Spicy Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you know I’m a little late to the game this winter with the slow cooker recipes. I just dusted off my 20-year-old Rival Crock Pot the other day…..less than two weeks before Spring. But who says you can only make slow cooked meals in the cooler months, I don’t remember seeing any rules about that. And who wants to keep their oven on for hours when it’s warm outside? Not me.
And if you follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram….you would have seen the sneak peek for today’s post. (and know that I’m a day late, I’m not super awesome with editorial deadlines…it’s an “opportunity area.”)
This recipe is great! Spicy, but not fire in the mouth spicy. The heat comes from hot cherry pepper juice….that pickling brine found in a jar of hot cherry peppers. It was an experiment….it worked. (Thankfully.)
I created a rub that coated the pork tenderloin and then seared it in a pan to create a crust. You can totally skip this step if you are short on time but I think it adds a layer of intensely, toasty goodness to the dish. (Side note: I used the pork tenderloin to cut down on calories and fat. Pork tenderloin is a very lean cut and my preferred choice for this dish.)
The pork carnitas can be used in a variety of ways….terrific to keep in the fridge for a quick meal during the week. We had tacos for dinner the night this was made and quesadillas for lunch a couple of days later. You could also make a taco salad, burritos, throw it in a Mexican inspired soup…the possibilities are endless! Well, maybe they are not endless but definitely numerous.
I see this as a go-to Cinco De Mayo recipe….margherita on the side of course!
Spicy Slow-Cooked Pork Carnitas
Makes 8-10 servings
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 ground cayenne pepper
1 1-2 pound pork tenderloin
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large bell peppers, cut into strips
3 whole garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 large Vidalia onion, sliced
1/4 cup cherry pepper juice
salt and pepper
In a small bowl, combine the cumin, onion powder, chili powder and cayenne pepper. Rub the mixture onto the pork tenderloin making sure to cover it completely.
In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over med-high heat. Add the pork tenderloin to the pan and sear, approximately 1-2 minutes on each side.
Place the tenderloin in the bottom of a slow cooker coated with cooking spray. Cover with the peppers, onions and cherry pepper juice. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until the meat shreds easily with a fork. Uncover and shred the meat using two forks. Stir the carnitas mixture with the juice, cover and cook for an additional 30 minutes.
Serve with whatever idea you dream up. I toasted corn tortillas and added the carnitas mixture….topped it with red onion, pepper jack cheese, diced tomatoes, lettuce and avocado. Instead of sour cream I used Fage low-fat greek yogurt.