Monday, April 1, 2013

Carnitas with Sweet & Peppery Slaw

Carnitas with Sweet & Peppery Slaw

When you make a dish to bring to a party or picnic, you have several basic options. You can make something that requires no more interaction by the people grazing off the buffet table than picking it up and popping it in the mouth. You can make a tasty dip and provide something crunchy to be dipped, (let’s face it, the veggies or crackers or whatever are merely transport mechanisms for the real star – the dip!) Or you can produce something that the grazers get to put together on their own – this is always the winner in my book. You make something good to eat (win raves for you), the party goers have fun assembling (win more raves), and they feel good about themselves (yet more raves!).

Carnitas means “little meats” referring only to the bite sized portions because there is nothing little about the flavor in this dish! A stack of Flour Tortillas, a chaffing dish of spicy steaming Carnitas, a chilled bowl of Sweet & Peppery Slaw and everybody’s happy!

Carnitas with Sweet & Peppery Slaw
Servings: 24     Preparation Time: 30 Minutes active, 5 hours Inactive     Cooking Time: 30 Minutes


For the Slaw
¼ Cup Sour Cream
• ½ Cup Mayonnaise
• 1 Teaspoon Granulated Sugar
• ½ Teaspoon Homemade Taco Seasoning (see Recipe in Tips and Trending below)
• 1 Large Shallot, minced
• 1 pound Coleslaw Mix (With Green & Red Cabbage and Carrots)

For the Carnitas
• 1 Pork tenderloin (1½ - 2 lb)
• 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
• 3 Tablespoons Homemade Taco Seasoning (see Recipe in Tips and Trending below)
• ½ Cup All Purpose Flour
• 2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
• 1 Cup Beef Stock
• 1 Cup Enchilada Sauce
• ⅓ Cup Onion, chopped
• 2 Tablespoons Fresh Cilantro, chopped
• 24 Taco Size (6”) Flour Tortillas

Preparation Steps

Step 1. Mix the Sour Cream, Mayonnaise, Granulated Sugar, Taco Seasoning and minced Shallot together in a medium bowl. Add the Slaw Mix and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Step 2. Coat Tenderloin with 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil and rub with 2 tablespoons of Taco Seasoning. Wrap in plastic wrap and seal in a zipper bag and marinate in refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight. 

Step 3. Remove marinated Tenderloin from refrigerator and let it come to room temperature for 1 hour.

Step 4. Preheat oven to 325°F

Step 5. Heat the Canola Oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Roll the Tenderloin in the All Purpose Flour and shake off excess then sear the Tenderloin all over until a crispy crust forms. Remove the seared Tenderloin to a plate to rest.

Step 6. Add Beef Stock to hot Dutch oven and cook until reduced by half.  Then stir in the Enchilada Sauce, Onions, Cilantro, and remaining 1 tablespoon of Taco Seasoning.

Step 7. Return the Tenderloin and any accumulated juices to the Dutch oven, cover and roast for 45 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160ºF.

Step 8. Let the meat rest 10 minutes, remove it from baking dish and chop into ½” chunks. Stir the chopped meat back into the sauce in the Dutch oven and cover to keep hot. Taste and season with Kosher Salt if necessary.

Have your family or guests serve themselves individual portions on 6” Flour Tortillas topped with Coleslaw.

Tips and Trending

~ No other “taco condiments” are necessary, but you can put out a dish of shredded Monterey Jack cheese to add another dimension of flavor.

~ I try not to use prepared seasoning mixes when I can easily make my own by combining spices that are already in my cupboard. So here’s the 411 on Homemade Taco Seasoning: Put 2 tablespoons Chili Powder, 1 tablespoon Roasted Cumin, 2 teaspoons Cornstarch, 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt, 1½ teaspoons Hot Smoked Paprika, 1 teaspoon Ground Coriander and ½ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper in an airtight container and shake to combine. This is equal to (2) 1 ounce packages of store bought taco mix.

~ Instead of using flour tortillas as the wrapper, try individual leaves of soft Boston lettuce. Just chop the cooked Carnitas into smaller chunks.

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