My slow cooker entries (ridiculously easy ribs and the mongolian beef) have gone over so well that I’ve decided to write yet another one. Since slow cooker meals are so easy and convenient, I’m going to try to feature one on an at least biweekly basis.
Last night, I made slow cooker carnitas from this recipe. Essentially, you rub a huge pork shoulder roast with spices, place it into the crock pot with two cups of chicken broth and a couple of bay leaves, and let it go for 10 hours. Sounds simple (and it is!), but oh.my.god. The flavor! The texture of the meat (perfect balance of tender and chewy)! The way the meat practically shreds itself! The versatility (use it for soft tacos one night and BBQ pork sandwiches the next)! I have to stop talking about this now, or I’ll start drooling. Suffice to say that it was a hit with the whole family. It’s also pretty healthy (if you don’t pile on the sour cream and cheese in taco form, that is!). The recipe below makes enough meat for 10 servings, with each serving weighing in at only 220 calories. Pair it with whole-grain tortillas and some veggies, and you’re looking at a satisfying meal that won’t break your calorie budget (or make you feel guilty about eating a huge dessert afterward ;)).
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 (4 pound) boneless pork shoulder roast
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cups chicken broth
- If desired, for serving: tortillas, sour cream, salsa, shredded cheese, scallions
Combine the salt, garlic powder, cumin, dried oregano, coriander and cinnamon in a small bowl. Place the bay leaves on the bottom of the slow cooker insert.
Cut as much of the fat off the pork roast as you can, then rub the spices onto the roast. Place the roast into the slow cooker, on top of the bay leaves. Carefully pour the broth around the roast (avoid rinsing the the spices off the meat). Cover the slow cooker and cook for 10 hours. Halfway through the cooking time, turn the roast over.
After 10 hours, transfer the roast into a large bowl (I had to do this in batches because the meat was so tender that it wouldn’t move in one piece!) and shred with two forks.
If necessary, moisten with some of the cooking liquid. I made soft tacos for Johnny and Jack, the tortilla fans in the family, with Mexican rice on the side (just used a boxed mix).
For me and Derek (the tortilla-indifferent members of the family), I just served the meat over rice, with salsa on the side. It was delicious both ways. Tonight, I’m going to stir barbecue sauce into the ample leftover shredded pork and serve that over whole wheat buns, along with side salads. What would busy moms do without leftovers, seriously?! That’s another reason to love crock pot meals — so often, there’s enough to feed the family for two days.
Speaking of slow cooker recipes, if there are any you’d like to see featured on the blog (either one of your favorites, or one you’d like to try), please leave me a comment or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!