Both UT and ACC have reported students who are infected with coronavirus. Neither cancelled classes. Kid 1 goes to UT. Kid 2 goes to ACC. I get to doomsday prep.
For two years I have resisted purchasing a second freezer. For two years I have only bought enough frozen groceries for a week at a time. Well, not more. With the possible quarantine looming, I have fallen off the wagon. I asked Gordon to buy me a 7 cubic foot stand up freezer. For a grand total of $250, I now have a magic cold box that stores my meat in the garage. And I have filled it!
Que demonic laughter: Muhahahahaha!
Okay, so I didn’t fill it all the way, but there are meats in there.
With that in mind, I wanted to share a simple recipe with you. This is one of the easiest recipes to make, and it’s my officially designated cook-when-sick recipe. To be assigned this designation, a recipe must meet strict criteria.
- It must be simple to prepare. Best if it involved throwing all the ingredients into a pot and turning the heat on.
- It must not include any easily perishable ingredients like fresh mushrooms or avocados. Pantry ingredients are best.
- It must make decent leftovers, because nobody wants to continuously cook.
- 1- 1 1/2 lbs pork carnita meat. It’s usually just chunks of pork shoulder roast.
- 1 tsp garlic powder or three large cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp Rustic Italian herbs or 1 /2 tsp dry oregano, 1/2 tsp dried basil. You can fiddle around with this, but basically you want dry aromatic herbs
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp of cinnamon. Go easy on the cinnamon, a little goes a long way when it comes to pairing it with meat.
- 1 tsp salt
- If you want your carnitas a bit spicier, you can toss 1/2 tsp of chill powder in there or not
- 2-3 bay leaves
- 2 cups chicken broth or water
Put the bay leaves on the bottom of the slow cooker. In a large bowl combine all of the spices and mix them together. Add pork and mix until the meat is thoroughly coated. Transfer meat to a slow cooker. Pour water into the bowl to get whatever spices are left and carefully pour it around the sides of the meat in the slow cooker, taking care not to rinse the spices off the pork. Cover.
Now you have options. Some people cook it on low for about 5 hours, flip the meat over, and cook it for another 5. I don’t have that kind of patience. I cook it on high for about 2-3 hours, then flip it over, and then cook for about 3 hours more. If you don’t want to mess with it at all, you need to chop pork into smaller pieces and make sure that water just barely covers it. It smells awesome while it cooks.
Once the meat is down, shred it with a fork, pick out and discard the tough bits, and add a little bit of liquid to keep it nice and moist.
You can serve the meat in soft tacos. You can serve it by itself with a baked potato. If you want it to go an extra mile, add some BBQ sauce and serve it on a bun. I’ve also shredded it, added BBQ sauce, and popped into the oven for about 20 minutes at 375 to get the sauce cooked a bit more with the meat.
Please feel free to share your own cook-when-sick recipes in the comments. If we are all stuck at home, at least we can have yummy food.