Carnitas is a Mexican recipe to prepare pork: slow cooked in lots of lard. This will make the pork tender and juicy on the inside, with some crisp edges on the outside. With sous-vide and a broiler you can get a similar result that is very tasty and does not require a bucket of lard. Although carnitas are traditionally made using pork shoulder, I used pork belly instead to make up for not using lard. I used the leftover pork juices to make quick but delicious refried beans. Here’s what I did…
For 4 servings
700 grams (1.5 lb) pork belly
freshly squeezed orange juice from 1 orange
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp minced garlic or garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chipotle powder
guacamole or avocado and lime juice
pico de gallo or tomato wedges
In a small bowl combine the salt, ground cumin, dried oregano, chipotle powder, black pepper, and garlic, and stir to mix.
Rub the pork belly with the spice mix on all sides.
Vacuum seal the pork with orange juice. There are three options for this: a chamber vacuum sealer, ziplock bags with the water displacement method, or freezing the orange juice first and then using a regular vacuum sealer.
Cook sous-vide for 24 hours at 74C/165F.
Preheat the broiler. Reserve the juices from the bag and ‘pull’ the pork using two forks.
Arrange the ‘pulled’ pork in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
Drizzle with the fat that will float on top of the reserved bag juices.
Broil on the highest setting and close to the broiler (i.e. as hot as possible) until the edges of the meat are crispy, about 5 minutes.
Warm up the remaining reserved juices in a saucepan, and add a few tablespoons of those juices to the broiled meat.
Stir to coat the meat with the juices.
Add a drained can of black beans to the remaining juices in the saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat, and use an immersion blender to puree the beans. This is a quick and easy way to make refried beans.
Taste and adjust the seasoning, which is probably not needed.
Serve the carnitas with tortillas, the refried beans, guacamole or avocado with lime juice, pico de gallo or tomato wedges, and cilantro.