Slow Cooker Low Fat Carnitas

As promised, I am breaking out my slow cooker this year!  I present to you a recipe that is not only easy, it is lean and it is insanely flavorful.

Carnitas is basically Mexican pulled pork. Traditionally, it’s slowly cooked for hours with a very fatty cut of meat and tons of herbs and spices until the meat breaks down into juicy pieces. Then, it’s fried in its own fat until some pieces are juicy and tender and others are crispy and crackly. It’s often served in warm tortillas with tart tomatillo salsa.

This is the easier, leaner version. And it’s fantastic, if I do say so myself.

Don’t skimp on the fresh orange juice – it totally transforms the taste of the pork. And also, don’t expect it to be as delicious as carnitas made from a fattier cut of meat – fat is always best. But considering how tight my jeans are, loin is really a better choice here.

Besides, I topped it with quite a hefty amount of guac and Greek yogurt, so I got my fat in that way.


Slow Cooker Low Fat Carnitas:

carnitas Ingredients:

1.5 lbs. pork loin, cut into chunks, fat left on

3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

1 large onion, cut into thick slices

juice and zest of 2 oranges

1/2 cup of beer

2 bay leaves

3 smoked chipotles in adobo, plus the sauce from the can

2 tbsp. each taco seasoning(including salt), coriander, and cinnamon

toppings: scallions, lime juice, cilantro, guacamole, etc.

IMG_0617 1. Dump all ingredients except garnishes – yes, ALL ingredients – into your slow cooker. Turn it on high and let it cook for 6 – 8 hours.
IMG_0620 2. When it is falling apart and tender, it is done. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly. You can eat this like a hearty Mexican stew or…
IMG_0631 3. You may refrigerate it over night. Just ignore that grease that hardens on top. It’ the flavor and there is so little fora huge amount of meat that you really need it. I recommend letting this sit for a night because, like most slow cooked food, this gets much better with some resting time over night.
IMG_0635 4. Shred with a fork, a la pulled chicken, then reheat gently in a saucepan.

IMG_0637 5. Serve with accompaniments and enjoy.

This is why the slow cooker rocks. It makes a vibrant, healthy, wonderfully tasty meal with almost no work at all – just some very simple prep. The beer makes the pork tender and savory and the chipotles add a smoky, gentle heat. The orange juice is a key player here. It adds a sweet, fresh tang to the meat – that’s why lime juice, which echoes the citrus, is so great as a garnish. The meat is very tender, like short ribs, and though it can be a little dry (because it has almost no fat), it’s ideal in a burrito or taco salad.

IMG_0642 Spicy, soft, meaty, and low fat, to boot…if this doesn’t convince you to buy a slow cooker, I don’t know what will!