Mrs. Regueiro's Plate: Tacos de Carnitas con Salsa Verde

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tacos de Carnitas con Salsa Verde

Superbowl, food and friends equal an instant recipe for a good time at our house. I’m all about entertaining and prepping a tasty menu for my friends whenever we host a party. It’s the aftermath that leaves me a little bit exhausted and I highly recommend Superbowl being held on a Saturday instead of Sunday. (Please and thanks SB people!!) It’s the lingering food coma or something that makes the Monday after Superbowl…the worst and slowest day ever.
Previous SB menus have included slider-burger bar of all sorts, bacon-wrapped hot dogs, and steak tacos.  But they were all a little time-consuming at the same time because either Eric and I had to prepare the food during half-time or after the game, we would miss out on the funny commercials or the Superbowl half-time show. We decided that Carnitas would be the best and easiest route. We would prepare them in advance and have them ready when the game started and everyone could enjoy the food whenever they wanted. It worked out perfectly because everyone had brought a great assortment of appetizers to eat as well. Gotta try to eat all the yummy snacks galore!
Holy smokes batman, these tacos were falling apart tender and juicy. The intoxicating smell of roast pork lingered throughout the house while we were prepping our house for the big game. Anytime that you had walked into the kitchen you could smell the roasting pork in the oven, I might have just opened the oven a couple times to get a whiff of it and walk away. Eventually when the pork shoulder was finished cooking - the easy part of shredding and putting it under the broiler was quick. These street-style tacos went fast and everyone enjoyed every last bit of it.

Tacos de Carnitas con Salsa Verde
Adapted from Serious Eats
Printable Recipe
3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2 inch cubes
2 medium onions
½ cup cilantro, chopped
kosher salt
2 medium oranges, plus orange zest
6 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup fresh oregano, chopped
2 bay leaves, crumbled
1 cinnamon stick, broken into three or four pieces
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 medium tomatillos (about 1 ½ pounds), peeled and split in half
2 jalapeno peppers, split in half lengthwise, stem removed
3 limes, cut into wedges
1 cup queso seco, crumbled
24 corn tortillas (use the small 4-inch if possible)


Preheat oven to 275 degrees and make sure that oven rack is in the middle position.
In a small bowl, combine 1 diced onion with cilantro. Refrigerate until needed. (This will be used as garnishment). Cut the remaining onion into quarter and set aside.

In a large roasting dish, add the pork chunks and season heavily with salt. (Heaping 1 tablespoon or so). In a small bowl, combine the orange zest, minced garlic, crumbled bay leaves, and cinnamon stick - mix to combine. Add the orange mix and sliced oranges over the pork chunks along with the quartered onions.

Make sure everything is at an even layer. Drizzle with olive oil and cover dish tightly with aluminum foil and place in oven. Cook until pork is fork-tender, about three ½ hours.

Place a large fine-meshed strainer over a large bowl. Using tongs, remove the orange peel, onions, garlic, cinnamon stick, and bay leaves from pork and drain the remaining over the large bowl. Let drain for 10 minutes.
Transfer pork back to casserole. There should be ½ cup of liquid and ½ cup of fat, skim the fat off the surface and add it back to the pork. Shred pork into large chunks with two forks or fingers. Taste for seasonings, add salt if needed.

Prepare the salsa verde. In a medium saucepot on medium high heat, add the pork liquid, diced tomatillos, remaining 2 onion quarters, remaining 2 garlic cloves, and jalapenos. Add a cup of water or so until it is about 1-inch below the top of the vegetables. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer, and cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Using a hand-blender, blend the salsa until smooth. Taste for seasonings, add salt if needed. Allow to cool until ready to add to carnitas.

Preheat the broiler on high, and add the roasting dish of pork back in. Let it brown and crisp on the surface, about 6 minutes. Make sure to stir the pork around until everything gets crispy.

To serve: heat the tortillas. Add 2 or 3 heaping tablespoons carnitas in the middle. Garnish with chopped onions and cilantro mixture, a spoonful of salsa verde and some crumbled queso seco. Add a squeeze of lime if desired.


Yield: 24 to 30 tacos (about 3 tacos) per person
Nutritional Info: Calories: 394; Carbs: 7; Sugar 3; Fiber: 2
Review: Amazing street-style tacos and a new favorite recipe of ours to use if we’re entertaining a large group. The great thing about using pork shoulder is how inexpensive it is and how it can feed so many people. I know there were a couple of cancellations to our Superbowl party…this is what you missed out! The homemade salsa verde was not spicy at all and gave a great balance of flavors to it, too. We usually use queso fresco for tacos but queso seco is a bit drier and saltier and goes well with these style tacos. I can’t wait till we make these again. Congrats to the Green Bay Packers for winning Superbowl XLV. Woot! Woot!
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