Carnitas Burrito Bowls


Now here's a recipe for the books. This one is probably best for a Sunday where you've got a little time, and feel like a good home cooked meal. I don't know about everyone else, but I consider most "Mexican" food, comfort food. It's usually warm, cheesy, loaded with carbs and all around delicious. Sure it's easy to head to Chipotle or your neighborhood Mexican joint for some $5 burritos, but making it at home makes you enjoy it all that much more.

Carnitas Burrito Bowls
makes 4 bowls

for the carnitas
2 lbs pork loin roast (boneless)
1/2 cup brine mix (salt, sugar, peppercorns)
water to cover pork
1/4 cup white tequila (optional)
1 onion (peeled and quartered)
3 cloves garlic (peeled and crushed)
4 pasilla peppers or 2 poblano
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp New Mexican green chili powder
1 28 oz can whole tomatoes
salt and pepper
olive oil

On the night before you want to make the bowls, brine the pork loin. In a large, sealable tupperware, combine water and brine mix. Just make sure there is enough brine to cover the pork. Drop pork in, cover and pop into the fridge. If you don't have time to brine overnight - no problem. You could brine it for a few hours or not at all. It just helps tenderize the pork and gives it more flavor.

An hour before cooking, take the pork out of the fridge and let it come closer to room temperature on the counter.

To prep for cooking, remove from the brining liquid. Rinse off and pat dry. Coat with a generous amount of salt and pepper on all sides. Really make sure it sticks by patting it down.

Heat a traditional Dutch oven or cast iron dutch over medium high heat with a few turns of olive oil. Drop the pork loin in, fat side down if there is a fattier side. Let each side brown up for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Char the peppers as the meat sears. Add whole pepper to flame or put under broiler. Rotate until all sides are black. When slightly cooled, remove stems and most of the seeds. Cut into 1 in strips.

In the Dutch oven, lower heat to medium. Deglaze bottom of pan with tequila. If you have a gas stove, remove pan from oven before you add the tequila or your house will burn down. Add onions, garlic, peppers, cumin, coriander, oregano, green chili powder, salt and pepper. Let vegetables cook and soften for 5 minutes. Add whole tomatoes, crushing each with your hand as you drop it in. Add all the juice from the can of tomatoes.

Add pork loin back to the pan with an additional dash of salt and pepper. Lower heat to low and cover. Let cook for 2 hours, rotating the meat a couple of times. Don't worry, the meat probably won't be completely covered in liquid. When the meat has been cooking for about 1.5 hours, see if you can shred the meat. I was able to, and let it simmer for another 30 minutes. The brining really helps. If you didn't bring it, you might need closer to 3 hours for the meat to shred.

Assemble bowl. Add a scoop of rice, a scoop of black beans, a scoop of the carnitas with lots of juice and veggies, and a dollop of Greek yogurt to the top. You might never go back to Chipotle if you muster up the courage to make this dish.

for the rice (double recipe if you like a lot of rice)
1 cup white basmati rice
1 1/2 cup chicken broth (low sodium or homemade)
1 tsp coriander
1 tbsp dehydrated garlic (or 1 clove minced)
1 tsp kosher salt

Bring broth to a boil in saucepan. Add all other ingredients. Lower to a simmer and cover. Let cook for 15-20 minutes. At 15 minutes, check for doneness. If more liquid required to cook through, add a tablespoon of water. Fluff and keep warm for serving.

for the beans
1 15 oz. can black beans
1 bay leaf
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp dehydrated onions
1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper flakes or crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
olive oil

Add olive oil to small sauce pan over medium heat. Add beans, bay leaf, broth, dehydrated onions, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer. Cover and let cook for 15 minutes.


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