Gluten-free eating hasn't been as hard to get used to as I thought it would be. There's GF flours, breads, pastas, and well, really most things, so if I really want to have a piece of toast for breakfast, I can. I have found that it is easier to eat meals that aren't focused around something that originally was wheat-based though. So rather than having a big stack of pancakes for breakfast, we now focus on creating lavish omelettes instead.
And then I discovered Mexican. Discovered isn't quite the right word. I have had plenty of Mexican food before, but, I hadn't realised how much I would come to be obsessed with it during my GF trial (which, I think might turn into a way of life instead of merely a trial....). Obsessed isn't quite the right word. But there aren't any english words that a strong enough! Perhaps there is in Spanish!
We had an amazing lunch at our friends' place a few weeks ago and knowing that I was now eating GF, she told us she was going to make carnitas. A quick google search later I learned it was shredded pork caramelised with mexican spices. SOLD! It was delicious and filling and had so much flavour I hadn't even noticed the missing tortillas!
Not even a week had passed before I had purchased some pork shoulder and I set out to replicate lunch.
I followed the same recipe, which is on Marks Daily Apple, for
1.5kg boneless pork shoulder cut into five pieces. I trimmed the main hunk of fat, but then kept enough to get a good caramelisation!
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili flakes
1 cinnamon stick or sprinkle of ground cinnamon is fine too
1 bay leaf
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 onion, chopped or thinly sliced
Water, for braising
(and, not in the recipe, I added some paprika and garlic salt, and omitted the garlic, because I didn't have any!)
1. Cut pork into a few large pieces and place in a large, heavy-based pot.
2. Mix together spices and rub all over the meat.
3. Place the cinnamon and bay leaf, garlic and onion in the heavy pot with the seasoned meat. I cooked mine entirely on the stovetop but you can also cook it in the oven.
4. Add enough water to almost entirely cover the meat.
5. Slowly cook the meat for 3 hours until slightly browned, very tender and most of the water has evaporated. You will need to stir a few times in this period, more if you are cooking on the stovetop.
6. Remove the pork and shred between two forks. Return to the pan with a little more water to tenderise further.
7. Remove the cinnamon stick (if used), and bay leaf, and when you are ready to serve the meat, place it under the grill/broiler for about ten minutes, to caramelise the fat and crisp up. It will turn a darker brown and will essentially dry out a little, so only do this right before you are ready to eat.
8. Serve with char-grilled onions and peppers, guacamole, sour cream, lettuce, and any other salads/vegetables of your choosing. It makes a tortilla fulfil its Mexican destiny, makes for a mean quesadilla or is just awesome as is atop a mound of salad.