large container and refrigerate. This is what it looks like the next day. Of course, upon taking the carnitas out of the fridge, I had to take another taste, just to be sure it was a amazing as I remembered it to be.
It was even better.
Set your oven to broil and put the shredded meat on a lined sheet pan.
Broil until the top gets nice and crispy, 5-8 minutes.
While the carnitas are broiling, get the ingredients for the bowl together. You can saute up some riced cauliflower, which was my original plan, but then I decided to nix that idea and instead saute some kale and cabbage. Saute the veggies in avocado oil or bacon fat until they soften. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add 1/4 cup chopped onions, stir and continue to cook for another few minutes. Add in some minced garlic and once again, stir and cook for just another minute or so.
And then just layer up your bowl with the veggies, carnitas and your favorite toppings. Mine had guac, sour cream, cilantro, colby jack cheese and a little salsa. It was absolutely divine. And this recipe makes 4 servings so that means I get to have another helping for lunch tomorrow! Yay!!