Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Cheap Bastid's Carnitas With Salsa Verde

Cheap Bastid hasn’t been around for a couple of weeks. I started a new job and it’s been taking all my energy and attention getting settled in. Plus, I haven’t been cooking as much because more than half the time I work until 8:30 and don’t feel like cooking when I get home.

Plus, last week’s Thanksgiving kind of took all my cooking attention. I developed a couple of new recipes that I’ll share soon. (I created a new Green Bean Casserole recipe that does not require “cream of anything” soup and it’s both easy and good tasting). And, I experimented and came up with a “new for me” pie crust recipe that I hope to try again at Christmas and “perfect” (it’s a “no shortening” recipe because Cheap Bastid won’t spend 3 and a half bucks on a small can of shortening). Here’s a picture of the pie when it came out of the oven.

Last week, I tried a new recipe that I concocted for Carnitas—basically burritos made from shredded pork—with Salsa Verde (green sauce). Now, the first thing you have to do to make Carnitas is to make shredded pork and that’s really simple. Just get a pork shoulder or butt roast at the grocery store when it’s on special (about $1 a pound). Take out your crock pot/slow cooker/dutch oven.

If you want, sear the roast on the grill or in a pan on the stove (I like the grill because the smoke from the high heat searing stays where it belongs—outside). You should be heating up your cooker while doing this and have about 3 cups of water in it. For a little extra flavor, add some beef or chicken stock along with a half cup of chopped onion and some chopped celery.

(I use boxed chicken stock or beef stock cubes that I make by pouring left over liquids from slow cooking a beef roast into ice cube trays and freezing then dropping 2 or 3 cubes into the cooker to get better flavor).

Now add some salt, black pepper and garlic, put the pork roast in the cooker and leave it alone for 4 or 5 hours on medium (just hot enough for the liquid to “roll” a bit). When it’s done, take the roast out of the pot, let it cool for a few minutes and then shred it with 2 forks or with a fork and knife—that’s the “hardest” part of this whole thing.

We used half the shredded pork to make pulled BBQ pork sandwiches and the other half to make the carnitas a couple of nights later. NOW you’re ready for the Carnitas with Salsa Verde recipe and here it is:

Carnitas with Salsa Verde
1-1 ½ lb shredded pork
1 pkg small burrito sized flour tortillas
1 can green enchilada sauce
1 can green chilies
8 oz shredded cheese (cheddar, jack or a mix)
Diced tomato
Shredded lettuce
Sour cream if you want

Put the shredded pork in a medium skillet over medium heat. You shouldn’t need to add oil to it due to the fat in the pork. Bring to heat and check bottom for just a bit of browning (about the same way you’d do hash browns). Then stir and flip for a bit more heating and browning. This will give just a hint of “crust” and “dry” the meat a bit more. Add the enchilada sauce and chilies. This is going to look “wet and mushy” and that’s OK. Turn heat down a bit and let everything simmer together and the sauce reduce down until it’s “dry” enough to spoon on a burrito without saturating the burrito. Taste test while simmering and if more flavor is needed add a bit of salt or garlic and/or some cayenne or chipotle or habanero for a bit more kick.
Have the other ingredients (tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, sour cream) ready. Spoon some of the meat mixture into a burrito, add some tomato and lettuce and cheese and sour cream and enjoy.

This smells fantastic when it’s simmering. It doesn’t look that pretty cooking but that’s the meat with light green stuff simmering in it. There’s a great marriage of the meat and chilies and enchilada sauce that will have your nose happy and your mouth watering. Then, when you’re eating, you’ll really be enjoying the flavor of this simple dish.

So, now for the Cheap Bastid Test. The cost of the meat for this meal is about $1.50 and the chilies and sauce cost about $1.60 at the Dollar Store. The most expensive thing is the cheese which costs about $2.50 for an 8 oz. bag and you’ll use about half a bag. Lettuce and tomato cost about 50 cents. So, the total for this meal is $5.20 and it’ll feed 3 easily. That comes out to $1.70 each. Try getting 2 or 3 Carnitas Verde burritos anywhere for that! Can’t be done.
And that’s the Cheap Bastid Way: Eat Good, Eat Cheap, Be Grateful!

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