Healthy Carnitas, no trip required.

BLE friendly; low sodium; gluten free; low carb

Going out to eat has become somewhat of a rarity in our house, maybe once a month or even less. It is not because of a lack of options, or because we can’t find healthy meals while out n’ about. It usually has to do with wanting to have a cheat day and eat our past favorites, and when you put yourself in that situation it may be hard to resist. Now I am not saying everybody should stop going out, that would be silly. What I am saying is that instead of putting yourself in difficult situations, maybe we can figure out how to lighten up those restaurant fav’s at home.

Take for example carnitas, I love carnitas. Their crispy yet juicy goodness is enough to make me drool right here on my keyboard. A traditional carnitas recipe calls for pork shoulder, which when handled properly can still be a healthy choice. It’s the next step that leads it down the road to a coronary overpass. Lard, straight up lard…pork cooked in lard for 12 hours over a low heat. Then, cooked again in more fat to crisp it up. Ay caramba!

So how do we make this a more viable option, without losing what made this dish so succulent? As mentioned before, pork shoulder is fine once you have removed the excess exterior fat prior to cooking. After the meat has cooked, you can then remove the intra muscular fat. The second part is the cooking process, since slow poaching in oil is clearly not going to work. Instead, we will be braising our pork in a flavorful cooking broth. So, unbuckle and sit back while we bring this restaurant classic home.

Recipe

Serves 4

  • 1 4 pound pork shoulder or Boston butt
  • spice rub ( equal parts; cumin, cinnamon, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, dried oregano, with twice the part of salt)
  • 2 cups homemade chicken stock, or low sodium store bought
  • 1 bottle Mexican lager at room temp
  • 1 7 oz can salsa verde
  • 2 large oranges, juiced (do not use store bought OJ)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 medium yellow onion cut into large chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and smashed
  • 1 bunch cilantro stems (save the leaves to make pico de gallo)
  • cooking spray

Directions

Trim excess outer fat from pork, spray with some cooking spray and thoroughly rub the spice mixture all over the pork. Wrap the pork in plastic wrap, and leave in fridge between four and eight hours. When the pork has been in the fridge long enough, remove pork from fridge and leave at room temp for about 30 minutes. Heat a dutch oven on medium high heat, spray with cooking spray and sear pork until golden brown on all sides. Remove pork and brown onions for about five minutes, add garlic and cook until fragrant, about one minute. Add beer and scrape pan to release any bits, return pork to pan and add all remaining ingredients. Preheat oven to 300F, while the oven is preheating place a lid on the pot and let cook until the oven is preheated. Cook for three hours, let cool at room temp and very carefully shred the pork and discard as much intra muscular fat as possible.

Heat a skillet or frying pan on medium heat, spray with cooking spray and cook the shredded pork until you see some browning and the edges are crispy.

Serve with any of your favorite garnishes, such as pico de gallo, guacamole (2oz), sour cream (1oz) . I also like to make “tacos” with this recipe, using large lettuce leaves as the vehicle to deliver this delicious take in meal.

So there you have it folks, a healthy take on an unhealthy meal. And you didn’t even need to worry about traffic, lucky you!

Cheers, Blue

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