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This little piggy

April 27, 2010
tags: ,

should’ve stayed home.  Instead he/she went to market and wound up in my slow cooker!

Mrs. Piunti was my business teacher during Junior High and some High School, and I have a lot to thank her for.  I can quickly and accurately type without looking at my fingers thanks to her insistent “keyboard cover” drills…I used to love those things (the drills, not the covers.  Yes, I was a dork.  Still am.)  I’m also pretty decent with word processing software and Excel.

She also introduced me to the world of Mexican food beyond tacos.

Following a competition at a local technical college, Mrs. Piunti took the other student competitors and I to lunch at a local Mexican restaurant.  It was the first time I’d ever been to one.  (Can you believe that – I was high school age!)  Brilliantly-colored tile tables, music I couldn’t understand a word of, and the billows of steam carrying spicy aromas to our table from the open kitchen…

More recently, Mr. S and I have taken to Qdoba.  (Yes, I know… it’s nearly blasphemous to call Qdoba real Mexican…but it’s nice in a hurry or when neither of us wants to cook.)  My normal order was a chicken queso burrito, but one day the woman behind the counter was stirring the pork while I ordered.  It looked so juicy, so tender… I normally am not a huge fan of pork, but I was drawn like a moth to the flame! 😉  One bite and I was hooked.. no more chicken burritos from Qdoba for me.  I had to have the pork.

While I love to eat Mexican food, cooking it is pretty uncharted territory for me.  As previously mentioned, I only knew of tacos growing up.  Think ground beef + packet of taco seasoning, add shells and cheese.  Sad, isn’t it?  I’ve tried a few dishes, but nothing was really noteworthy.

Until I ran across this recipe on Gina’s WW Recipes.  I was a little apprehensive… I’m not a huge pork fan, remember?  And “lean cuts” of pork? HAHAHAHAHahahaha… not very common around here.  Also, one of the ingredients listed is adobo.  I wasn’t sure what that meant…maybe the adobo sauce the chipotle peppers came in?  Mr. S asked me about it and I said I wasn’t sure, but wanted to stroll down the Hispanic aisle, just in case.  If I couldn’t find a seasoning called adobo, I’d use the sauce.

Look what I found!

I can’t remember what cut of pork I used, but I know I could not find a shoulder roast, so I think I wound up with a sirloin roast.  (I used whatever cut looked leanest and would fit my plan of buying a larger roast, trim off the fat, and hopefully wind up with around 2.5 pounds meat.  I think my roast was ~4.1 pounds, but didn’t realize it had a bone in it until I brought it home and opened it up.  It was plenty, especially for just two people.)

Whatever cut it was, it turned out great!  I normally like to be able to give more specific direction than just listing the spices, but when making this, use however much you prefer.  Me personally?  I season generously.  (Although I did use a little too much adobo after shredding the pork because it came out a bit salty, but next time I’ll know.)

You’ve gotta make this.  I had my doubts… I wasn’t sure I could pull this off, or at least to this level of success.  But Mr. S agrees – he said it was the best slow cooker recipe I’d found so far!  While this was cooking, all I could think about was what I could do with all that leftover pork and it’s been a bonus the past two days to have leftovers for lunch.  🙂

After tasting this, Qdoba pork has taken a backseat.  I used to crave that juicy, yummy pork in a burrito, but I can’t even remember what it tastes like; this tender pork and the playful heat in this recipe beats that and will be made again and again!

Slow Cooked Pork Carnitas (Mexican Pulled Pork)

Source: Gina’s WW Recipes

  • 2.5 lb pork shoulder blade roast, lean, all fat removed (or leanest pork roast, trimmed)
  • 6 cloves garlic, cut into slivers
  • Cumin
  • Adobo
  • Garlic powder
  • 3/4 c. 99% fat free chicken broth
  • 2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (to taste; I used ~3-4)
  • 2 bay leaves

Season pork with salt and pepper.  In a medium sauté pan on medium-high heat, brown pork on all sides for about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.  (I don’t think it took me a full 10 minutes.  I put a little oil in my pan, heated it, and put the roast in, turning it with tongs after the pork had browned slightly until most of the roast was browned.)

Using a sharp knife, insert blade into pork, cutting small holes and insert garlic slivers.  Season pork generously with cumin, adobo and garlic powder all over.  (I coated it in seasoning.  I also did rub some of the adobo sauce all over the roast before seasoning.)

Pour chicken broth in the slow cooker; add bay leaves and chipotle peppers. (We used 3-4 peppers; I sliced some of the larger peppers lengthwise before putting in.  I was also skeptical since 3/4 cup chicken broth seemed SO LITTLE but it worked.)  Place pork in slow cooker and cover.  Cook on low for 8 hours.

After 8 hours, shred pork using two forks (I preferred cutting it into manageable chunks, letting it cool until touchable, and then breaking it apart with my hands) and combine well with the juices that accumulated at the bottom. Remove bay leaves and adjust salt and cumin (you will probably need to add more – I added more cumin, a little more garlic powder, and adobo; the adobo had salt in it so I didn’t add more).  Let cook another 15-30 minutes.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Kristin permalink
    April 29, 2010 1:25 pm

    Can’t wait to try this!

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