Here in our tiny Swiss kitchen, I often have to be creative when I cook. It isn’t just the ingredients that can be a challenge, but also allowing for the available utensils, pots, oven space, etc (we brought almost nothing from our own kitchen).
I wanted to make a TexMex speciality, Carnitas, for some guests that we had coming for lunch this afternoon. I found two recipes on the internet but I either didn’t have the right ingredients, or the right kinds of pots (i.e. something that could go from stove to oven). I’m a very adept and adaptable chef, and have learned from the best, so I came up with a recipe of my own and it was so good that I decided to share it as an example of getting creative with a lack of resources.
I served my Carnitas with caramelized onions and red and yellow bell peppers, fresh guacamole, sour cream, English Cheddar (that’s the only kind we can get here, but it is yummy!), spicy beans, and rice. And since I didn’t have the time or gumption to go all the way into Zurich to the Mexican import shop to get the really good tortillas, I picked up some awesome flat-breads from the Turkish market just down the road from our flat. They were practically the same as tortillas and soaked up all the juices from the meat and veggies quiet well.
Carnitas a la Krys
2.5 (or so) pounds pork shoulder, trimmed of about a 2/3 of the fat (keeping some of the fat is important to get them nice and crispy)
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon HOT chili powder (I used a mystery pack I found locally that was quite hot. I’d suggest ancho chili powder for those in the US).
1 tablespoon cumin
3 cloves garlic, peeled and thickly sliced
2 tsp salt
2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 1/2 cups orange juice
3 cups water
Cut pork into strips (three inches by one inch), add to a large pot with the remaining ingredients. Gently stir once, bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered on low for 2 hours. Do not touch the meat.
After two hours, remove cinnamon sticks, turn heat up to medium high, and continue to cook until all the liquid has evaporated and the pork fat has rendered – about 45 minutes. Stir a few times, to keep pork from sticking to bottom of pan. Pork can be set aside, covered, under low or no heat until you get the rest of your meal prep ready.
When you are ready to serve, return pork back to the stove on medium heat until the pork is crispy and caramelized to your satisfaction.
Sorry I don’t have ay pictures of my delicious experiment – everything got gobbled up before I could think about it! 🙂