Sunday, March 2, 2014

Pork Carnitas on Homemade Flour Tortillas (4 recipes)

Sue here today. I wanted to share this amazing pork carnita recipe with you. Okay, technically it is 4 separate recipes that combine into one mind blowing dinner.
*Warning* - this is going to seem really complicated because there are 4 different things you have to make in order for this to come together.
It's not complicated. 
It's true, it may take you a bit longer than normal to prepare for dinner BUT... it is completely worth it.
I had our nephew, Jordan, over. He had tried Jo's Fish Taco's so I wanted him to try these. because they are tastier... 
Jo and I have a competition to see which one of us can make Jordan say who is the better cook. So far he has been diplomatic - only saying "they are both delicious" - but I know that he really thinks I'm the better cook. So...I'm claiming victory.

Recipe 1: Pickled Onions

2 cups onions, sliced
1 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp sea salt

Place sliced onions in a bowl, set aside.
In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar, and salt. Heat, stirring often, until sugar is dissolved. Pour over onions in bowl.
Set aside while the rest of the meal is prepared. (**NOTE** These need to sit at least 30 minutes. They will last, covered, in the fridge for up to a week.)

Recipe 2: Refried Beans

1 cup dry pinto beans
4 cups water
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp sea salt

1 Tbsp oil
1/2 cup onions, diced

Rinse and clean beans.
In a medium pot place beans, water, onion, and garlic.
Bring to a boil. reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Add more water as needed to keep beans just covered. 
Add salt and simmer another 1 1/2 hours, or until beans are cooked. 
In a frying pan, fry the 1/2 cup diced onions in the oil until soft but not browned. Add drained beans to the frying pan with a little of the liquid from the pot. Mash and stir beans over medium heat until thickened and not runny. (If you want beans completely smooth then you can puree them in a blender before frying them but I don't find this necessary.) 
You can cover and keep warm or simply reheat in microwave when ready to serve. 

Recipe 3: Pork Carnita

4 lb boneless pork butt, cut into 2 inch cubes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 onion, peeled and halved
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 cups water
1 large orange, juiced (keep peels)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Lower oven rack to lower-middle position. 
Combine all ingredients in a large dutch oven, including orange peels. 

Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Once it is simmering, cover the pot and transfer it to the oven.
Cook until the meat falls apart when poked with a fork - about 2 hours or so.
Remove the pot from the oven and turn on the broiler. Use a slotted spoon to remove the meat from the pot and into a bowl.

Remove and discard everything except the liquid from the pot.
Place pot over high heat on the stove and bring the liquid to a boil. Cook and stir until thick and syrupy - about 20 minutes. You should have approx 1 cup of liquid when it is finished. 

When the liquid is reduced - use 2 forks to pull each cube of pork into 3 equal pieces. Pour the syrupy liquid over the pork and stir to combine. 
Spread pork onto a foil lined cookie sheet.
Place cookie sheet back onto the lower-middle rack of the oven. Turn on the broiler.
Broil meat until it is well browned and edges are slightly crispy - about 8 - 10 minutes.  Serve hot.

Recipe 4: Flour Tortillas

3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
5 Tbsp shortening
3/4 cup + 3 Tbsp warm water

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Using a pastry cutter or 2 knives, cut in the shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Add in the 3/4 warm water and knead until dough is smooth. (**Add in the additional water, 1 Tbsp at a time, if needed to form a smooth dough**)
Cut dough into 12 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. (This rest time is necessary for the dough to relax enough to roll out as thinly as possible.)
Heat a large frying pan (**cast iron works best**) over medium heat. Roll each dough ball into as thin a tortilla as possible - they puff up while cooking. Aim for a 7 - 8 inch circle.
Keep covered with a tea towel while frying so they don't dry out.
Cook in a hot pan for 20 - 30 seconds. If your pan is the proper temperature the tortilla will start to bubble and brown. (see photo below - sorry for the poor quality!)

Flip and cook the other side.

Remove from pan and place on plate. Cover with a tea towel to keep warm while cooking the remaining tortillas. If necessary you can pop them in the microwave for 20 seconds to reheat them if they have gotten cold.

Prepare your pork carnita tortilla - Place a tortilla on your plate. 
Spread on a spoonful of the refried beans. 
Top with a scoop of the pork carnita.
Then top with some of the pickled onions. 
If desired, then top with some homemade Pico De Gallo, cilantro, and lime juice. Or some salsa and guacamole. Or eat as is! Whichever you prefer.  
Serve with a wedge of lime so your guests can add as much as they like.
**Here is what I did to prepare everything to be ready at the same time**:
In the morning I prepared the pickled onions and set them in the fridge.
I also prepared the refried beans and then covered and placed them in the fridge when they had cooled.
3 hours before dinner time - I prepared the pork carnita. 
Dinner time -  I removed the pickled onions from the fridge and placed them on the serving counter. 
I kept the pork warm in the oven while I prepared the tortillas. 
When the tortillas were all done, I covered them with a tea towel and kept them warm while I preheated the refried beans. 
I then placed the pork, tortillas, and beans on the serving counter and everything was warm and good to go!
See.... a bit more fuss than normal perhaps... but.... so so so tasty. 
If you wanted to cheat you could simply buy refried beans and tortillas from the store. We won't judge. We get it. Sometimes it's just easier. 
This is the first time I've actually made my own refried beans and tortillas. They definitely taste different than store bought. I would make them again in a heartbeat if I have company coming for dinner. Maybe not as worth the effort if it is just for the hubby and Kenz....*sigh*.... guests just appreciate the effort more.
Especially Jordo. 
He knows I'm the better cook. 
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  1. Thank you for linking up at Tasty Tuesdays! Your post has been pinned to my Recipes from Tasty Tuesday board. I can't wait to see what you link up next week!
    Have a terrific weekend!