I always forget that I have a slow cooker—and that it's a very convenient way to get dinner on the table after a hectic day (ditto for my pressure cooker, but for the opposite reason). A few weeks ago I dragged it out of the cupboard and made carnitas.
2 lb. pork shoulder or butt (or boneless country-style ribs), cut into 2" chunks
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
2 tsp oregano
1 small onion, cut into wedges
Toss the pork with the seasonings in the slow cooker. Place the onion pieces on top. Cover and cook on Low for 6 hours. The meat should be very tender and falling apart. Transfer the pork with a slotted spoon to a cutting board (discard onion pieces). Shred the pork with your fingers.
We used the carnitas to make burritos. The meat was not all that flavorful; it served mostly as a vehicle for all the guacamole and other yummy toppings. Speaking of guacamole, I had a coupon for a free package of Wholly Guacamole. It contains no preservatives or other chemicals and was very tasty! I like to make my own, and I like the store-made guac at Whole Foods, but this is a good thing to have on hand. The box contained two "fresherized" packages, so I popped one in the freezer for another time—it can keep for 6 months.
Mexican Tomato Rice & Beans
1 cup medium-grain white rice (I like Goya.)
1 14½-oz. can "petite cut" diced tomatoes, undrained
2 Tbsp olive oil
6 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 medium jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
1 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
¼ cup finely chopped fresh oregano
¼ cup finely chopped fresh
In a small saucepan, combine the rice with 2 cups cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the pan stand, covered, for 5 minutes.
While the rice steams, set a fine sieve in a bowl and drain the can of tomatoes. Pour the tomato juices into a liquid measuring cup and add enough water to the tomato juices to equal 1 cup.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pour in the oil and stir-fry the garlic and jalapeño for about 1 minute. Add the black beans, salt, cumin, and chili powder, stir a few times to combine, and cook for about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato juice/water mixture and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans absorb most of the liquid, 5–7 minutes. Add the tomatoes, oregano,
cilantro parsley, and cooked rice and cook, stirring occasionally, for a minute or two. Serve immediately. (I didn't, and it didn't matter.)