Carnitas means "little meats" and is prepared by braising or roasting the meat until it is fork tender.
Servings: Serves 8
Chipotle Chile Carnitas
  • 2 pounds pork shoulder (or pork butt), trimmed of fat
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 small white onion , coarsely chopped
  • 2 whole garlic cloves , peeled
  • 1 Tbsp. sea salt
  • Cracked black pepper , to taste
  • 8 cups chicken stock , homemade or commercial
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 8 - 9" flour or whole wheat tortillas or whole wheat tortillas , wrapped in tin foil
Chipotle Sauce
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 pounds Roma tomatoes , sliced in half from top to bottom
  • Kosher salt , to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 canned chipotle chile peppers in adobo, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup Mexican créma or sour cream in a squeeze bottle
  • 1 ripe avocado , peeled, pitted and diced
Additional Garnish Suggestions
  • Sliced avocado or guacamole
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Minced onions
  • Red or green salsa
  • Sour cream
  • Refried beans
  • Shredded cheese
  • Lime wedge
Make the Chipotle Sauce first.

Preheat the oven to 250°. Place the sliced tomatoes on a baking sheet, sprinkle generously with Kosher salt, and add a likewise generous sprinkle of cracked black pepper to taste.

Drizzle approximately 1/4 cup olive oil over the tomatoes, and then bake in the oven for 3 hours. Remove from the oven, let cool, and then gently pull the skins off. Chop the tomatoes into small chunks.

Heat a skillet on medium high for 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup olive oil and the chopped tomatoes. Add thyme, oregano, cloves, cinnamon stick, and chipotle chiles. Stir to combine, simmer for a very few minutes, and then add salt if necessary. Cover and set aside until the pork is done. This sauce can be made the night before.

To make the Carnitas, preheat the oven to 325°. Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a saucepan. Meanwhile, heat a heavy oven-proof pot or Dutch Oven for 2 minutes on the stove at a medium high heat. Add the olive oil and heat for an additional 30 seconds. Season the pork with salt and pepper and sear until golden brown on all sides.

Lower the heat to medium, add the onions to the pot and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes to bring out the natural juices.

Add the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Sprinkle on the salt and black pepper.

Carefully pour in the hot chicken stock to cover about 3/4 of the way up the side of the pork. Add the thyme and oregano and cover the pot. Cook in the oven for 4 hours.

Ten minutes before the pork is ready, place the wrapped tortillas in the oven to warm.

Remove the pork from the oven and place on a cutting board. Using a fork, shred the pork and add it to the pot with the Chipotle Sauce. Add two ladles of the chicken stock and mix together. Heat through on medium low heat.

Take a warm tortilla and place a generous portion of the Carnitas on top, drizzle with Mexican créma and avocados and whatever other toppings you choose. Fold over and enjoy!

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 0 minutes
Cook Time: 7 hours