Baby, it’s COLD outside! That’s my cue to yank out the crockpot and put something in to simmer all day. Just the smells are enough to make me feel warmer even if the house can’t seem to get warm. I picked the following recipe as it sounded so good after a week + of too much sugar and salt. And if you trim the extra fat off the roast, it’s pretty healthy as well. As usual, moderation is the key….which is a laugh coming from me. If you knew how many Christmas goodies made their way into the Black Hole known as my stomach, well….let’s just say it’s best you listen to what I say and not what I do! Ha!
Crockpot Carnitas Serves at least 6 and as many as 8 hungry people. Yes, I will be eating this all week. 🙂
Vegetarian modifications follow.
1 two-pound pork roast, trimmed of extra fat. Use a cheap cut, not a loin or it will dry out during cooking.
1 15-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
1 12-oz can light beer
1 cup water
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 red jalapenos (or some other hot pepper- I used two habaneros), cleaned out and minced. Be sure to remove the seeds and veins or it will make this dish too spicy.
8 large cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
2 15-ounce cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
Tortillas (corn or flour)
Mashed avocado, optional
Diced fresh tomatoes
Mix all the liquids, canned tomatoes, spices, and minced peppers and garlic in the crockpot. Add the trimmed pork roast and gently stir the tomato-y mixture over the top. Add the drained pinto beans. Cook on high for 8 hours or until roast is falling apart. Using two forks, shred the roast in the crockpot and stir into the juices. If the mixture seems to have too much liquid, remove the lid from the crockpot and continue cooking to evaporate some of the excess moisture.
Serve with tortillas that have been warmed in a medium hot skillet on the stove or place them in a clean, damp dishtowel and heat in the oven till warmed through (approximately 10 minutes on 350 degrees.) You can also serve this with a mashed avocado, diced fresh tomatoes, chopped cilantro, shredded lettuce and sour cream/plain yogurt if desired.
Vegetarian Option: Substitute the pork roast with one cup of TVP. Reduce water to 1/4 cup. Cook for 3 hours and start checking the moisture level. You don’t want it to dry out, but you do want some moisture. The TVP will continue to expand as it cooks so be careful you don’t have too much water to start out with. For those who are not familiar with TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein), it has a texture and mouth-feel similar to ground beef and takes on the flavor of whatever it is being cooked in and with. My kids ate a lot of TVP growing up and never even knew it. 😉 Bonus points for being a shelf-stable, super-cheap protein source.