Carnitas Black Bean Bowl

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January flew by way too fast. Between the work trips and coming home late on weeknights, it's been difficult to find time to cook, particularly those meals that require forethought and/or time. This meal incorporates my favorite things: Mexican, avocados, bowl foods, pork, and slow cooking. With the beans and the carnitas, you will need two days, one day to cook each, or two separate dutch ovens, but it will be well worth it.

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The carnitas, beans, and pico de gallo are the foundation for several meals. Use on bread for a homemade torta, wrap it up in a flour tortilla and bake for enchiladas, or wrap it up in a corn taco. I would be lying if I told you we didn't make carnitas nachos on Sunday while half-watching the Superbowl.

I used a different recipe for carnitas this time around, which yielded a pork-y-er, less chili-based flavor (as opposed to my other carnitas recipe). 

Dutch Oven Carnitas:

  • 1 Bone-in pork shoulder, about 2-2.5 lbs
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 4 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp hot paprika or chili powder
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt and some freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • juice of 1 fresh orange
  • some olive oil for drizzling

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Combine all of the herbs, salt, and pepper and rub liberally all over the pork shoulder. Place in the dutch oven. Throw in the roughly chopped onion and garlic. Squeeze the orange juice on top, and then drizzle with olive oil. Place the lid on top of the dutch oven and place into the oven. Let roast for about 6 hours, or until the meat can be shredded easily with 2 forks.

Slow cooked black beans (no soak):

  • 1 pound turtle beans or black beans, dried
  • 1 jalapeno, halved and ribs removed
  • 1 12 oz bottle of pale ale or lager
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • olive oil
  • salt

In a dutch oven, heat up olive oil on high heat. When it's shimmering, add in the onion and jalapeno. Saute the onion and jalapeno until browned at the edges. Turn the heat down to low. Add the beans, beer, and additional water until the beans are covered by about 1.5 inches water. Simmer, covered, for about 5 hours or until beans are creamy. Add salt to taste before serving.

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Pico de Gallo couldn't be more easy. In the absence of a food processor, you could chop everything by hand, but I find that it comes together just as nicely when pulsed. You will need:

  • 2 cups ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 small white onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 jalapenos, roughly chopped
  • small handful cilantro (this will depend on your personal preference)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until it reaches your desired consistency. Add salt and/or more lime juice to taste.

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Of course, I couldn't resist making some cheesy polenta (see my well-documented love affair with this stuff herehere and here) and topping it all off with the carnitas, beans, and pico de gallo. This would make a perfect breakfast dish with the addition of a fried egg, but of course I didn't need to tell you that. 

The beans can be cooked in bulk and frozen and the pico de gallo will last about a week in the fridge.

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