Saturday, August 3, 2013

Ancho-Peach Carnitas

I usually don't post recipes with this many steps. You know me. I like to cook the meat, make a sauce out of the juice, and re-combine. It's a formula I repeat over and over because it is so successful, easy, and delicious. But sometimes the extra steps are worth it. Sometimes the ingredients require a little bit of extra love.

I got the idea for this sauce from my favorite cookbook Paleo Comfort Foods. I first learned how to cook with dried chilies when I made their enchilada sauce. It tasted better than anything I'd had in a TexMex restaurant, and inspired a long list of variations that I am only just beginning to explore.

The first new version that came to mind was an ancho-peach sauce, but I couldn't make it until recently when peaches (finally!) became in season. I guess I could have used canned peaches (and I still might if a craving hits in the middle of winter). But as good as the sauce tastes, I'm glad I waited! It is sweet and spicy and slightly bitter (from the peach skin), and worth every day I waited, and every minute of work in the kitchen.

Ancho-Peach Carnitas

Oh man these were so good!


3 lbs pork shoulder roast
3 cups water
3 ripe peaches, pitted and diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
2 yellow onions, diced
1.5 oz ancho chiles (about 6-7 dried poblano peppers)
2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
Salt and pepper


Place pork roast in Crock-Pot along with 1 cup water. Season with garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and turn Crock-Pot on high. Cook until pork is fork-tender. About 4 1/2 hours. 

While pork cooks, prepare the sauce.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Rinse chiles and remove seeds. Arrange chiles on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. While chiles cook, bring remaining 2 cups of water to a boil. Remove chiles from oven, remove stems and place in a separate dish. Cover with boiling water and let stand until onions are ready. At least 10 minutes. Chiles will soften and the liquid will become flavorful. 

While the chiles soak, heat olive oil in a large sauce pan. Add onion and a pinch of salt and cook until onion becomes translucent. Add garlic and cook until it becomes aromatic. Add peaches and vinegar, and stir to combine. Add soaked chiles, including the liquid, to the sauce pan. Add poultry seasoning, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Continue simmering for 30 minutes. Then remove from heat and let cool enough that you don't scald yourself in the next step.

Pour sauce mixture into your blender and puree until smooth. Set aside until pork is fully cooked. Makes about 6 cups.

Once pork is cooked, remove meat from cooking liquid and let cool enough to handle. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Discard cooking liquid and return pork to the Crock-Pot bowl. Shred meat with two forks. Ladle sauce over pork and stir to combine. Depending on how wet you prefer your carnitas, you many not use all of the sauce.*

Spoon sauced pork onto a baking sheet and spread into an even layer. Cook at 400 degrees until sauce begins to caramelize. About 20 minutes. Makes 8 servings.

Serve with coconut flour tortillas, avocado, and (optional) lime wedges.

*Note: Store remaining sauce in the freezer until needed. I recommend reheating frozen sauce in small batches and using it as a quick pick-me-up for scrambled eggs, or a topping for paleo breakfast burritos.

Bonus Recipe: Individual Tropical Fruit Pizza

I don't know what came over me. I don't usually  have a sweet tooth.

I used the last coconut flour tortilla (made with the tiny bit of batter left in the bowl) to make a tropical fruit pizza for dessert. I spread a little coconut butter and a tiny bit of raw honey on the mini tortilla, then topped it with banana slices. Delicious!

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