Recipe of the Month: Weeknight Carnitas
Fall is here, and with the change in season comes a subtle shift in mood. The heady flavors of just-picked produce are fading, and as the weather cools, my thoughts naturally turn to slow-cooked roasts and braises – something I am not inclined to do during those hot summer months.
Fall also means relaxed summer days are behind us and productivity takes a front seat at work and school. Suddenly, evenings are filled with homework, after school activities and perhaps longer work hours. How can we keep up with the pace while still making sure we can fill the bellies of our loved ones with something hot and nourishing on a Wednesday night?
Enter the Instant Pot.
This little miracle of a machine has been a lifesaver! It’s basically a modern-day pressure cooker, easy to use and extremely efficient. It means that on a busy weeknight, I can hit the store on my way home from work and still have dinner on the table within an hour or less – even if what I really, really want to eat tonight is something that usually takes hours of slow-roasting to become it’s magical meaty self. Like carnitas!
Carnitas literally means “little meats.” It’s referring to the fork-tender, falling off the bone quality that a pork roast takes on when slow roasted or braised at low heat for hours and hours. But who has time for that on a Wednesday? YOU do, if you have an Instant Pot!
Cook’s Note: Weeknight Carnitas can also be made in a traditional slow-cooker. Simply prepare the meat the night before and either let it cook overnight, or plop it in the cooker first thing in the morning and let it cook all day while at work.
3-4 lbs pork roast (shoulder or butt, the best quality you can afford)
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 Cara Cara orange
6+ cloves of peeled garlic (feel free to add more!)
2 cloves shallot, diced
1-2 dried bay leaves
Cut the roast into smaller, 2-4 inch pieces. No need to measure, just use your best judgement. Put the pieces into the Instant Pot.
Add the spices and toss to coat.
Squeeze the orange juice into the pot.
Add the garlic, shallot and bay leaves. Toss to coat.
Put the cover on the Instant Pot and make sure the valve is turned to ”sealing.”
Press the “Manual” button and cook on high pressure for 35 minutes.
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