Easy pork carnitas recipe

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Carnitas is a favorite Mexican dish and one of the most popular pork recipes worldwide. Carnitas is Spanish for 'small meats' and that is what it is, pork shoulder braised in herbs and spices, cut in small pieces and baked until caramelized then served on warm tortillas or tacos with typical Mexican ingredients such as salsa, avocado and onion.
Preparation time: 180 minutes, Cooking time: 30 minutes, Serves: 10 - 12 


3 1/2 lb pork shoulder

For the braising
3 Tbsp tomato paste
4-5 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 Tbsp cumin powder
1 Tbsp oregano
1 Tbsp black pepper
2 1/2 tsp salt
1 yellow onion, cut in 1-2 inch pieces
1 quart (950 ml) chicken or beef stock

Salt to taste

For serving the Carnitas
8 inch flour tortillas or tacos
Avocado slices
Red onion, thinly sliced
Cilantro (coriander) leaves


Braise the pork
Place the pork shoulder in a large cooking pot over medium high heat. Add all the braising ingredients (including the stock), then add enough water to completely cover. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for 3 to 3 1/2 hours, until the meat is fork tender.

Shred the pork
Carefully remove the pork from the braising liquid and place in a bowl. Using two forks, break the meat into 3 to 4 inch pieces, discarding any bones.

Cook the pork carnitas
Season the pork with salt to taste and place on a baking tray. Cook in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes at 450 degrees F (230 degrees C), or until golden and crispy on the outside.

Remove the pork from the oven, let it cool down a bit, then shred it using a fork.

Serve the Carnitas
Serve the carnitas on a warm flour tortilla or taco topped with salsa, avocado slices, red onion and cilantro leaves. For a simpler and faster alternative, you can serve carnitas on a flour tortilla topped with barbecue sauce.
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