Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Caramelized Carnitas Tacos

As mentioned in the previous recipe, my friend Cherrie and I attended a cooking class recently, which was a Cinco de Mayo celebration of recipes by Phillis Carey. This is different than any carnitas I've ever had, and it's really tasty. It doesn't take long to simmer the meat, and the steps to make this are relatively simple. With a green salad, this could be dinner if you put out condiments like the salsa and guacamole. Shredded lettuce would probably be a nice addition too. In this version, instead of serving shredded (cold) cheese as a condiment, Monterey jack cheese is melted and baked with the meat and you merely scoop some of this combination into a hot flour tortilla and serve.

Caramelized Carnitas Tacos

1 1/2 pounds boneless pork center rib -- or pork shoulder, cut in 1 inch cubes with some fat
2 cloves garlic -- minced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon tequila
1 tablespoon molasses
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup water
1/2 cup green onions -- sliced

1 pound Monterey jack cheese -- grated
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon cilantro -- chopped

8 small flour tortillas
1 1/2 cups salsa -- freshly, not bottled
1 cup guacamole

1. CARNITAS: Place pork cubes in a medium bowl. Toss with garlic, brown sugar, tequila, molasses, salt and pepper. Transfer to a 10-inch skillet, spreading pork out to a single layer. Pour the water on and bring to a boil. Simmer until the pork is tender and the water is cooked out, stirring occasionally. Toward the end of the cooking time watch the pan carefully. You do not want it to scorch. Taste meat for tenderness and add a bit more water if needed to continue cooking. The cook time should be about 45 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cook slightly before adding the green onions.

2. QUESO: Preheat oven to 375°. Place the cooked carnitas in a deep pie plate or casserole dish and top with the grated cheese. Sprinkle with garlic salt and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. During the last 10 minutes of cooking, wrap the tortillas in foil and bake along with the casserole.

3. SERVING: Spoon carnitas and fonduta into the hot tortillas and add some salsa and guacamole on top, fold over and serve.

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 688 Calories; 37g Fat (49.1% calories from fat); 37g Protein; 50g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 96mg Cholesterol; 1194mg Sodium. Exchanges: 2 1/2 Grain(Starch); 4 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 5 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.
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