Don’t have enough time for slow cooking? No problem! Make your pork carnitas in the pressure cooker instead. Great to stock the freezer with!
Admitting to my own wrongdoing isn’t something that comes easily to me.
Does it to anyone, though?
One of the single biggest mistakes in my culinary adventures was my refusal of the pressure cooker.
I believe I have talked about its importance in Swiss cuisine here before, in a pulled meat recipe such as the one I’m sharing today, though made with oxtail and not with pork.
The reason I have had… difficulties… accepting a pressure cooker for so long is that I have had difficulties accepting my heritage.
Feeling as if you never fit in anywhere comes with its downsides and it’s easy to blame the mentality of your entire country for the perceived lack of acceptance, especially if one isn’t exactly brimming with patriotism.
All differences aside, I have made peace with many things. I have geraniums in front of my house (though the wild french ones, and they DO grow wild). I also call two pressure cookers my own.
They’re still stovetop ones, because electric pressure cookers haven’t quite made it to this corner of the world (no surprises there, we may be great watch makers, but we’re not the ones to adopt modern gadgets as the first hour strikes).
I mainly use it to cook legumes (because I’m impatient and don’t want to wait an hour for my chickpeas to cook) and big hunks of meat. Meat cuts you’d usually cook for hours on end turn out incredibly tender and flavorful in a much shorter timespan when cooked under pressure.
I know it is common to use a crockpot for carnitas – but eh. When have I ever followed rules about what’s common?
This is a ridiculously simple recipe. It is practically impossible to mess up.
You’ll brown the pork shoulder in the pot, then add seasoning and liquid, close the lid and cook for 90 minutes. (If you’re using an electric pressure cooker such as the Instant Pot, you’ll have to add 15 minutes to the cooking time.)
Then you can shred the meat with two forks and serve it up as tacos or however you like. You can, of course, brown it in a skillet, too. I’m just usually
too lazy too harassed by hungry kids to bother.
When we make these pork carnitas, we usually eat some right away and freeze the rest in portions in mason jars (we have these from Amazon*).
To reheat, simply thaw in the fridge overnight, transfer to a pot and heat until it is boiling, making sure the meat is evenly heated.
It is a fantastic way to have a satisfying meal on a busy weeknight, all you’ll have to do is pull out some taco shells, slice up some avocado and red onion, serve with lime wedges, crumbled cheese, cilantro and shredded red cabbage.
Some people might claim to have seen me eat the meat with my bare hands, no sides in sight, but I firmly believe admitting to one wrongdoing per day is sufficient 😉
Pressure Cooker Pork Carnitas
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2.5 lbs pork shoulder
- 1.5 tsp salt
- black pepper to taste
- 4 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 bay leaf optional
- 1-2 tbsp taco seasoning
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup water
- Heat a stovetop pressure cooker over medium high heat (or set your electric pressure cooker to "sauté"). Add the oil and brown the meat on all sides, until golden all around.
- Add all remaining ingredients to the cooker. Close the lid and cook on high pressure for 90 minutes in a stovetop cooker (or 105 minutes in an electric cooker).
- Depressurize, then remove the meat. Allow it to cool for a few minutes, then shred it with two forks.
- Either mix it with as much of the cooking liquid as you like, we usually do all, as the meat will soak up the liquid and become incredibly juicy and flavorful. OR if you want to have crispy carnitas, add the meat to a skillet over medium high heat in batches, drizzling with the juice as you brown the bottom.
- To freeze, cool the meat completely. Portion it out in freezer bags or mason jars, making sure to add cooking liquid, too. Freeze for up to 3 months. To reheat, simply thaw in the fridge overnight, transfer to a pot and heat until it is boiling, making sure the meat is evenly heated.
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