"Muy Bueno" Pork Carnitas Dinner w/ all the components

   Yum! This is a delicious meal . . . also, a very labor intensive one. The pork must be slow cooked – Barry just threw the end of a pork loin into the slow cooker late one morning and by early evening the house was filled with wonderful aromas. I was ready to eat by that time . . . but then he had to make the Mexican rice, prepare refried black beans and also chop ingredients for Pico de Gallo!
    Even though the evening meal was time consuming, lunch the next day was a snap  – we just wrapped the leftovers in a flour tortilla for a meal in one!
     By the way, the term carnitas refers to Mexican-style pork and literally means "little meats." 

Pork Carnitas Dinner
Refried Black Beans
Prepare all the following in advance according to the recipes that follow:
       Slow-Cooked Pork
       Mexican Rice
       Pico de Gallo (recipe follows)
       Sautéed Onions 
Refried Black Beans – Barry sautéed some chopped onions & garlic in a little bacon grease, added a can of partially drained black beans that he mashed in the skillet; then he added grated Pepper Jack cheese to the surface of the hot beans (see photo on the right).

    Grated Pepper Jack Cheese, grated
    Chopped Lettuce
    Fresh Cilantro, chopped
    Salsa – we used Sandi’s Salsa
    Other possible accompaniments: sour cream, guacamole, etc.

To Serve: Set out all the basics (pork, rice, pico, and beans) and toppings of your choice.

Slow-Cooked Pork
2 to 3 lbs. boneless pork roast or loin
2 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
1½ to 2 tablespoons CCG blend (chili, cumin and garlic) or a blend of the 3 individual spices
½ to 1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 onion cut into chunks
½ teaspoon salt + ½ teaspoon pepper

1. Put all ingredients in a slow cooker; cover with water. Set on Low for 7 to 8 hours or on High for several hours and then reduce to Low – meat should be tender and easily broken up with a fork. Check seasoning and adjust to your preference near the end of the cooking period.
Pork and seasonings are simmer in the slow cooker.
2. Remove pork; remove excess fat and break into chunks. Mix in enough cooking liquid to moisten the meat to your taste.
Note: Save pork stock for soup making.

Mexican-style Rice w/ Veggies
2 tablespoon vegetable oil (olive or canola)
1 cup long grain rice
Onions are chopped fine
for the rice dish.
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup water
1 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 small carrot, peeled, diced & cooked (steam on stove or in microwave)
½ to 1 teaspoon salt, to taste

1. Heat oil in large pot or Dutch oven. Add rice. Cook and stir over medium heat until lightly brown. Add onion and garlic; cook and stir until onion is tender. Add water. Cover and stir until water is absorbed. Stir in broth and reduce heat to low; steam 30 to 40 until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed (add more water or broth if needed).
2. Add peas and cooked carrots near the end of the cooking time. 

Pico de Gallo   Makes about 3½ cups
In Mexican cuisine, Pico de Gallo (peek-o-d minutes ay-GY-o), also called salsa fresca, is a fresh, uncooked condiment made from chopped tomato, white onion, and chilis (typically jalapeños or serranos). Although other ingredients can also be added, this is the basic recipe Barry prepared on the line at the Kirby House.
1 cup chopped onion
Pico ingredients are
ready to be combined.
¼ to ½ teaspoon minced garlic
1 to 2 jalapeño peppers (depending on level of heat desires); remove seeds & mince or, use an equivalent amount of pickled jalapeños
2½ cups chopped tomatoes, drained
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon each salt and pepper, or more to taste as desired

1. In a mixing bowl, combine the chopped onions, minced garlic, and jalapeño peppers. Add the chopped tomatoes, lime juice, salt and pepper.
2. If time allows, chill in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours to blend flavors.

Sautéed Onions
Sautéed onions have a slightly crispy outside and a very soft center.
1 large or 2 small to medium onions, cut into ¼" slices
About 2 tablespoons of olive oil
Kosher salt
Coarse ground pepper

1. Heat the olive oil in a large fry pan over medium high heat. Add the onions.
2. Quickly cook the onions, moving them around the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula. It should take no more than 10 minutes at the most for the onions to get nicely browned.
AND, THE NEXT DAY . . . assemble the leftovers in a tortilla, fold, and lunch is ready! 

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