January 22, 2013

Beer Braised Carnitas

When the temperature drops and I don't want to leave the house my favorite thing to do is make something hearty and comforting.  I decided I wanted to try something new this past weekend, something I've enjoyed for many years, but never actually attempted in my own kitchen.  Beer braised carnitas!!  It is actually a very simple recipe, and I highly recommend it!

4lb Boneless Pork Butt
1 Jalapeño Pepper (chopped and seeded)
4 Garlic Cloves (slightly crushed)
Garlic Granules or Powder
Chili Powder
1 Cup Water

Cut the pork butt into 2 inch pieces.  Season the meat with salt, pepper, garlic granules, and chili powder and set aside.  In a heavy pot or dutch oven sauté the jalapeño in a little bit of olive oil for about 5 minutes.  Then add everything (pork, garlic cloves, beer, and water) to the pot.  Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to low and let it simmer covered for 60-80 minutes or until the pork is fork tender.  At this point remove the lid and continue to let it simmer until the liquid evaporates and the pork starts to brown slightly.  As you stir it at this point the pork will shred and pull apart.

You can serve this meat in tacos, on top of nachos, in a simple pasta dish, or even on a sandwich!  Tons of options, so your imagination is the limit....  Since we were watching the football game on Sunday night I decided to turn it into nachos!  The perfect finger food dinner while sitting in front of the TV.

I filled sheet pan with my favorite Green Mountain Tortilla Strips, and layered the chips with black beans, shredded Cabot cheddar, jalapeños, pickled banana peppers, and of course the carnitas.  I baked them for about 15 minutes at 350 to get the cheese melted and then popped them under the broiler to brown up the edges of the chips slightly.  Be sure to keep a close eye on them if you use the broiler!  You do not want to burn the nachos.  I served these with some guacamole, salsa, and hot sauce.  DELICIOUS!

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