Try as I might, I am not a morning person. I never have been. I’m definitely not a night owl either. I’m more of a “needs 9 hours of sleep to function properly or I’ll be super grumpy” kind of person. When I was younger my parents used to call me Margaret whenever I was tired and grumpy. Or hungry and grumpy. Looking back on it now, I realize it was their polite way of telling me to quit being a grouch. I shared this fond memory with my husband years ago and he has carried on the tradition of calling me Margaret since he takes the brunt of her grumpiness. Lucky him…
And so, Margaret has kind of become my alter ego. I try not to let her out, but sometimes it just happens. It’s usually when I’m woken up any time between 10pm and 8am. Or whenever I go more than 3 hours without eating. But seriously other than that, I’m pretty easy going, I swear. Every once in a while I forget about Margaret and I get this crazy idea that I’m going to start being a morning person. Not just a morning person, but a morning person who works out. In the morning. Before I go to work. In the morning. Even as I type the words, I realize how crazy it sounds.
But without fail, every few months I try for a week to wake up at 6am and get my sweat on. And without fail, when my alarm goes off at 6am, I shut it off, reset it for 730am and go back to bed. Then at some point I feel frustrated and Margaret probably makes an appearance and nobody is happy and I’m still not a morning person. So just like last week, when I came to terms with not being a gardener, now I am admitting that I will never be a morning person.
To minimize the appearance of Margaret and let myself sleep in as much as possible, I have been getting really into meal prep on Sundays. My goal each Sunday is to create two meals that we can eat throughout the week that are healthy and satisfying at the same time. This week, it was Beer Braised Pork Carnitas (which I mixed with brown rice, black beans and veggies to make burrito bowls) and Turkey Meatball Gyros. I find that my mornings run so much smoother when I can just grab my lunch from the fridge and go. And I’m less tempted to eat crap when I get home from work if I have dinner made already.
This recipe makes a ton of carnitas because no matter what I always find myself wishing there were more. These would be great to make and then freeze too if you’re just cooking for one or if you don’t like to eat the same thing multiple times in a row. However, once you taste these carnitas, chances are pretty good you’ll want to just eat them until they’re gone. They are juicy and tender, but also crisp and filled with flavor. And best of all, they are SUPER easy to make. 20 minutes of prep and the rest is just inactive cooking time. Alternately you could make these carnitas in a slow cooker too. I’d cook the pork on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours, checking about halfway through to see how tender and shreddable they’ve gotten. I usually just want to eat them as soon as possible, so I make them on the stove. My favorite new dressing/dipping sauce for anything Mexican is equal parts full fat Greek yogurt mixed with Taco Bell hot sauce. It might sounds weird, but it’s really good and mostly healthy.
Beer Braised Pork Carnitas
- 2 tablespoons + 3-4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 4 lb. pork shoulder/butt roast
- 2 tablespoons cumin
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- Kosher salt
- fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 12 oz. bottle of your favorite beer
- 32 oz. chicken stock
- Zest and juice of 1 orange
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. In a small bowl combine cumin, oregano, chili powder, paprika, cayenne and a couple large pinches of salt and pepper. Rub spice mixture all over the surface of the pork roast. Place roast into the pot and cook each side for about 1-2 minutes or until the entire outside of the roast is seared nice and dark golden brown. Remove roast from the pot and set aside for the moment. Add onion to the pot and turn heat to medium. Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute, stirring often. Put roast back into the pot.
Add beer, chicken stock and orange zest and juice to the pot. Cover and bring to a simmer. Simmer on medium low for about 2 hours or until pork shreds easily with two forks.
Transfer pork to a large bowl. Heat the same pot you cooked the pork in over medium high heat. Working in batches, add one teaspoon olive oil and then an even layer of pork. Sauté the shredded pork for about 1-2 minutes, then flip it over and let the other side get nice and crisp. The goal here is to have tender, juicy shredded pork with dark golden brown crispy bits on the ends.
And seriously, don’t skip that last step. It makes the dish.
Serve in a burrito bowl with brown rice, beans and veggies or in a warm corn tortilla with chopped raw onion and fresh cilantro.