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Hi, I’m Jan Ashby  jan ashby

Today’s post is for Cinco di Mayo celebrations.  I have gone and located a really special Carnitas recipe which involves the use of milk (a vital component). The recipe calls for four to six lbs of Boston butt or Pork Shoulder – the cut of meat is important, so don’t substitute.  Additionally, the recipe calls for garlic cloves – and you may use minced garlic, if you are accustomed to making this kind of substitution.

This particular recipe is taken from Google Books – it is Bruce Aidells recipe, and is originally from The Complete Meat Cookbook

I have also included a DIY Sangria recipe, as well as one for Lime Mesquite chicken.

Spice it Thrice:

1.  Sangria

To celebrate Cinco de Mayo, here is a rather strong recipe for Sangria:

* 3 1/4 cups ( 26 fl. oz) dry red wine
* 2 cups (16 fl. oz) sparkling apple juice
* 4 tablespoons gin
* 4 tablespoons citron-flavored vodka
* 2 tablespoons sugar
* Juice of 1 large orange
* Juice of 1 large lemon
* 1 small orange, sliced thin crosswise
* 1 small lemon, sliced thin crosswise
* 1 small lime, sliced thin crosswise

Preparation – Pour all the ingredients into a large pitcher, mix well, and refrigerate. Serve chilled with ice.

Cinco di Mayo Carnitas

2.   Carnitas

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp dried oregano (or 2 tsp fresh oregano)

1 Tbsp salt

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

4 – 6 lbs of pork shoulder or Boston butt – cut into 3 inch chunks (not trimmed closely as fat adds to the flavor)

1 Tbsp vegetable oil  (Olive oil works well)

2 Cups chopped onion

6 whole garlic cloves

2 bay leaves

2 Cups water

1 quart milk

Corn tortillas

Flavor Step: Mix all the seasonings together in a small bowl.  Rub the mixture on all sides of the meat, using up the entire amount. Heat the oil in a deep pot, heavy pot or dutch oven over high heat.  Put in the meat, in batches if necessary, and brown it on all sides, 7 to 10 minutes total.   (If you cooked the meat in batches, return it all to the pot)  Add the onions & garlic; stir well.  Reduce the heat to medium.  Cook, stirring often, until the onions begin to soften – about 5 minutes.  Add the bay leaves and water; cover and simmer for one and a half hours. Pour off the broth and save it to cook beans or to make a soup (degrease it before using).  Pour the milk over the meat and simmer until the milk has curdled and carmelized, and all the liquid has evaporated – about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  

The milk will form a golden brown coating on the meat.  Stir the sauce and turn the meat from time to time and lower the temperature if it begins to burn. When the pork is tender and browned, drain the fat off and discard bay leaves.  Serve at once.   To rewarm carnitas, place in oven at 350 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes, or until just warmed through.

3.  Lime Mesquite Chicken:   Lime Mesquite chicken

This recipe for grilled chicken, marinated in lime juice, and served with a cilantro infused black bean sauce comes from my dear friend Steve-Anna,  who,  by the way,  lives in Arizona,  and is clearly not afraid of using her grill in the summer desert heat.  Steve-Anna has contributed several recipes to this site, all winners.   Making this tonight, I was inspired to pull out the electric grill which hasn’t been used in years.   We cleaned it, reviewed the instructions, got it all set up, plugged it in, turned it on, and blew out the electricity in half of the house.

So much for the outdoor grill.  Plan B – the cast-iron grill pan – worked just fine.  We used 2 pounds of chicken breasts,  instead of the 1 1/2 the recipe calls for,  and cooked it for 30 minutes versus 20 in the recipe.   The breasts were perfectly done.  The black bean sauce is a must for the chicken.   I think I may add a little sour cream to it next time.   Thank you Steve-Anna, for yet another terrific recipe!

Grilled Lime Chicken with Black Bean Sauce Recipe:

Ingredients – Grilled Chicken Ingredients: Juice of 4-5 limes 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1/2 cup+ (more to taste) chopped fresh cilantro leaves 1 tsp dried oregano leaves 1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper 1/2 tsp kosher salt,  1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 1 red onion, halved then sliced into 1/4” strips.

Black Bean Sauce Ingredients: 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained, rinsed. 1 quart filtered water 2 bay leaves 2 cloves garlic (minced and crushed – I use a garlic press)  Stems from one bunch of cilantro, chopped into 1/4” bits (approx. 1/2 cup).   Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

1)  Combine the lime juice, olive oil, cilantro, oregano, salt and pepper in a glass bowl and mix well.   Trim the chicken breasts, then add to the marinade. Cover lightly and marinate, turning the chicken occasionally, for 2 hours at room temp  (or overnight in the fridge).

2)  Prepare Black Bean Sauce while chicken is marinating.  Place beans in a large sauce-pan or soup pan, and add all remaining ingredients.   Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer,  uncovered,  for about 1 1/2 hours.  Add additional water if needed.  Remove bay leaves, then transfer the bean mixture to a food processor.  Process well, adding water if needed to make desired consistency. (I haven’t needed to add any, and I like the sauce moderately thick).

3)  Preheat oven to 350° F, and prepare grill (gas or hot coals).  Place the red onion slices in the bottom of a shallow, oven-proof dish, then cover with chicken breasts and marinade.  Cover the dish loosely with aluminum foil, then bake for 15-20 minutes (only until the chicken is opaque).  Remove the chicken breasts and onions to a platter (separate them) and set aside.  Save the marinade for grilling.
Optional: If you prefer the onions cooked more, heat a skillet with an additional 1 tbsp of olive oil and cook over medium heat until the onions are very soft.  Drain and set aside.

4 )Place the chicken breasts on the grill over very hot coals or gas flame, and grill until they are thoroughly cooked but still moist (approximately 2 minutes on each side).  Drizzle with remaining marinade while cooking.  Remove to platter when grilled.  Serve the grilled chicken with the red onions, drizzle with the black bean sauce.   Garnish with sour cream, guacamole, tomatoes or fresh cilantro – or serve with a leafy green side salad – as desired.   Serves 4.

>> For More Delicious Recipes Click Here <<

Carnitas Recipes:  Chowhound  and  Epicurious Recipe for Carnitas


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