4 pounds boneless pork shoulder or loin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 large onion
½ cup fresh cilantro
¼ cup orange juice
3 garlic cloves
1 medium onion
¾ cup shortening or lard
8 9″ or 20 5″ flour tortillas
Makes 8 or 16 carnitas depending on size of tortillas. Takes 3 hours 30 minutes.
Chop pork into 1″ cubes using cleaver. Add pork, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and lime juice to large mixing bowl. Turn pork cubes until they are well coated. Cover and let marinate for 30 minutes.
While pork marinates, dice small onion and fresh cilantro. Add diced onion, cilantro and orange juice to small mixing bowl. This is your salsa.
Mince garlic cloves. Cut medium onion into slices ¼” thick. Separate orange into sections. Add shortening to Dutch oven. Melt shortening using medium-high heat. Add marinated pork, garlic, sliced onion, and orange sections. Cook on medium-high heat for 15 minutes or until pork cubes brown on all sides. Stir frequently. Cover Dutch oven and reduce heat to low and simmer for 1½ hours or until pork cubes are tender to the fork. Stir every 5 minutes.
Uncover Dutch oven. Continue to simmer pork/veggies for another 30 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated or been absorbed. Microwave all tortillas for 30 seconds. Top each tortilla with an equal amount of pork/veggies and salsa.
1) It seems hard to believe, but culinary historians assure us that cars were once made with carnitas. It’s true, carnitas is an anagram for satin car.
2) It all goes back to 1910 and Mexico. The tightly knit Mexican aristocracy monopolized the nation’s political power, wealth, and satin. Black satin dresses were all the rage among high society. No wealthy woman would think of appearing in public without one. That was fine. That left just satin for peasant women to wear on weddings, bar mitzvahs, and the such.
3) Then in early 1910, Doña Josefa Enero regarded her Allis Chalmers with disdain. Although her motorman kept the car purring and shiny, something was missing. Something that made her embarrassed to be riding in it in public.
4) “Cinco albondigas!” she shouted. The car was made of metal! A true lady with Spanish blood could not been seen wearing a metallic vehicle. Satin! Satin! She needed to be clothed in a satin car.
5) So, the Eneros ordered a satin car for everyone in their family. Their neighbors, the Tortas, the Flans, and the Ceviches did as well.
6) Naturally, with the whole Mexican elite making their cars out of satin, there was no material left for the peasantry.
7) No satin for the peasantry. No weddings. No bar mitzvahs. No docile peasantry.
8) One evening in early 1910, an angry Nita Menudo dipped six habañero peppers in Doña Febrero’s tea before serving. Her mistress’ mouth erupted in fire. She slapped Nita. Nita ran crying all the way home.
9) Her irate husband, Roberto, took to the hills. Realizing that was useless, he came back.
10) “I will avenge you!” he roared. He clutched a knife and headed to the Febrero estate. The Revolution of 1910 – 1930 had begun.
11) It was a long walk–Nita was always driven–and by the time he got there, he was too tired to attack anyone. He limped home in shame. “We need transportation,” said Roberto’s astute neighbor, Ernesto Flautas, “if we wish to launch raids against our greedy pig masters.”
12) “O drato,” said Roberto, “we have no money to buy metal to make a car. Ai, yi, yi.”
13) “Que frijoles you are,” said Nita. “We have vast herds of wild pigs destroying our crops. Slaughter the pigs and let the meat bake in the hot sun until it becomes tough as metal. Then you make your cars. Then you can attack the rich. Then we can be free.”
14) So, the Mexican peasants made car out of pork. The people called the car “Nitas” after the woman who hatched the idea. Hence, “carnitas.”
15) The Revolution would rage for twenty years. This dish was created to honor the car that won it.
– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef
My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.