It’s one of those days again… for a slow cooker meal! I’ve been craving southwest flavors lately, possibly due to a taco crawl that took place recently and couldn’t attend because of a schedule conflict. So naturally, tacos have been on my mind. Rather than doing the usual chicken or beef tacos I typically make to satisfy a craving, I opted to go the pork carnitas route. For these Chipotle Lime Carnitas, I let my slow cooker do all the work of gently cooking pork with the flavors of tangy fresh lime and smoky chipotle peppers. The result is a wonderful filling for tacos, burritos, enchiladas and more…
Pork carnitas are probably my favorite filling for tortillas. The key thing about carnitas is making sure to choose the right cut of pork – only pork shoulder or pork butt will do. These cuts do take time to cook in order for them to be tender. For this recipe, I took a large boneless pork shoulder roast and cut it into large pieces. This makes it easier to brown on all sides before slow cooking. The browning adds color and a depth of flavor so don’t skip this step! After that, onions and garlic and sauteed and everything combined in a slow cooker. This recipe makes a good amount and you can use the pork for various dishes aside from the usual tortilla filling. Try using it in a casseroles, a topping for baked potatoes, or even serve it on it’s own over rice.
recipe adapted from Food
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
3 pounds boneless pork shoulder or pork butt, cut into 3-4 large pieces
3 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 medium onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 sprigs fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
1 chipotle pepper, canned in adobo sauce
1 tablespoon adobo sauce, from canned chipotle peppers
juice from 2 limes
1/4 cup water or chicken broth
your desired taco toppings
In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon salt, 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper and 1 tablespoon garlic powder. Rub mixture all over the pork shoulder or pork butt pieces
In a dutch oven or large skillet over medium high heat, add the 2 tablespoons of oil. When hot, add the seasoned pork a few pieces at a time and brown on most sides for some color. Remove from pot and transfer to a slow cooker. Continue browning the remaining pork pieces and transfer to a slow cooker.
Once all pork has been browned, add another 1 tablespoon oil to the same Dutch oven/skillet. When hot, add the minced onions and garlic; saute until softened and transfer to slow cooker.
Add the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker and stir to combine. Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 6-8 hours.
Remove the pork from the slow cooker and transfer to a large platter. Shred the pork with 2 forks and serve in tortillas, topped as desired.