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
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time4 hrs 30 mins
Total Time4 hrs 45 mins
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.
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
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
- 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.
Lettuce wraps make perfect summer night dinners.
First of all, they’re easy…
Like, wash off some lettuce, quickly cook up some meat, toss in some herbs, and whisk together a basic sauce and you’re done.
Plus, you can do so many different flavor twists.
Mexican, Thai, Indian, etc… they would all be delicious.
This week, I decided to go Thai.
These wraps are bright, fresh, and packed with flavor.
Simply saute some pork and garlic until golden brown, then turn off the heat and toss in some fresh basil, cilantro, mint, onion, and fresh peppers.
Stuff the pork mixture into crisp butter lettuce leaves, and spoon a simple sauce over top, made with lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and more chiles.
The results are little pockets of deliciousness, packed with tender meat, fresh herbs, spicy chiles, vibrant fresh lime juice, and salty fish sauce.
I really like serving them with a giant bowl of fried rice on the side. Recipe coming soon!
Thai Pork Lettuce Wraps
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time35 mins
- 1 head butter lettuce
- 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 4 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 red serrano or jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound ground pork
- 10 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/2 small red onion, cut in half and very thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup torn fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup torn fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/4 cup torn fresh mint leaves
Carefully remove the butter lettuce leaves from the head of lettuce, wash with cool water, and set out to dry on a towel.
Next, assemble the dipping sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and 1 of the sliced peppers. Season lightly with salt and pepper and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the ground pork and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned (about 10 minutes or so). Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes, until softened and fragrant.Turn off the heat and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the onion, basil, cilantro, mint, and remaining pepper slices.
Serve family style, with the pork mixture, lettuce leaves, and dipping sauce. To assemble, spoon the pork into a lettuce leaf and either dip the wraps into the sauce or spoon over the top before eating.