5 lb / 2.5 kg pork shoulder (pork butt), skinless, bone-in (4lb/2kg without bone) (Note 3)
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, deseeded, chopped
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 oranges, juice only (or sub with 3/4 cup fresh orange juice)
1 tbsp dried oregano
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp olive oil
Rinse and dry the pork shoulder, rub in salt and pepper.
Combine the rub ingredients then rub all over the pork.
Place the pork in a slow cooker (fat cap up), top with the onion, jalapeño, minced garlic (don’t worry about spreading it) and squeeze over the juice of the orange.
Slow Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 6 hours (or 1h 30 m in an electric pressure cooker on high. If using stovetop pressure cooker, please see notes).
The meat should be tender and falling off the bone. Remove from the slow cooker and let cool slightly. Then shred the pork using two forks.
Skim off the fat from the juices remaining in the slow cooker and discard the fat. Then if you are left with a lot more than 1 1/2 to 2 cups of juice, then reduce it (either in the slow cooker on the sauté setting with the lid off, or in a saucepan). The liquid will be SALTY, it is the seasoning for the pork. Set aside.
Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large non stick pan over high heat. Place shredded pork into the pan, drizzle over some juices. Wait until the juices evaporate and the bottom side is golden brown and crusty. Turn and just briefly sear the other side – you don’t want to make it brown all over because then it’s too crispy, need tender juicy bits.
Repeat in batches (takes me 4 batches) – don’t crowd the pan.
Remove pork from skillet. Drizzle over more juices and serve immediately (if you are using defrosted carnitas, this is not applicable as the juices are already on the meat – see Note 4c).
If you are reheating the carnitas (Note 4), then flip and cook the other side briefly just to warm through. I really recommend only making one side crusty and leaving the other side juicy and moist.
If you are using a piece of pork that is not the size I use, you MUST reduce the salt accordingly. If your pork is more than 1 lb / 0.5 kg larger or smaller than the prescribed size, ensure you adjust the other ingredients accordingly as well, not just the salt.
To make this in the oven, add 1 cup of water to the braising liquid. Place in 325F/160C oven for 2 hours, covered, then roast for a further 1 to 1.5 hours uncovered. Add more water if the liquid dries out too much. You should end up with 1 1/2 to 2 cups of liquid when it finishes cooking.
If you make this recipe in the oven, you could skip the pan frying step because you will get a nice brown crust on your pork.
Use pork with the skin removed but leaving some of the fat cap on. The fat adds juiciness to the carnitas!
Taco Fixing suggestions: Diced avocado or make a real proper Guacamole, Pico de Gallo or salsa. Also try pickled red onion, cabbage, lettuce, tomato,
For overnight or up to 3 days, the best option is to shred the meat without pan frying, keep the juices separate, refrigerate, then pan fry to make it golden and reheat the meat, pouring juices over while it is browning per recipe.
To brown the meat ahead, the meat actually holds up pretty well in terms of staying crispy. It’s even pretty good refrigerated overnight – but a) is definitely better. Keep the juices separate and pour it over just before reheating the pork. You can reheat in the microwave, quickly reheat in the pan or if you have loads, in a foil covered roasting pan in the oven at 180C/350F for around 8 – 10 minutes.
To FREEZE: This holds up great in the freezer. Pour the juices over the pulled pork (pre browning) and store in ziplock bags or airtight containers. Freeze in small batches for convenience. To use, defrost completely before following the recipe to brown the pork.
STOVETOP PRESSURE COOKER – use a rack to elevate it from the base OR add 3/4 cup of water. Then once the pork is cooked, remove it then simmer to reduce to around 2 cups of liquid.
1 lb spaghetti, vermicelli, capellini, or angel hair pasta (whole wheat or gluten free pasta works great)
1 1/2 lbs broccoli heads, cut from stalks into small florets (about 1 lb florets)
3/4 cup pesto (with cheese or dairy-free)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Grated parmesan, pecorino, or vegan parmesan cheese
Salt to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta to the boiling water and cook to desired tenderness, stirring frequently. See pasta package for instructions – cooking time will depend on the type of pasta you choose.
While pasta is cooking, bring 3/4 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add broccoli florets to the pan and cover tightly with a lid.
Let the broccoli steam for 2-5 minutes, or until tender and bright green.
Remove from heat and drain in a colander.
When the pasta is cooked, reserve about 1 cup of the cooking water in a separate bowl, then drain the pasta in a colander.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine pesto, olive oil, and 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water. Add additional pasta water to make the sauce more liquid, if desired. Season with salt to taste (if using dairy-free pesto, you may need more salt for flavor).
