I could have made some of the best carnitas this past weekend. Normally I stick with my standard recipe for making a slow roasted pork shoulder, however this time around I really wanted something different. I had some dried chili de arbol peppers that I wanted to use, and I thought how great they would be, marinated on this pork, along with other items of course.
As you know I have made tortas in the past and have noted that it is one of my favorite sandwiches. A crunchy bread, loaded with refried beans, avocado, and whatever fixings you want. This time around, and heck, for the remainder of the week, it is going to be packed full of carnitas, but to kick off the week, it starts with a really awesome torta.
Ingredients for the Carnitas:
- 5 lb pork shoulder, trim any exterior fat, cut into large chunks
- 20 dried chili de arbol peppers, seeds removed
- 2 cups of water
- 2 white onions, quartered
- 1/2 bulb of garlic, skins removed, rough chop
- generous pinch of salt
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tbsp olive oil
Begin by bringing a pot of water to a boil and cook the dried chili peppers until they are nice and tender, about 45 minutes. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the water for later use. Place the onion, tender peppers, garlic, salt, oregano and reserved water into a blender, and blend into a nice sauce.
Place your pork in a large ziplock bag, and add in the marinade. Give the pork a bath in this wonderful marinade, placing in the refrigerator, and letting it bath overnight, or at least 8-10 hours.
The following morning, heat a large pot on medium-high heat. Add the olive oil. Remove the cubes of pork, and place them in the large pot, browning, or should I say searing all sides. Once all sides are browned, you can either place in a slow cooker, or cover, reduce the heat, and keep on the stove for about 5 hours. I go the slow cooker route, and cook on low for about 5-7 hours. I don’t mess around. The goal is to have pork so tender that when you touch it, it basically just falls apart.
Your house is going to be smelling pretty darn amazing at this point in time. Be patient. We are almost done. Now it is time to make the torta.
Ingredients for the Torta:
- One can of black beans
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
- fresh cilantro sprigs
- 1 avocado, cut into slices
- lettuce, chopped
- Queso Chihuahua, grated
- Bolilo rolls, sliced, bread removed from the center of them
Begin by heating a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and bring it to temperature Toss in the garlic, cook for about a minute, then add in the can of beans. With a fork, or potato masher, begin to mash down the beans. The cool thing about doing this is that you can make them your own texture. If you like the smooth beans out of a can, then go ahead with those. My preference is to mash my own. Reduce the heat to low and stir from time to time.
Next is to brown the rolls. Add a bit of olive oil to the sliced rolls. In another skillet, bring to medium heat and add the rolls, olive oil sides down, and cook for a few minutes until they are golden brown, and the tops have changed a bit of texture. The goal is a golden brown roll with a slight crust on the top.
To another skillet, yes, this is a three pan meal. Add about another tablespoon of olive oil to it, and bring this to medium heat. Toss in a couple of the pork cubes, and with your fork, mash them down a bit. The pork should easily fall apart. Mix well, and crisp up the pork a bit.
Now we are ready to roll. To the bottom of the bolilo roll, lather with the black beans, top with the pork, the cilantro, lettuce, a few of the avocado slices and top with the grated Mexican cheese. Top with the heated half of the bolilo roll, and slice and serve.
The pork yields enough for a big party, or if you are like me this week, it will suffice for Mexican week. Yes, I said it. Taco Tuesday is fine, but burrito Wednesday is coming, enchilada Thursday, and possibly another Torta Friday! Enjoy.