Thursday, February 28, 2008

I'm a Cheat

Many of you are aware of my dismay at leaving behind truly abundant and authentic Mexican food in California. We have found one restaurant, Loco Coco's in Kittery, which serves very good Mexican food, but their menu lacks my weekly favorites from Los Arroyos in Santa Barbara: homemade tamales and carnitas. Carnitas is the slow-cooked, super tender pork, which is perfect on a homemade corn tortilla with just salt and a squirt of lime. I got a craving for it a while back and was aghast to discover that in order for me to make my own authentic carnitas, I'd have to cook the pork in an alarming amount of lard.

Bravely pressing on, I found a recipe for cheating white people, and it's surprisingly good. It's not completely authentic and it doesn't have the wonderful charred edges like the real carnitas, but we enjoyed it a great deal.

Carnitas in a Crockpot for Fraudulent White People

3 pound pork roast (Pork butt is recommended, but I used another bone-in cut which was fine.)
4 garlic cloves
1 jalapeno, whole
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
salt, pepper, cumin, and paprika
1 bottle light beer (I used Sam Adams light.)

Cut 4 slits in the pork and insert garlic cloves. Add the pork, jalapeno, and cilantro to the crockpot. Season with salt, pepper, cumin, and paprika (you can add a bit of chili powder if you want it to be spicier, but the jalapeno gives it a mild spiciness). Pour beer over everything. Cook for 4 hours on high, then 2 hours on low.

Remove pork from crockpot and shred or cut into chunks, trimming off fat. Ladle liquid from the crockpot over pork to keep it moist.

This made so much meat I served it two ways: For tacos, we had the carnitas on soft corn tortillas with a generous squeeze of lime and homemade salsa fresca. For burritos, we filled large flour tortillas with spanish rice, black beans, pork, salsa verde, and shredded monterey jack (or queso fresco if you can get it). Top burritos with sour cream and guacamole, if desired. Have a beer or margarita to go with it, or a soda, if you are a disgruntled pregnant teetotaler like me.


Ickenham said...

Also, make sure your wife doesn't put huge chunks of tomato in the Spanish rice.

Watoosa said...

Also, if you have a husband who is an ungrateful whiner, give him gruel and water instead.

Kevin Timpe said...

how I miss the two of you (and not being the only one to not like tomatoes!)

Kevin Timpe said...

Allison writing under Kevin's google account:

The recipe title alone makes me want to try it. I do agree that California is one of the best places in the U.S.for authentic Mexican food.

So you are craving Mexican. Are you having a lot of cravings?

Watoosa said...

I'm not having any cravings particular to pregnancy. When I wasn't pregnant I would get cravings at random all the time, so I'm pretty much the same.
My tummy is itching, though, and poking out!