Add the steamed broccoli to the pasta along with the pesto sauce. Toss the pasta and vegetables gently with the sauce to coat. Salt again to taste, if desired.
Serve pasta topped with grated parmesan, pecorino, or vegan parmesan cheese. If you’re vegetarian, be sure to choose parmesan with a vegetarian rennet. You can also sprinkle on a few red pepper flakes for a touch of spice, if desired.
¼ cup nuts or seeds (if not included in the salad mix)
shredded chicken, quinoa, or other protein of choice
Cook the chicken (or other protein). For shredded chicken cook one pound of chicken breasts in the Instant Pot (15 minutes) or slow cooker (3-4 hours) with a jar of salsa or some taco seasoning.
Toss your salad ingredients together. Drizzle on the dressing and enjoy!
The salad mix I use has lots of cabbage, carrots, kale, cilantro, green onions, as well as some toppings. A good salad mix (like this one) is very important for making this cheater’s salad worth your while. This is not an iceberg lettuce situation. It is fresh, nutritious veggies pre-chopped with some yummy extras to boot.
I don’t recommend making this all at once for one person – I just cook all of the chicken, keep it in the fridge, and then assemble salads throughout the week as I’m ready to eat them.
You can serve this healthy peanut sauce recipe as a dip or drizzle over Asian dishes! You can toss this savory peanut sauce with noodles, too. It’s good every which way! Recipe yields about 1 ⅔ cup sauce.
¾ cup creamy peanut butter
¼ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup water
⅓ cup reduced sodium tamari or reduced-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons honey or agave nectar
1 ½ teaspoons grated fresh ginger or ½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 to 2 medium cloves garlic, pressed or minced, to taste
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus more for sprinkling
Optional garnishes: sprinkling of chopped roasted peanuts and additional red pepper flakes
In a 2-cup liquid measuring cup or medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the ingredients until well blended. If your peanut butter is particularly thick, you may need to add a bit more water to thin out the mixture (adding water will mellow out the flavor as well).
Feel free to adjust to taste here—for example, sometimes I want my sauce more savory and add another clove of garlic, or a little sweeter, so I add extra honey.
If you’re serving the sauce as a party dip, transfer it to a serving bowl and sprinkle with chopped peanuts and red pepper flakes for some visual interest!
Garlic: Sauté the minced garlic with the butter in a large nonstick skillet over low heat. Cook for several minutes or until the garlic is soft and fragrant but not browned (browned or burnt garlic will taste bitter). Remove from heat and set aside.
Cauliflower: Bring the water or vegetable broth to a boil in a large pot. Add the cauliflower and cook, covered, for 7-10 minutes or until cauliflower is fork tender. Do not drain.
Puree: Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cauliflower pieces to the blender. Add 1 cup vegetable broth or cooking liquid, sautéed garlic/butter, salt, pepper, and milk. Blend or puree for several minutes until the sauce is very smooth, adding more broth or milk depending on how thick you want the sauce. You may have to do this in batches depending on the size of your blender. Serve hot! If the sauce starts to look dry, add a few drops of water, milk, or olive oil.
2-3 jalapeños or Serrano peppers, seeded and deveined (use green bell pepper for a non-spicy version)
3-4 garlic cloves, crushed – adjust to taste
1/4 cup olive oil – or avocado oil for a neutral flavor
1 teaspoon ground cumin – optional, adjust to taste
Salt to taste
Combine all the ingredients in a blender; it helps the blending process if the avocados are in small chunks and the cilantro is lightly chopped. I also recommend crushing the garlic before putting it in the blender to ensure no one gets a surprise large piece of garlic.
Blend until you have a smooth sauce. Use immediately or refrigerate until ready to use.
1 28-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes, certified D.O.P. if possible
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
7 garlic cloves, peeled and slivered
Small dried whole chile, or pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large fresh basil sprig, or 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, more to taste
Pour tomatoes into a large bowl and crush with your hands. Pour 1 cup water into can and slosh it around to get tomato juices. Reserve.
In a large skillet (do not use a deep pot) over medium heat, heat the oil. When it is hot, add garlic.
As soon as garlic is sizzling (do not let it brown), add the tomatoes, then the reserved tomato water. Add whole chile or red pepper flakes, oregano (if using) and salt. Stir.
Place basil sprig, including stem, on the surface (like a flower). Let it wilt, then submerge in sauce. Simmer sauce until thickened and oil on surface is a deep orange, about 15 minutes. (If using oregano, taste sauce after 10 minutes of simmering, adding more salt and oregano as needed.) Discard basil and chile (if using).