I like to make use of my free time at the weekend by making long and involved recipes or at least recipes that take a long time to cook, they’re not usually very involved. That way I can get on with the gardening/cleaning/DIY as is required. This recipe for carnitas needs three and a half hours cooking at a low temperature to transform the meat in to meltingly tender, juicy bites which are then crisped up under a hot grill. The Coca Cola may seem an odd addition but it tenderises the pork and caramelizes under the grill.
We ate our carnitas wrapped in toasted flour tortillas with a herb salad, quick pickled onion slices and lashings of sour cream to cool the spicy heat. Between the two of us there should have been enough for leftovers on Monday but it was so good we ended up almost finishing the lot. Good thing I went for a run while it was in the oven…
Coca cola carnitas
- 1-1.5kg boned pork shoulder, rind removed
- 1 small onion, quartered
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 1 tbsp cayenne
- 1 dried chipotle chilli*
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- ½ can Coca Cola (not diet)
- 60ml vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 130ºC.
Cut the pork into large pieces, about 5cm. Place in an ovenproof dish so the pieces fit tightly together in one layer.
Add the onion, garlic, spices, bay leaves and salt, mix and pour over the cola.
Pour the oil evenly over the top and tightly cover the dish with foil.
Bake for 3½ hours until the pork is tender enough to pull apart. Strain everything through a wire sieve reserving the liquid in a large bowl or jug.
Pull the pork apart into smaller pieces and discard the cooked onion, garlic, bay leaves and spices.
Once the reserved liquid has settled, skim off the fat and add it back to the pork. The juices can be reduced to make a sauce.
At this point you can cover the pork and keep it in the fridge ready to reheat when needed. Or, to serve straight away, heat the grill up as hot as it goes. Put the pork under the grill for 6-10 minutes until the pieces start getting crisp. Stir well so the un-crisped pieces get to the top and grill for another 6-10 minutes.
Serve with which ever Mexican accompaniments you enjoy – tortillas, rice, guacamole, salsa, sour cream, pickles, salad…
*If you can’t get chipotle chillis, try 1-2tsp smoked paprika.