1 medium onion
3 lbs boneless pork butt (shoulder)
rind removed & cut into 2 inch cubes
Kosher salt
1 medium orange
6 cloves garlic
split in half
2 bay leaves
1 stick cinnamon
broken into pieces
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 lb tomatillos
husked and rinsed
4 serrano chiles
or 2 jalapenos
2 large garlic cloves
1 small onion
finely chopped
1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
loosely packed
3 large Hass avocados
1 to 1 ½ cup roasted green salsa
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Salt to taste
Crispy and tender Mexican pork.
For the Carnitas
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 275 degrees. Split onion into quarters. Set aside. Season pork chunks with 1 tablespoon salt and place in a 9 by 13 glass casserole dish or a half hotel pan. Important: The pork should fill the dish with no spaces. Split orange into quarters and squeeze juice over pork. Nestle squeezed orange pieces into casserole. Add 2 onion quarters, 4 cloves garlic, bay leaves, and cinnamon stick to casserole. Nestle everything into an even layer. Pour vegetable oil over surface. Cover dish tightly with aluminum foil and place in oven. Cook until pork is fork tender, about 3 1/2 hours.
Set large fine-meshed strainer 1 quart liquid measure or bowl. Using tongs, remove orange peel, onion, garlic, cinnamon stick, and bay leaves from pork. and transfer pork liquid to strainer. Let drain for 10 minutes. Transfer pork back to casserole. You should end up withabout 1/2 cup liquid and 1/2 cup fat. Using a flat spoon or de-fatter, skim fat from surface and add back to pork. Shred pork into large chunks with fingers or two forks. Season to taste with salt. Refrigerate until ready to serve. You can use the flavorful liquid leftover in a cooked green salsa if desired.
Place unshredded chunks of carnitas in a large frying pan with the fat and heat to crisp the edges. Watch carefully, if you cook the pork too long it will dry out. Tent with foil to keep warm.
For the Salsa Verde
Roast the tomatillos and the chiles on a baking sheet under a very hot broiler until darkly roasted and blackened in spots, about 5 minutes. Flip them over and roast the other side, 3 to 5 minutes, until soft and cooked through. Cool on the baking sheet. Alternatively, line a griddle or cast iron frying pan with foil and heat over medium heat. Place the tomatillos, chiles and unpeeled garlic on the foil. Roast, turning occasionally, until blackened in spots and soft, 5 to 10 minutes for the chiles and tomatillos, about 15 for the garlic. Cool, then pull the stems from the chiles and peel the garlic.
In a large mortar, use the pestle to crush the garlic, chiles and about ¼ teaspoon salt until mashed to a paste. Add the tomatillos in a few at a time, transferring some of the ground mixture to a serving bowl if the mortar gets to full. Rinse the finely chopped onions in a strainer under cold water, shake a few times and add to the salsa, along with the cilantro. Add between ¼ and ½ cup water, to give the salsa an easily spoonable consistency. Taste and season with salt, about ½ to 1 teaspoon. The salsa should be eaten within a few hours after adding the onions and cilantro.
For the Green Guacamole
Mash avocados with salt and stir in green salsa to taste. Add cilantro and more salt to taste.
To Serve
Top with salsa verde, chopped onions and cilantro or a simple cabbage salad and queso fresco (optional).