Saturday, January 22, 2011

Cola-Braised Pulled Pork Carnitas

Speaking of new things, I finally started menu planning a few weeks ago rather than just "winging" my supper plan on a daily basis. On Sunday night I try to take a few minutes to make a plan for my week and then write out a shopping list. The time spent has totally been worth it! At the suggestion of a friend, I've started creating a "master list" on my laptop of all the meals that we eat, divided into categories. So, instead of paging through all my cookbooks at 9 pm, I've got a concise little list to refer to.

Our BIG grocery shop usually happens early in the week after dropping Micah off at school. Superstore is our grocery store of choice and I like it for several reasons:

1) I can shop for really cute kids clothing at the same time (and for some reason, discreetly adding an item or 2 to my grocery bill seems like it "hurts' less :)

2) After Silas was born, Superstore was the only grocery store with carts that could fit all three of my children (including infant car seat) and all my groceries. I consider pushing said cart up and down from the parkade my weekly work-out.

3) We get free chocolate chip cookies at the bakery. This keeps the kids quiet for most of the shopping trip, even though there is chocolate everywhere by the time we hit the check-out lines.

4) Superstore really is just the cheapest place for groceries. Period.

This week, at Erik's suggestion, we had one of our favourite slow-cooker meals. I found the recipe in my Canadian Family magazine last year (see it here) and it quickly became a staple meal at our house.


1 tbsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, chopped
2 cups cola (the recipe says not to use diet, but I do anyway and it still tastes great)
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cinnamon sticks (I usually just do about 1 tsp of ground cinnamon)
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp dried oregano leaves (I do about 1 tsp of ground oregano)
2 bay leaves
3 lbs boneless pork shoulder

STEP 1: Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker except the pork.

Of course, the recipe calls for 2 cups of cola which is just a little more than one can. Which, to my horror, leaves some extra pop that needs to be consumed :oP The kids are more than happy to help me deal with this "problem"...

STEP 2: Cut pork in half horizontally to lie flat. I try to trim off some of the really fatty parts of the meat in this stage. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to slow cooker and set it to low for 8 hours or high for 5 hours. I try to baste the pork and/or rotate it in between.

STEP 3/4: According the recipe you are supposed to remove the pork from the slow cooker and separate the grease from the cooking liquid. Totally not sure how this is even possible. It says to reduce some of the cooking liquid over high heat until thickened, about 10 minutes. This part of the process has never really worked well for me, so I just take the liquid straight out of the slow cooker for some extra "sauce". (And I take heart in the fact that I tried to trim off some of the fat so then it can't be quite as greasy, right?)

STEP 5: Using two forks, pull the meat apart into shreds and mix in some of the "sauce".

STEP 6: Serve on a soft, warm taco with avocado slices and a squirt of lime.

Lately we've included our favourite homemade salsa inside the tortilla as well. SO yummy!!


kelly ens said...

1 - I don't know if i was the one who mentioned that to you, but I also have a 'master' list of all our recipes, which magazine they're in, which edition and which page.
2 - Those are the exact same reasons I shop at Superstore
3 - I will have to try that recipe - it looks great!

Bonnie said...

Thank you for this recipe! It looks AMAZING! I definitely want to try this and we're definitely always looking for new recipe ideas. YUM!

Anonymous said...

You will have to make that here this summer. Looks yummy. You should start a cooking blog. Pictures look great. mom

Kim said...

Oh - that reminds me that I should make that again. Everyone loved it, and I think I recall that I had Brad over that night for "testing"!

Kim said...

Oh - and I think you should email me your "master list" so I can plagarize your meals - and get some new ideas. I love meal planning but really need to spend some quality time doing working at it.

Trev and Rebekah said...

We do enjoy this one!

Recipes is something I want to sort through and organize before we move. I just need to find the motivation for it.

And meal planning is a wonderful idea. But I find when we come to near the end of the month and the end of our monthly food budget then we just have to eat whatever we can find in the fridge and freezer.

Melissa said...

I plan my meals a week ahead as well - but never thought of organizing a master list! Great idea! What categories did you divide the recipes into?

Jamie said...

Melissa - I divide the recipes mostly according to the kind of meat (or meatless) and then subdivide them by the kind of starch (rice, pasta, potatoes or other). Sounds so scientific - haha! But, that way we don't end up having rice 3 times a week or whatever :P

Erica Baerwald said...

That recipe looks DELISH... A tip to remove some of the fat/grease from the sauce is to take a clean paper towel & drag it across the surface of the sauce. This works for soups, gravies, etc...

Jamie said...

Nice tip, Erica. I'm gonna try that next time!

rachel joy said...

I have all the ingredients, just wating a few days for the avocados to ripen!