One of my favorite random holidays, Cinco de Mayo, is tomorrow.
Do you celebrate this holiday? I do. I love the Mexican culture—and most importantly, the Mexican cuisine.
I made this delicious carnitas recipe this weekend for when my stepdad was in town. It filled my house with sinful aromas, and my stepdad devoured it within minutes. It is so filling, yet it isn’t a heavy dish. This casserole-type meal is PERFECT for a Cinco de Mayo dinner celebration! I’ve been munching on the leftovers the past couple of days at work and now I’m sad that I don’t have any left for tomorrow.
I chose three different types of bell peppers to throw in with the orzo: red, yellow & orange. The recipe originally called for green bell peppers, but I feel like the other color peppers have more flavor than the green ones. Also, WARNING! This recipe is SPICY! It’s not OH MY GOD THIS IS BURNING THE ROOF OF MY MOUTH spicy, but it definitely packs a punch!
Carnitas with Orzo and Peppers
For the Carnitas:
- 1 (2-3 lb.) pork shoulder roast
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. dried coriander
- 1/2 tsp. dried cinnamon
- 2 cups chicken broth
For the rest of the dish:
- 1 cup uncooked orzo
- 1 each: yellow, red and orange bell pepper, sliced
- 2 jalapeno peppers, diced
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 TBS. olive oil
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 cup enchilada sauce (I used the HOT one)
- 2 TBS. tomato paste
- 1/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese
- First, make the carnitas: In small bowl, combine all of the spices. Place shoulder roast into a large slow cooker and rub spice mixture all over. Carefully pour chicken broth around the edges of the roast, making sure not to pour ON the roast (so you don’t wash the spices off). Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Take roast out and place on cutting board to rest for 20 minutes. Shred meat away from the bone.
- Now to make the rest of the dish: In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook orzo pasta according to package directions, until it is al dente. Drain.
- Heat olive oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions, peppers, and jalapeno to the heated oil. Saute for 2-3 minutes until crisp tender.
- Pour chicken broth into a small pot. Add tomato paste and enchilada sauce and whisk over medium high heat until slightly thickened.
- Add orzo and carnitas to pepper mixture in Dutch oven. Pour enchilada sauce mixture over the top of the carnitas mixture. Stir to combine. Top with cheese.
- Cover and bake carnitas mixture for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove lid and broil cheese for 4-5 minutes until browned and bubbly. Serve with tortillas.
This recipe does include a lot of different cooking methods: sautéing, slow cooking and baking…and it also calls for a LOT of dishes to be cleaned. However, it is totally worth all of the hard work! The spice mixture on the carnitas is the perfect blend of homey, spicy and cinnamony. Try this dish inside of a tortilla, too! It makes for a tasty little fajita 🙂
Happy Cinco de Mayo! Check back here tomorrow for some more Mexican food inspired recipes!