This is a sure hit for any event. I have friends who served these carnitas at their big family Christmas get-together. People kept telling them all afternoon that they’d never enjoyed a Christmas dinner more!—Phyllis Good, author of Stock the Crock
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To thicken the sauce: In a small bowl, mix 3 tablespoons cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of cold water. Stir until a smooth paste forms. Remove 1⁄4 cup of heated sauce from the cooker and mix it into the cornstarch-water paste. When smooth, return the sauce to the crock, stirring until the sauce thickens. —Regina M.
Make It Gluten-free: check the label to ensure you are using gluten-free chicken broth.
Make lettuce cups by spooning 1⁄2 cup of the shredded pork into the middle of single large romaine lettuce leaves. Fold each leaf up from the bottom and in from the sides. Roll the top down to create a refreshing lettuce-wrapped package.
Make It Paleo-Friendly: use sea salt instead of iodized salt.
Use Homemade Chicken Bone Broth - many commercial brands include MSG.
Top with fresh vegetables only. (Exclude sour cream and store-bought salsa.)
Serve the carnitas in lettuce wraps, over fresh salad greens, or as a topping for roasted vegetables.
Make It for Picky Eaters: go light on the sauce when you serve the carnitas.
Grease the interior of the slow cooker crock with butter or nonstick cooking spray.
In a small bowl, mix together the salt, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, coriander, and cinnamon. Rub the spice mixture all over the pork roast, holding it over the cooker so any get-away spices fall into the cooker. Lay the rubbed roast in the prepared crock.
Pour the chicken broth down along the sides of the cooker (you don’t want to wash off the rub). Lay in the bay leaves.
Cover. Cook on Low 8 to 10 hours, or until the pork shreds easily with a fork. Remove and discard the bay leaves.
If you’re home, turn the meat over after it has cooked 4 hours. If you can’t do this, the flavor will still be good.
Remove the pork from the crock and use 2 forks to shred it.
Place the shredded meat in a bowl. Stir in the orange juice. Add some of the liquid remaining in the crock to moisten the meat as much as you want.
If you have time, preheat your oven to 400°F. Spread the meat on 1 or 2 large, greased baking sheets. Bake it for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the meat begins to crisp on the bottom and around the edges. Then broil it for 5 minutes or so, drizzling it with additional sauce so it continues to get crispy but doesn’t burn.
Serve the pork as filling for tamales, enchiladas, and/or burritos, with desired toppings. Or, serve it on buns or over white rice.
Excerpted from Stock the Crock by Phyllis Good. Copyright © 2017 Oxmoor House.