Slow Cooker Tacos de Carnitas

Recipe and photos contributed to Hispanic Kitchen by Carolyn Swaney

Nothing beats coming home after a long day to dinner, already done, delicious smells throughout the house, and the anticipation of tasty, spicy, juicy meat rolled in a soft tortilla. My filling of choice for these out of this world plate of tacos? Carnitas! This delicious carnitas recipe could be braised on the stovetop in about 2 hours, but for those busy back-to-school days, or a day that you’d rather hang at the beach than in your kitchen, I took my favorite carnitas blend and tossed it all in the crock pot, just to see what happened.

The outcome was just as delicious and juicy as I could have hoped. The meat was a little more shreded than usual, but the flavors may have been slightly more intensified, thanks to the slow cooking, and cleanup was a snap. The most difficult part of the whole process was chopping all of the additions to go on top. It certainly was worth the time, though — slices of mango with cilantro brought out the sweetness of the pork, while the red onion brings out the spice in the chiles. The real marriage is the smokiness of the chipotle worked through the slow cooked, braised pork. It’s mouthwatering.

Shredded Pork

Serves 8

2 whole pasilla chiles, roasted
4 whole cloves of garlic
2 – 3 canned chipotles in adobo sauce
1/2 medium white onion, chopped
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons dried oregano
3 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 pounds boneless pork shoulder (untrimmed), cut into chunks
Freshly ground pepper
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
salt
olive oil
Corn tortillas, warmed, for serving

Toppings – Use any desired toppings, however, these are fantastic with this recipe

1 mango, chopped
1/2 red onion, sliced
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 avocado, sliced
1 tomatillo, diced
coarsely chopped cilantro
1 jalapeno, steamed, seeds removed and then chopped

Directions:

1. Heat a dry pan over high heat and add pasilla chiles and unpeeled garlic to blacken. Roast and turn until all sides show coloration. Remove from the pan and stem, seed, and peel both vegetables, then place in your food processor.

2. Add chipotles through oregano, and season with salt. Drizzle in some olive oil and pulse away!

3. Pour the mixture and the broth in the crock pot, stirring to combine. Season the pork with salt and pepper and add to the broth and chile mixture. Add the bay leaves and cinnamon, then cook on high for 5 hours.

4. When the pork is nearly complete, heat the tortillas and chop the toppings. Remove cinnamon and bay leaves. Shred the pork with two forks and serve with your desired variety of toppings.

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