PACE PICANTE SAUCE CARNITAS



As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received two complimentary jars of Pace Picante Sauce for me to experiment in the kitchen.  And as soon as they arrived, I knew exactly which recipe I wanted to try: carnitas. Carnitas mean "little meats" in Spanish and is traditionally made with beautifully marbled and muscled cuts of pork, which are tenderized over hours of low heat into sublime perfection. This is slow-food at its best. 




The traditional recipe for carnitas calls for simmering meat in pork fat, which is absolutely divine! However given the push for healthier alternatives, salsa can be used in place of pork fat. This is a simple recipe that can be made in a crock pot or simmered in a pot on the stove top over a few hours. At minimum, this recipe requires only a 2-3 pound slab of boneless pork shoulder roast, and a jar of salsa. If you want to jazz up the sauce, you can add your favorite spices to give an additional layers of flavors.  My favorite recipe for carnitas has several recommended spices you may consider adding, such as cinnamon, cumin, ancho chiles and bay leaves, which makes the sauce even more delicious!



CARNITAS RECIPE
Ingredients
  • 2-3 lbs pork boneless shoulder
  • 2 cups salsa, I used Pace Picante
  • 2 cups water (omit if using slow-cooker)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin seeds (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander seeeds (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ancho (or smoked) chile powder (optional)
  • 1 cinnamon stick (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed (optional)
Method:
  1. Place the pork shoulder fat side up in a pot, preferably enameled cast iron. Add all of the ingredients to a large pot. Bring to a boil before lowering the heat to a gentle simmer for 2-3 hours. Flip over the meat each hour. Using a tong, move the meat cuts a few times to keep pork from sticking to bottom of pan. Do not cover the pot. The meat is ready when it begins to flake when picked by a fork.
  2. You may serve the carnitas cubed or shredded. If you decide to slice the meat into cubes, the pieces should measure roughly 1/2 inch per side. To shred the braised pork, using a fork hold down a cut of meat on a plate, and using another fork pull it across the meat in the opposite direction. The meat should fall apart effortlessly.
For tacos
Serve the carnitas either cubed or shredded over soft corn tortillas, with a dollop of guacamole, and garnished with shredded cabbage, diced onion, cheese and cilantro.


Related recipes:

Seven Spice Carnitas recipe
Corn Tortilla recipe

51 comments:

♥peachkins♥ said...

it looks to die for...

KennyT said...

It looks yum, did you like the sauce?

Angie's Recipes said...

The pork shoulder braised with tomato based sauce...mmm...the first picture looks totally yummy.

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

Yum! I am going to take my little pork roast out of the freezer, this looks delicious and nice and easy!

My Carolina Kitchen said...

I've never made carnitas, but these look fabulous. Mexican food and salsa are some of our favorites.
Sam

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Your carnitas look great - such a nice winter supper! And I'm a fan of the slow cooker - so easy and such tender meat.

Emily said...

Your carnitas look absolutely gorgeous. I like your suggestions for spices, too.

Andrea@WellnessNotes said...

I have never made carnitas. Yours look soooooo good!!!!

Chef E said...

You just made me think of what I am having for lunch!

Also seeing Pace Picante sauce rings in that old commercial...about the hot sauce being from NYC, and the old cowboys...

Yummy girl, simply yummy!

doggybloggy said...

nice straight forward method with outstanding results - but doesnt all the acid react with the cast iron?

Mama Freemans' cafe' said...

This looks great and I am making my menu for the next 2 weeks. Good idea.You might be getting some of my weather in the next few days , just not so intense.

Fresh Local and Best said...

Thanks for the comments! I hope everyone had a great holiday!

KennyT- I think the sauce is okay if you only use salsa. I added a tablespoon of cumin, ancho chile powder, coriander, a bay leaf, and a cinnamon stick, so it was good.

doggybloggy- I used a Le Creuset pan, which is enameled. Thanks for pointing that out, so that I can be more specific in the directions.

Joanne said...

I have been meaning to make carnitas in my crockpot since I got it....almost a year ago! This was definitely the perfect use for that hot sauce. They look amazing.

Julia said...

Carnitas! This looks fabulous, and you know how I love my crock pot. This will be made very soon...

A Year on the Grill said...

