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Carnitas de Lechon


Oven-roasted shredded suckling pig, habanero-sour orange salsa, chicharron salad and guacamole



4 pork rinds
12 corn tortillas, warmed


For the Lechon (Pork)

  • 3 -4 pound Lechon, suckling pig
  • 1 bunch celery, chopped
  • 1 Spanish onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • ½ bunch of thyme
  • 4 oranges, halved
  • 1 quart orange juice from concentrate

For the Habanero-Sour Orange Salsa:

  • Lechon Bones
  • 2 stalks celery
  • Half of a Spanish onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 quart orange juice


  • 2 Mexican hass avocados
  • 1 plum tomato
  • diced Half of a Spanish onion
  • diced 2 tablespoons cilantro
  • chopped 1 jalapeño
  • chopped Juice of one lime
  • Kosher salt to taste

Nopales Salad

  • 6 medium cactus leaves, fresh
  • ¼ Cup olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 medium red onions, chopped coarsely
  • 2 firmly packed tablespoons epazote leaves, blanched for 5 seconds, then cut into chiffonade ribbons
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons queso fresco, crumbled
  • Kosher salt to taste


For the Lechon (Pork)

 Set oven at 350°F.

In the belly of a roasting pan place the onion, garlic, celery, carrots and thyme; then place the Lechon on top of the ingredients. 

Add the orange juice, then squeeze the oranges over the Lechon.  Cover  pan with foil and place in the oven for 4 to 5 hours, or until thoroughly cooked. 

Remove from oven when meat is ready; remove the foil and let the Lechon cool down and rest.  Once cool, remove the skin and place aside for future use; from the bones remove all the meat and shred it.



For the Habanero-Sour Orange Salsa:

In a medium saucepan bring ingredients to a boil and allow to cook for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and pass through a chinois, check seasoning.


Scoop the pulp out of the ripe avocados into a bowl, set aside.

In another bowl combine the diced onion and jalapeño with the lime juice and a pinch of salt, let marinate for 3 minutes. Then add the diced tomato, cilantro and avocados.  Mash the ingredients together and check seasoning.

Nopales Salad

 Preheat the grill to medium-hot.

Remove the "thorns" of the cactus leaves: hold each leaf at the base, then
run a very sharp knife over the surface of the leaf, on each flat side, to
cut off the thorns. Try to leave behind as much green skin as possible. Cut
around the edge of each cactus leaf to remove any thorns that stick out.

Once the grill is hot rub each cactus leaf with a ½ teaspoon of olive oil
and 1 teaspoon of salt.

Grill the seasoned cactus leaves for about 3 minutes on each side, or
until they are seared and crisp; they should be pale-green, with blackish spots
from the grill. Once they are seared remove them from the grill.  Allow cactus
leaves to cool, about 3 minutes, then cut them into ½” squares and place
in a bowl.

 Add to the bowl the chopped red onions, epazote, vinegar, and ½
teaspoon of salt. Mix all together. Let salad stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

When ready to serve, add the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the
salad and mix well. Serve the salad on a platter, sprinkled on top with the
crumbled queso fresco.

To Assemble and Serve:
 Per plate stack a generous portion of the shredded Lechon and drizzle over the salsa.  Then pile on the guacamole and nopales salad, and top with the pork rind.  Drizzle over more salsa is wished and serve with the warmed corn tortillas.