It’s taco night every night up in this house.
Whenever we have leftover roasted pork or packages of ground beef or turkey tucked away in the freezer, my go-to is TACOS!
And sometimes simple street tacos are what hit the spot.
No need for fancy schmancy toppings.
The savory carnitas take center stage, simply highlighted with salsa verde, white onion, fresh cilantro, and a pop of lime.
The key to perfect tacos at home is lightly pan-frying the tortillas.
DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT, under any circumstances, serve the tortillas raw. Blech!
You’ll end up with chalky bland tortillas that crack and break into pieces as you try to eat.
Instead, take a few minutes to warm the tortillas in a pan with a little oil. They’ll get slightly crisp, and take on a beautiful golden color. Instead of tearing, they’ll remain nice and tender and perfect for stuffing with carnitas.
You can totally customize this recipe to serve even more people.
Just estimate roughly 1 hour of slow-cooking in the oven per pound of meat.
These tacos are the perfect Sunday football party fare!
Carnitas Street Tacos
Servings: 16 tacos
- 4 pounds bone-in skin-on pork shoulder
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup grapeseed oil or other high heat oil, divided, plus additional for cooking the tortillas
- 1 package of organic corn tortillas (30 count)
- Favorite verde salsa - homemade or store bought
- 1 white onion, minced
- 1 bunch cilantro, minced
- 6 limes, quartered
Pat the pork shoulder dry with paper towels, then sprinkle with a liberal amount of salt and pepper on all sides, including the skin side.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Let the pork shoulder sit at room temperature while the oven preheats.
When the oven is preheated, place a heavy bottomed lidded pot (I used my enameled cast iron dutch oven) on the stove top. Add 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil and warm over high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the pork shoulder, fat side down, and cook on that side until nicely golden brown. Rotate the pork to the next side, and continue, until all the sides and end pieces are nicely browned.
When the pork is browned all over, rotate the pork so the skin side is facing up, and place the lid on the pot. Put the dutch oven inside the oven, and let cook without moving for about 4 hours, until the outside of the pork is deeply browned, and the meat is fall apart tender. If the skin is not yet dark brown and crispy, increase the heat to 500 degrees and let cook with the lid off the pan, until it is crispy.
Remove from the oven, and let the pork rest for 30 minutes. Remove the crispy skin and set aside. Then, use two large forks or your fingers to pull the pork apart into pieces and then shred into bite-sized pieces. Chop the crispy skin into small pieces and toss into the shredded meat as well.
Next, add 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil to a large skillet and warm over high heat. Add the shredded pork & let it cook for a few minutes without stirring until some of the pieces get nice and crispy. Remove from the skillet into a serving bowl.
Next, in a small skillet, pour enough grapeseed oil to form a thin layer in the pan. Warm over high heat. Using tongs, add one corn tortilla to the pan. Let it cook briefly on one side until the tortilla starts to puff up. Flip over and cook briefly on the other side until lightly golden but still pliable. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and continue with the desired number of tortillas (16 or 20 should be perfect). Continue to add oil as needed to keep a light coating in the pan.
When the tortillas are done, you're ready to assemble the tacos! Place some of the pork carnitas in the center of a tortilla, spoon some salsa verde over the top, and sprinkle with minced onion and cilantro. Squeeze fresh lime over the top and serve right away.
It’s been awhile since I’ve added a new chicken recipe to my dinner repertoire.
But chicken is such an easy weeknight choice.
I always keep a few pounds of frozen chicken in the freezer for dinner emergencies.
It can be baked from frozen, or defrosted and quickly added to curries, stir fries, pasta dishes, or anything, really! You can even plop frozen chicken breasts in a pot of boiling water, cook until no longer pink, and then shred the meat for easy salad mix-ins or protein for wraps.
For this recipe, you better bet I utilized my frozen chicken stash.
Once the chicken is defrosted, this meal comes together in just 45 minutes.
Simply dredge the chicken in flour, pan sear until golden, toss in some mushrooms and garlic, then balsamic, broth, and herbs. Cook down into a sauce & finish with a pat of butter.
Easy. Delicious. Yummy.
This meal is comfort food in one pan.
Pan Seared Chicken Breasts with Balsamic Mushrooms
- 4 medium boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Kosher salt
- Ground black pepper
- 2/3 cup all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 cloves of garlic
- 12 ounces white button mushrooms, sliced
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Season the chicken breasts on both sides with a sprinkle of kosher salt and pepper.
Spread the flour out on a large plate and sprinkle with salt and pepper. One at a time, dip the chicken breasts in the flour, turning to coat. Shake lightly to remove any excess, then set the chicken breast aside on a clean plate. Repeat with all 4 chicken breasts.
Add the oil to a large nonstick skillet and warm over medium-high heat. Add the chicken breasts to the pan, and cook on one side for about 6 minutes, until nicely golden brown.
Turn the chicken breasts over and add the garlic cloves and mushrooms to the pan. Cook for another 3 or 4 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to redistribute the mushrooms and garlic while they cook.
Add the balsamic vinegar, chicken stock, bay leaf, and thyme to the pan. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pan, and continue to cook for 10 minutes, turning the chicken breasts halfway through.
Uncover the pan and remove the chicken breasts to a plate. You can lightly tent them with foil to keep them warm.
Let the balsamic-mushroom sauce continue to cook, uncovered, for another 5 minutes or so, until reduced to a sauce consistency. Stir in the butter and cook for another 2 minutes or so until melted and combined with the rest of the sauce.
Remove the bay leaf, then plate each chicken breast and spoon the mushroom sauce over the top. Enjoy!
Summertime produce is HERE, in all its glory.
Juicy, sweet, bright red tomatoes.
An ABUNDANCE of summer squash – the gift that keeps on giving.
Stone fruit everywhere, so ripe and succulent, the juices dribble down your chin with every bite.
Bundles of fragrant herbs, growing like weeds, ready to be tossed into salads, soups, and pestos.
Can you tell I LOVE summer??
One of the easiest ways to use up a TON of summer tomatoes and squash is with a gratin.
Simply slice all the veggies nice and thin, arrange in pretty layers, and top with olive oil, salt and pepper, garlic, fresh herbs, and cheese.
Bake for about 30 minutes, then serve!
It’s an impressive side dish that lets the flavors of the vegetables take center stage.
If you really want this dish to wow you, take the extra time to pick up some produce from your local farmers market. You won’t regret it!
Tomato, Zucchini, and Yellow Squash Gratin
- 1 pound cocktail tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1 pound zucchini, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1 pound yellow summer squash, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- Generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
- Kosher salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- 2/3 cup shredded Romano cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Get out a large 4.5 quart pyrex baking dish. Working in rows, alternately layer the slices of zucchini, yellow squash, and tomato. Prop the slices up a little bit so that the start of each row is leaning against the edge of the pyrex dish at an angle (this makes it easier to layer the slices).
Once you have filled the baking dish, drizzle each row with a generous pour of extra virgin olive oil (this will help prevent the gratin from drying out).
Next, sprinkle the whole dish with the minced garlic and thyme. Season generously with kosher salt and ground black pepper, then sprinkle the Romano cheese over the top.
Place the whole dish in the oven, and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the cheese is just starting to turn golden. Remove from the oven and let rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.