On the train to Amsterdam from Paris, I found myself sitting next to an American woman, Sarah, who is also a dedicated foodie and food blogger- http://callitsupper.com. Those nearby passengers seeking a 4 hour nap must have been cringing as we couldn’t help but gab for hours comparing notes on our foodie adventures abroad, the most entertaining food books, movies and websites. And of course a food-travel conversation can’t go by anymore without touching on the latest of Anthony Bourdain. This encounter with Sarah and her recipe-focused blog inspired me to set some time aside to execute a few recipes that I’ve been dreaming up.
So you may be thinking it’s time for Beef Bourguignon but before I get into my stew recipes (I have a delicious Hungarian Goulash in the queue) I’d like to have one more go at carnitas to celebrate the end of Summer. Due to advanced technology and an abundance of greenhouses in the Netherlands, one can get nearly any exotic fruit or spicy pepper year-round. The grocery aisles are packed with overly perfect, tightly packaged; brightly colored produce. It’s scary, actually, but it works in my favor for my avocado mango carnitas yumminess.
There are 5 components for this recipes:
- Carnitas- slowly braised pork
- Spicy mango carpaccio
- Halved avocado
- Fresh salsa
- Fried corn tortillas (optional)
For the braised pork I do a variation of David Lebovitz’s Carnitas Recipe. The only tweaks I make are: deglazing the pan with the juice of one lime to add more acid, adding stock instead of water, add a dash of nutmeg to the braising liquid and the main difference is putting the oven to 300 degrees and cook it for 4-4.5 hours. The longer and slower, the better. The key to this recipe is getting those brown bits while browning the meat. This is what gives your dish the wow-flavor that keeps dinner guests from putting their fork down. Make sure before browning to pat the pork dry with a paper towel to absorb the moisture the salt released from the brine.
- 2 Mangoes- Thinly sliced
- ½ Habanero (adjust accordingly for spice preference)- sliced
- ½ Red onion
- 2 Limes
- 2 Teaspoon Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Spread thinly cut mango in a bowl or plate. Sprinkle the sliced habanero, red onion and squeeze limes. Drizzle with olive oil and season. Cover with plastic wrap and let macerate for 45 minutes in the fridge. This can get crazy spicy so taste a piece to see if it is where you want it at the 45 minute mark. Remove the habanero slices before serving.
- 6 Tomatoes (Beefsteak or Romas are the best but go for whatever is the ripest)
- 2 Cloves Garlic- minced
- ½ Cup red or white onion- minced
- ½ Lime
- 1 Jalapeno- minced
- ½ Cup Cilantro- chopped
- Salt and Pepper
- Deseed the tomatoes then dice them up and place in a mixing bowl. Add the minced onion, minced garlic, lime juice, minced jalapeño (deseeded), Cilantro and season.
Spread mango carpaccio on plate. Neatly place the halved avocado with stuffed carnitas on top. Make two piles of salsa on the side and decorate with lime wedges, fried tortilla strips, cilantro and a dash of cayenne. The fried chips are created by simply cutting up pieces of corn tortillas then frying them in hot vegetable oil until they brown. If you’re one of the few still following the Paleo diet then you can avoid the corn tortillas completely to make a paleo-friendly recipe.