A guest post by Devaki Das from Weave Thousand Flavors - Cantina Carnitas, Soft Tacos and Pico De Gallo.

Oh I miss being here, its been a month i logged in to see what is happening so many new comments and appreciation, sorry lovely people, last four week has been hysterical. I hardly slept but  now i'm bit on the relaxed side. Yesterday I submitted my articles and thesis for pre-examination. Officially my dissertation date is also marked, its 16th of Dec, my opponent is from IBM, USA:  I'm pretty excited, getting ready for open war haha...have less than a month to get prepared, fingers crossed, will put my best foot forward to work harder....shall soon post in my invitation for dissertation and party ...get prepared  to join me :)

Devaki Das from Weave Thousand Flavors is here to energies latent APL. Devaki isn't new here, most of you know she was the winner of zucchini competition. A lady who I adore, for all the scrumptious food she makes and the way she pens. I'm a person who lack when it comes to vocabulary, her blog is a dictionary for me to learn new words and note down in my own notebook of words, since until unless i write them down, it can never reach brain. All her prawn recipe brings me on my knees, one of which i have baked atleast 3-5 time so far is spanish style baked prawns and don't miss to read this post, me and mum so much enjoyed reading it, will related to every blogger family, few other favorites are rassavala chicken and tres leches cake. Devaki a bag full of thanks for accepting and do this post, bearing with me for delays, request and for the hug.... you are a sweetheart. So people here is Devaki from Weave Thousand Flavors which will take to the sunny lanes of soulful wide range of deliciousness and vivacious thoughts!

Oh ya as this is dangerously good pork recipe, as Devaki says and first pork recipe in apl! 

 For those of us who have been following Ananda here for any length of time are wise to a few things :
1.      Ananda is the reigning Queen of desserts & cakes
2.      There are few who rule the camera like she does
3.      And she is in the last throes of her doctoral thesis which makes us fellow bloggers oscillate between moments of awe to moments where we just want to give  her a big hug like a mama bear (well maybe that’s just me)
So when Ananda asked me to do a guest post on her blog, not only did I jump on the opportunity with a fair amount of gushing but decided to stay well clear on the subject of desserts and other such sugary delights.
Instead I bring you exciting spicy flavors from yonder - namely Mexico. Now most of you don’t know me from Adam and therefore I think we should kick off our first introductions on a proper footing i.e. complete honesty. You see when it comes to some eats I suffer from a predilection of culinary snobbery.
For those of us who lived or have for any length of time lived it those states of the US that abut the Mexican border, we've had the opportunity to taste some seriously good Mexican grub.
Not the kind that is regularly dished out to the unsuspecting folk in other parts of the world but the kind available in little cantinas, barrios and little abuela-owned hole-in-the-wall places.
So you will forgive me when I don't jump up and down in glee when you suggest we go for 'Mexican' in let's say – Maine or Paris. I mean no offense but I wouldn't dream of getting lobster rolls in Arizona or Paris - so there, we're even!
Now before I offer you the recipe for some of the very best Carintas you will ever chow on, let me be clear - there is no one true and blue recipe for Carnitas - it's a recipe that has evolved naturally with each family adding their own special twist. I know families who marinate theirs in orange juice, many in beer, some load theirs with hot serrano chiles and some who barely spice theirs at all.
My Carnitas have evolved over the time we spent in the Southwestern US. And I won't tweak it, change it or mess with it for all the Dos Equis in the world. The pork is spiced, marinated in beer overnight and then slow cooked for about 6 hours. Once shredded, I add no additional fat and saute it in its own juices till the meat is a rich mahogany brown.
The meat is served over griddle warmed corn tortillas with a touch of ghee  (oh yes! clarified butter has been used in traditional Mexican cooking for ages) & double layers of pan fried corn tortillas to soak up the juices of course!
Finally topped with Pico De Gallo. What makes this dangerously good? In addition to the usual ingredients of tomatoes, onions, cilantro and jalapenos, the trio of lime, beer, & sugar work their magic and takes this Pico De Gallo to a whole other level. 
Pork butt is the meat of choice which by the way has nothing to do with piggy bottom. It's rather the upper portion of the shoulder.

Enough talk - it's time to put the Carnitas where the mouth is & see for your self!

Gather the ingredients for :

4-5 lb pork butt, bone-in
1 jalapeno
4 garlic cloves
1 medium yellow onion,
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbs ground cumin
1 tbs New Mexico ground chile (or another chile with dry-heat)
2 cups beer Dos Equis or a South American beer of choice
2 limes
1/2 tbs salt
Pico De Gallo:
9 cocktail, campari or grape tomatoes (to yield 2 cups)
1 small red spanish onion (to yield 1/2 cup chopped)
2 garlic cloves
1 jalapeno chile,
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup beer
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 lime
Corn tortillas, 6-8 per person (2 per soft taco)
Ghee for pan frying

Prepare the ingredients -
Onion - Peel, discard ends and skin and roughly chop.
Garlic cloves - Peel, discard skin and cut into rounds.
Jalapeno - Halve. Do not deseed.
Limes - Halve and juice
In a non-reactive mixing bowl combine all the above ingredients including the ground chiles, cumin and cinnamon. Rub together with clean fingers.
Pork Butt - Cut into big chunks. Leave the fat and bone as-is.
Place the pork butt in a large gallon plastic, zip-loc bag. Add the marinade from the bowl into the bag and rub all over the meat. Wash hands throughly with soap and water. Just before sealing the bag, pour the beer in the bag. Seal bag and refrigerate, overnight.

