Saturday, December 25, 2010

Simple Mexican crowd-pleasers

 Several months ago we had the privilege of having dinner at Thomas' cousin Ryan's home. His lovely wife Amanda prepared a Mexican food feast that was muy bueno. Earlier this week, we tried out the main dish from this party, "New Mexico Style Carnitas," at our own dinner party with some friends - our dinner contest winners, in fact. It was pretty simple to put together and tasted fantastic.

2.5 lbs carnitas (pork shoulder) cut into bite-sized pieces
5 roasted/peeled anaheim chiles, or 1 can green chiles in a pinch
2-3 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
salt to taste
1 c water
2 tbsp cooking oil
**I altered this a little and added about 1/3 a medium-sized yellow onion. The package of meat we got was a little larger than this recipe called for, so I added more garlic (close to a full "head" of garlic).
  1. Heat oil in a large sauté pan. Add garlic (and onions if you choose to do so) and salt; then add pork and sauté until pork is cooked (about 7 min). 
  2. Transfer to a crock pot and add chile and water. Stir together and cook on high for 3 hours or low for 6-8 hours. 
  3. Transfer to oven safe dish and finish at 400°F in the oven, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

We served our carnitas on warm corn tortillas with guacamole (also homemade - mash up an avocado or two, add sour cream, salt, pepper, and some chili powder) and salsa. We had this Mexican rice as a side.

Mexican rice
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup (or more) chopped onion
a few cloves minced garlic OR garlic powder to taste
salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 cups chicken broth
  1. Heat oil in saucepan large enough to cook rice. Add onion, garlic, salt, and cumin; sauté until transparent. Add uncooked rice and coat with oil.
  2. After a few minutes, stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil.
  3. Turn down heat, cover, and let simmer for 20-25 minutes.

Let us know what you think!

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