Recipe for Tom’s Crispy Chicken Carnitas
Traditionally, Carnitas are made with fried pork and spices. I recently discovered you can achieve a similar taste with just about any meat!
Last night I made it with a 3 pound rack of chicken legs in the interest of being a healthier alternative to pork.
Here’s what you need for this:
Meats and sizes may vary. You can use most any sort of meat, but I have used chicken legs here. Use what sort of meat you like otherwise.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F) and lightly sprinkle the bottom of a cassarrole dish with olive oil
- Cook chicken legs in cassarrole dish for about an hour and fifteen minutes, turning occasionally
- Remove chicken legs from oven and let cool enough to handle
- Take meat and remove any cartilage or bones, discarding them
- Reheat oven to 400 degrees (F)
- Add meat to casserole dish plus spices* listed below, with olive oil and a little orange juice (fresh or not-from-concentrate) to keep it from drying out too much, and cook to where meat and onions achieve a soft crispiness
- Check meat every 5-10 minutes, tearing it apart with two forks (don’t burn the meat)
*– Add below ingredients into the meat while secondarily cooking
- Salt to taste
- Chili powder (Teaspoon, or more if you like it hot!)
- Cumin (1.5 teaspoons)
- Medium Onion finely chopped
- Cinnamon (Bit under a tablespoon)
- Sweet curry powder (my own twist ‐ about a teaspoon full)
- Plenty of garlic: 1 tablespoon powder, or 5 cloves fresh, minced
- Bay leaf (be sure to remove prior to consumption)
Add orange juice and/or olive oil, stir periodically until desired crispiness is achieved ‐not too dry, still a little moist.
- Warm tortillas until SLIGHTLY crispy in oven, turning over at least once
- Chop a small white raw onion and fresh cilantro for garnish and/or avocado if you like, with a slice of lime. Sliced cucumber, jalapenos, lettuce or spinach adds a nice touch too
- Assemble tacos, and enjoy!
Explore. I love how the spices help the caramelization of the onions; that and just a bit of sweet curry brings it all together. Subtle changes yield different results.
Cheers! Enjoy- Tom Gorman
Part of Tom’s Taco Ensembles
Photos - Tom Gorman March 2017