Next morning - Before you head out to work or for a busy weekend : 
Remove the meat from the ziploc bag and place all its contents into the slow cooker. Set to cook for 6-8 hours on high setting.
Remove the meat on a platter or use a cookie sheet if you prefer - with a large slotted spoon. Leave the juices in the slow cooker for the moment. Using kitchen shears cut away and discard all excess fat and the bone. Using two forks shred the meat as best you can.
In a large saute pan add all the shredded meat and meat juices from the slow cooker.
Simmer on high heat till all the excess liquid has evaporated. Continue to saute on medium heat till the meat begins to stick at the bottom of the pan and the meat is a wonderful rich brown hue. This whole process should take about 30-40 minutes.
The meat will cook in its own fat and will be incredibly moist and juicy. Taste and adjust salt if needed.

Meanwhile, begin working on the Pico De Gallo :

Prepare the ingredients -
Tomatoes - If using cocktail or campari tomatoes, was and quarter. if using grape tomatoes, halve.
Onion - Peel, discard ends and skin and finely chop.
Garlic cloves - Peel, discard skin and finely chop.
Jalapeno - Halve. Deseed and finely chop
Cilantro leaves - Discard stalks and finely chop

Limes - Halve and juice
In a serving bowl :
Add the beer, sugar, lime juice and salt to the chopped ingredients. Toss together. Taste and adjust seasonings. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving for flavors to mature.
To assemble & serve -
Warm the meat on a low-medium heat. Meanwhile prepare the corn tortillas.
Heat a griddle on medium-high heat. Add a 1/4 tsp of ghee when it fumes, place a corn tortilla on the griddle. When bubbles appear, flip over and add another 1/4 tsp ghee. Press down with a spatula to cook for a few seconds. Remove and keep warm on a plate lined with a cloth napkin.
Repeat till desired number of corn tortillas are warmed and ready to serve.
Cook's Note - I needed 8 for each of the grown-ups and 4 each for the kids. That serves 3 carnitas soft tacos per grown-up and 2 for each of the kids.

Best served hot, place two warm corn tortillas on a serving plate, pile high with Carnitas and top with Pico De Gallo
Serve immediately. While you fold over each of the tacos and bite into it, while the juices flow down your chin, I'll be surprised if you don't let out a sound of pleasure only to realize it came from you!
I urge you to treat yourself to culinary 7th heaven and fix these.
Thank You once again to Ananda and A Pinch of Love for having me over and to all of you for taking the time to read this post.
Devaki @ Weave A Thousand Flavors


notyet100 November 20, 2011 at 2:58 AM  

This looks so yum,..:)

Prathima Rao November 20, 2011 at 9:10 AM  

Thats a nice & interesting recipe!! Thank u Ananda for introducing this wonderful blooger to us..I dont know how I missed her blog..Off now to check it out ;)
Prathima Rao
Prats Corner

divya November 20, 2011 at 3:16 PM  

Wow..this is a wonderful recipe..very yum looking.

Aarthi November 20, 2011 at 5:33 PM  

delicious dear..U have made it perfectly..Love to make this..

Do visit my blog too

Flavia Galasso November 20, 2011 at 5:51 PM  

Wow....I'm so hungry!!!hugs, Flavia

Priya Suresh November 21, 2011 at 1:34 PM  

Wonderful looking dish,makes me drool..lovely guest post.

Alpana November 21, 2011 at 4:22 PM  

LOve the amalgamation of assorted flavors.......super delish.

Magic of Spice November 22, 2011 at 2:01 AM  

Fantastic recipe Devaki...and love the beautiful presentation :)

vianney November 23, 2011 at 9:14 PM  

Thanks for featuring one of my fav bloggers!! Devaki love your carnitas!!

tasteofbeirut November 24, 2011 at 1:38 AM  

I had promised myself I would cook Mexican for family and friends once in Lebanon and your carnitas will be the first thing to try! (even if with lamb instead of pork!)

Victor December 1, 2011 at 4:50 AM  

Good luck Ananda for your PhD defense, I know this will be the most stressful moment of a grad student. Once you're done, you will be glad that you have your degree. Have you decided about your life after PhD? You can e-mail your answer to my e-mail account.

Thanks for introducing a new blogger, i enjoy reading blogs with a rich vocabulary. What a wonderful recipe!

Be courageous. Good luck for your defense.

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