Serves 4 to 6

Crispy cubes of roasted savory meat, carnitas is a staple of the Mexicans and Guatemalans who have settled in the American Midwest. It’s terrific tossed with pasta or folded into a tortilla. Serve carnitas over creamy polenta or mashed sweet potatoes or with real cornbread and a side of braised red or green cabbage.


  • 2 pounds pork, lamb, or goat, diced into ½-inch cubes
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño, minced
  • 1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a mixing bowl, toss the meat with the oil, garlic, jalapeño, onion, and ancho chili powder.

Season the meat with salt and pepper.

Spread the meat on a baking sheet and roast, stirring once or twice, until it is nicely browned and crisp, about 15 to 20 minutes.

From The Northern Heartland Kitchen (University of Minnesota Press) by Beth Dooley.


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