Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Providence intervened in my menu planning this week. Not even realizing that today would be Cinco de Mayo, I had planned to try a new recipe out of Alice Water's cookbook "The Art of Simple Food"...
I decided to do a little shopping at Costco this pay period to stock up on some items...especially some meats. Two recipes on my menu called for pork shoulder for an approximate total of 2 pounds. Of course, I should have known that Costco would never sell a mere two pounds of meat. The smallest package I could find was over 11 pounds.
The thrifty side of me kept thinking...don't get it, you don't need that much, save your money. But then my husband's voice chimed in my head (it's a marriage-telepathic-twitter thing)...just get it. After all, if I bought it at a grocery store, it would be almost as much for a lot less meat. Okay, I'll get it.
Today around 4 p.m., I chopped up the 1 1/2 pound portion that I saved from the freezer. One inch cubes went into my cast iron skillet. Covered it all with just enough water to cover. Sprinkled on 1/2 tsp of salt and 2 tsp of lime juice. After it came to a boil, I covered the pan and turned the heat down to a low simmer. It cooked for about 45 minutes until tender. I removed the lid and cranked the heat to boil away the liquid. When it started to sizzle, the heat was lowered and the meat was gently fried...browning to crunchy perfection in it's own fat.
It was sweet and caramelized, chewy and a little crispy. Topped with a little cheese, salsa, and more lime juice, these carnitas were just the thing to celebrate whatever it is that Cinco de Mayo is about (which is NOT a Mexican Independence Day if I remember right).