First a brief history. Carnitas literally means little meats. Typically carnitas are made from the tougher cuts of pork, but you can make them with beef and more tender cuts. Carnitas are twice fried and braised to make them nice and tender. They are often served with warm tortillas and green tomatillo salsa. Here is my mother's way of making carnitas.
1 lbs. pork shoulder or butt
1/4 cup of lard or shortening
1 Medium orange
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut the pork into about 1" cubes.
Heat a pan large enough to hold the pork and add the lard.
Add the pork and cook until it changes color on the out side.
Season with salt and pepper and the juice of the orange.
Add enough water to submerge the pork and turn the heat down to a simmer.
Let the water boil off. Be patient, as this will take a while, but it will tenderize the meat.
When the water is boiled off, turn the heat up and fry the pork in its own fat.
Adjust the seasoning and serve with sprigs of cilantro.
Green Tomatillo Salsa
4 medium to large green tomatillos, husks removed and quartered.
If you are feeling adventurous fire roast the tomatillos before quartering
2 cups of water or chicken stock
4 cloves of garlic
1 jalapeno (to tone down the heat, remove the seeds and veins)
1 chile serrano
1/2 a white onion diced
1/4 bunch of cilantro
salt and pepper
Optional 1 lime
First boil the tomatillos and two garlic cloves in the liquid until fork tender.
In a blender, blend the tomatillos, garlic, chiles onion, and cilantro with about half the liquid.
Use the remaining liquid as needed to adjust the consistency of the salsa during blending.
After the salsa is blended and to the right consistency, season with salt and pepper.
For a little extra zazz, squeeze fresh lime juice into the salsa.