Tuesday, July 1, 2014



Fake Out Chile Verde Carnitas Tacos 

Yes, I know, I have posted my Chile Verde Carnitas before.  I have just tweaked it a little to be quite the versatile dish.  I have been on a pulled pork taco craze lately, but wanted a totally different flavor; I have been making guajillo sauce for these dishes;  this time, I used a green chile verde salsa for a tangy flavor.  I love it! Hope you will, too. 

I originally posted my Carnitas as part of my College Foodie series. It was served in a bowl and eaten with a spoon.  But, being the Taco-holic that I am, I wanted a thicker sauce and I wanted to use the chunks of trimmed, chopped pork shoulder for my taco meat.  Wonderfully diabolical plan, don't you think? 

The dishes I created for my College Foodie series were affordable, fast, convenient to prepare (little to no hassle, in my point of view, perhaps not in the eyes of a college kid on the go, I do recognize!), delicious and with Just the right amount of leftovers.  College kids are not too big on leftovers, I have learned (I was, so this new trend was all new to me!), therefore, having one lunch or dinner left over amounts is good, so as not to waste food.  When my son goes back to college for the new fall semester, I will be back at the series again. Stay tuned for that!  But, I digress.  Back to business!

Let's get to the recipe.  I call this my Fake Out dish, because, for the sake of time, I bought two one-pound packages of chopped up pork shoulder pieces (usually used for stews or stir fry), one large bottle of my favorite salsa verde, one large can of roasted green chiles and a can of chicken broth/stock.  Rather than use a large pork butt shoulder roast and make the sauce from roasted Anaheim chiles and tomatillos and cilantro, onion and garlic, sear the roast and braise it in the homemade sauce for four or so hours, I cheated.  Yes.  There!  I said it!  I cheated!  

Here is what I did to get nearly the same flavor as carnitas from scratch in a quarter of the time.  

Ingredients:
2 one pound packages of pork bits
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
1 can whole roasted green chiles, and chop into half inch squares
1 can diced roasted green chiles
1 large can corn kernels in water
1 large bottle of your favorite chunky salsa verde
1 can chicken broth or stock
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1.5 teaspoons pasilla powder (or, your favorite smoked, ground chile powder)
1 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds 
1 teaspoon ground cumin
half palm full of thme (fresh or dried)
the zest of half a lemon or lime, and the juice of one lime or half a lemon
salt and pepper to taste 
extra virgin olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pot

In a large pot over medium-high heat, add extra virgin olive oil to lightly cover the bottom of the pot.  When the oil ripples, add a few coriander and cumin seeds and a little garlic to flavor the oil  Add the pork meat to the pot and saute.  Stir immediately to mix the meat with the seeds and garlic so they do not burn.  Once the meat has begun to caramelize, add the rest of the seasoning to the pot.  Stir to coat the meat with the seasonings. Allow to saute at least five minutes, reducing the heat to medium to prevent seasoning from burning.  Once the meat is about half cooked, add the diced and chopped green chiles and incorporate thoroughly.  


Next, add the aromatics:  the onion and garlic!


Stir to mix the meat and veggies very well and saute for several more minutes, about four, before you add the salsa verde (whole jar, about 20 ounces), the can of corn and the entire box or can of chicken stock (about two cups).  

Stir thoroughly and allow to simmer for one hour over low heat, mostly covered. The aroma will fill your kitchen with amazing scents!


 A little trick to add even more acidity:  add two tablespoons or even a quarter cup of either apple cider vinegar or pickled jalapeno juice.  Trust me, the flavor is incredible!

After allowing the mixture to simmer unattended, mostly, except for an occasional stirring, which is more me being happily anxious to eat than anything else, for forty-five minutes, uncover and simmer for fifteen minutes more on low-medium heat.  The sauce will reduce by nearly half and thicken.  

After a few minutes, you are ready to serve tacos!  I used a slotted spoon to scoop up meat, corn, onions and chiles for my tacos. 


 The versatile part of this meal is that you can scoop out all of the meat and store separately and serve this a basically meatless soup. Or, simply serve it as soup with or without the meat!  

Thanks for viewing this versatile recipe.  I appreciate your time and consideration.  Now, go cook something for your friends and loved ones!