Why I just happen to have a pork shoulder in my freezer. I am saving this to make soon. Personally, i am against boiling meat, so i need to ponder if this makes a good wet rub if I decide to smoke them...

hmmmmmmmmmm

girlichef said...

LOVE carnitas!!!! And with Pace even, huh...they look awesome...great job :D

Velva said...

I was just staring at a pork shoulder in my freezer trying to figure out what I should do with it- I think it has just been decided. Thanks!

Happy New Year to you!!!!

Ravenous Couple said...

great one pot recipe! we're still thinking of how to use ours! Sorry for being so late on the package, but it'll be on it's way!

Diana Bauman said...

I love carnitas, beautiful!

Mimi said...

We love carnitas and your version looks pretty tasty.
Mimi

Kitchen Butterfly said...

New to the world of carnitas, I'm determined to try this with some leftover turkey breast!!! Thanks

Unplanned Cooking said...

Looks good - what do you think of the tastemaker program?

Lea Ann said...

I love this recipe. Will be trying it soon!

and this blog said...

ohhhh loooks good!!!!!! how can i get into this tastemaker program? =P

Chow and Chatter said...

oh wow looks awesome great job, beat hubs liked this one!

megan said...

oh yum, these look incredible. I've never had carnitas before, but now I definitely want to make them!

Fresh Local and Best said...

Thanks for the comments everyone!

Unplanned cooking - This is the first item I have received, and so far it's great. The only caveat for the free item is that you must share on your blog how you use the item.

And this blog - Here's the link to become a tastemaker: http://www.foodbuzz.com/pages/tastemaker-program

Cinnamon-Girl Reeni♥ said...

This looks absolutely delicious! So tender and loaded with spicy flavor!

Sook said...

Looks like a great recipe!

Michelle said...

Every Saturday my husband watches a local food show and they test recipes and product. A few weeks ago they had a taste test for picante sauce and Pace won hands down.

MaryMoh said...

This looks very delicious. A great recipe to have, just add everything into the pot and let it boil. It's my type of cooking. Thanks for sharing.

Romaine said...

Would this be good in a crock pot? Sure looks good.

lululu said...

such a comfort food perfect for winter. and i love the addition of spice!

Erica said...

I love Mexican food!!!!Those carnitas look and sound delicious! Happy new year!

Lori Lynn said...

Your carnitas look great!

My brother says Pace is his absolute favorite.
LL

Gera @ SweetsFoods said...

This picante (hot) recipe looks scrumptious. With tortillas or nachos is wonderful :)

Have a Sweet and Happy New Year 2010!!

Cheers,

Gera

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

I have this simmering in my crockpot at the moment - awesome! It is freezing out and hubby will love coming home to this. Thanks again!

Tricia said...

This looks incredible and simple--two things that are a must in my book! Can't wait to try it! Hope you had a great holiday! Happy New Year!

Lynda said...

This looks fantastic! I like your choice of spices for these carnitas. Mexican food sounds so good after all the heavy food of the Christmas season.

Donna-FFW said...

That looks like a most fantastic use for the sauce. Sounds delightful.

Alison said...

Thank you for visiting my blog! This recipe looks very good! And your photos are just beautiful!!

Sarah said...

Mmmmm, I had carnitas for lunch this afternoon and they were delicious!!! Yours look amazing.

nancy at goodfoodmatters said...

I believe that your spice enhancements--especially the cinnamon, which can be such a surprise, really enlivened this dish. Great job! Pork shoulder makes such rich and juicy carnitas.

Best wishes for all good thnigs in the new year. Thanks for sharing-

Danielle said...

Oh yum!! pefect timing...I'm making carnitas tomorrow :) Happy New Year!

Chef E said...

I just noticed the comment on acid and cast iron- If it is a well seasoned cast iron pan there is not problem, but a new one, it is not recommended...cast iron can add a lot of flavor to a dish!

Just sayin'...

Fresh Local and Best said...

Thanks for the comment Chef E!

Romaine - yes this recipe works well for the cock pot.

Debinhawaii said...

Looks delicious! Nothing like yummy pulled pork in any form. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Good fill someone in on and this enter helped me alot in my college assignement. Gratefulness you for your information.

Rosemaryandthegoat said...

Looks wonderful. The meat looks so tender.

The Cooking Photographer said...

Christine this looks fantastic!

Laura

pegasuslegend said...

Congrats on the contest well deserved winner!!!!