I’m not sure who blew the whistle during the last week of August and said “On your mark, get set, go!”, but this Fall has been off to a running start! As many of you know, it can be tough juggling work, family, home, and all of our obligations, but the rewards in all departments make it so worth it. It just can’t be avoided, we all live busy lives. Whether you are running carpools, in and out of school, volunteering, playing bridge, or working and wondering how to juggle dinner each night, you stay busy. I’m sure many of you get to 6:00 pm and are thinking, “what do I do for dinner?”
It’s then that it dawns on you that you have only had time to go to the bathroom once and have only had two out of your eight glasses of water for the day. I hope you feel better by knowing there are days that stump me too, when I am not sure how to feed the other mouths in my family even though we are surrounded by food. Yes, really, all I want to do is have a glass of wine and sit down.
When I have one of those days that I know will be busy, and I don’t have time to make dinner until we walk in the door entirely too late to start cooking, one of my favorite go to meals is Pork Carnita’s. I don’t use the slow cooker very often, but this yummy dinner is a family pleaser and can be ready with just a little thinking ahead. It makes a lot, so it is a great meal to freeze for a couple of other busy nights, and it is also a fabulous meal to serve for casual entertaining. So, invite a few friends and families over, whip up some great sides like cilantro lime cole slaw, kicked up pinto beans, fresh fruit salad, add a great selection of hot sauces, and you have a fun, easy, and inexpensive dinner!
Below are the recipes and instructions you’ll need, it can be made as is or “foodied up” a bit. The recipe for roasted tomatillo salsa is delicious and has become one of my often used recipes for other menu’s, too. I hope it helps you out on one of those “pull your hair out kind of days” when you don’t have time to cook but still need a good dinner to enjoy together. Enjoy the best of food and life, especially when you don’t think you have time to!
One Boston Butt pork shoulder (I prefer bone in but boneless is fine)
One large white or sweet onion, ends removed and cut into thick chunks
One bay leaf
sprinkle of salt and pepper
*1 avocado, halved, pitted and sliced; fresh cilantro sprigs; sliced red bell peppers; lime wedges… all optional for serving, see directions below.
To Prepare: Scatter onions in the bottom of slow cooker, place pork shoulder on top. Season to taste. Cover, set on low until meat is tender and falling apart, about 8 hours.
With slotted spoons, transfer pork to cutting board. Using fingers, shred pork (removing fat), and place in onto a platter with the pork in the center. Place avocado slices, cilantro, red bell peppers and lime wedges around the meat decoratively. Serve with warm tortilla’s of your choice.
Some fun variations: If you like spicy, add a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce half way through cooking; before cooking and preferably overnight, rub pork shoulder with your favorite rub or blackening seasonings; or using a BBQ injector season your meat with mojo or a lime vinaigrette.
roasted tomatillo salsa
1 pound tomatillos (about 6 large)
1/ large onion, cut into thirds
2 Serrano chiles, halved, seed removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
Preheat oven to 375. Toss first 5 ingredients in a 8x8x2 inch baking dish. Roast in oven until tomatillos and onions are soft, about 1 hour. Transfer contents of dish to food processor, add cilantro. Puree until almost smooth. *One avocado may be added pit removed, with cilantro. Transfer to bowl serve chilled or at room temperature.