I think about it. I dream about it. I plan for it. I crave for it.
This blog will be a test run for what I should’ve done years ago. I’ve always put off written a food blog, well, because I’m lazy. However, many of my friends have encouraged me to start one over the years. My clients tell me the only time my eyes light up is when I talk about food. So today, instead of trying to finish my gigantic pile of homework, I’ve decided to write my first post.
You’ll find my writing very sporadic and in-cohesive at times. I can explain that with my lifelong malady of ADHD. Basically my mind wanders and flitters about, dipping and dabbling into thoughts that I try to express as quickly as possible, so please don’t mind me as I jump from one thing to another. Please forgive me, and after all, this is how this blog has come to be tonight.
Now tonight, the urgency of this blog is due to my upcoming trip to Mexico City. A city that I am almost 100% sure that I will fall in love with. The largest city in the Western Hemisphere, Mexico City is supposedly home to an exciting and ever changing food scene. From my past two days of Googling, I expect to find a multitude of street stands, some standing for over 50 years of traditional Mexican cooking. On the other hand, as the city is a giant agglomeration of different cultures and ethnicities, it appears that the contemporary food scene is marriage of old, new and different. Already, I’ve put together a list of over 20 restaurants that I will need to get to in my very short 6 days there, while attempting to do as much sightseeing as I can around the mega city. Last night, as I was in one of my Googling frenzies, I became obsessed with the idea of carnitas. And so, today, that became my after school project.
Carnitas, the quintessential taco filling. Meat slow cooked until tender and falling apart, and then chopped up and fried to a crispy perfection. In Mexico, carnitas can literally refer any body part of the pig, from nose to tail. Unfortunately for me in Canada, being able to purchase all these awesome body parts is more of less a bit of a treasure hunt. It always appals me that North Americans have bastardized what is actually good about food, choosing chicken breast and filet mignon over all the other tasty and textural parts of an animal. I’ll save this whole topic for another rant later on…
Anyways, because I was strapped for time today, I just went and bought some organic pork shoulder, skin attached, for my project. Here’s my pork shoulder cut into chunks, sautéed in lard (always keep lard in your fridge), Mexican oregano, cinnamon, paprika, cumin, bay leaves, onions, lots of garlic, chopping jalapeños, salt and pepper.
Yes I know, I probably should have browned this more, but I was impatient. This was done right in the baking pan. When the onions and garlic were browned, I poured in some homemade chicken broth from last week, and I covered the pan with a double layer of foil to keep the moisture in. Set my oven for 275F and away I went, hoping I could finally do some homework now that I can stop thinking about carnitas.
2 hours later, I pulled off the foil and here I got this steamy, heady goodness staring back at me. Only one problem, not quite fork tender, and too watery. Not a problem, back in the oven for another hour without the foil should do the trick.
The finished product amounted to half the liquid and more porky pungency. I don’t have a picture because, well, I was hungry and I couldn’t wait to fry that baby up. The pork was strained and roughly shredded before tossing in the pan. I spooned in some of that garlicky goodness from the sauce, being careful not to take too much of the lard.
After I got the perfect crust, it was time for assembly. Of course in my haste I had forgotten to buy corn tortillas. Let’s be real, you can’t really get any good ones in town anyways, but if you know of some, please let me know! Thank goodness I had some tortilla chips at home. That’ll work, all I need is a vessel.
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 3 hours
Eat time: 2 mins