Sunday, May 18, 2014

Carnitas for a crowd.

Yesterday was party time for a friend who just happened to celebrate his birthday by inviting a little group.

One of the delicacies of Mexican Cooking is called Carnitas.

Traditionally carnitas are cooked in a large copper pot which is efficient for heat distribution almost the same ways as you would make confit.  You know, duck confit don't you?

The lard of the pig is used to cover the meat which is typically made from heavily marbled boston butt or picnic ham cuts of pork. The meat is simmered over a low heat for several hours until all the collagen has been broken down sufficiently to allow it to be pulled apart like you do with pulled pork.  ( thin, tiny shreds ). They toss in some seasonings like bay leaves, salt, cumin, oregano garlic and chile's. Once the meat has gotten to the stage where it is tender, they then turn up the heat to crisp the outside to oneness. What is left are the tender meat pieces along with the pig skin which still a layer of fat remains.

Placing some of the meat along with a strip of fat into a tortilla, adding some salsa or just cilantro leaves and enjoying is pretty much a stellar experience. The strip of fat adds additional flavor and moisture to the taco.

In addition to the simple easy taco, you can use the meat for tamales,tortas and burritos or simply by itself with a little hot sauce for that extra "kick"

There is a small town on the North side of Lake Patzcuaro, called Quiroga, which is know for it's carnitas. I have written about it several years ago and if you ever get the chance to venture there, it is an pleasant experience to visit the multitude of vendors selling "their special" carnitas recipe.

 In the picture you can see the meat in one dish and the strips of skin in the other.

You might think that it is an awfully fat, heavy dish, but in reality most of the fat has been melted away and what remains is simply delicious!

The party started around 2:00 in the afternoon , the entertainment first was a singer who did about an hour of various popular songs of Juan Gabriel, Vicente Fernandez, Jose Jose and a few others.  After the warm up cam a 6 piece band or "show" as they called themselves, the "Allegria Show" which was a group from Quiroga including two dancers, one of which doubled as a impersonator of popular TV characters ranging from Mickey Mouse to Don Francisco.

After several hours of overly loud , loud speakers blasting into the confined crowd of about a hundred, which was about 7:00 we decided to eject ourselves from the festivities only after having a enjoyable shot or two of some Mescal with our host.

Today, Sunday will be used to relax in relative quietness......

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