My name is Thomas Lott. I am a proud husband and father of two. Two of my favorite things are football and cooking. I'm no expert in either, but I certainly like to fool around with both. I’ve been a home cook for about 10 years, and been around football since I was 4 years old. This fall, perhaps I’ll find out which one I know better! So I'll be checking in periodically to make a pick - or picks (even I'm allowed a bye week here and there!). Again, I'm no expert, so please don’t go betting the mortgage on my humble picks! From that, I’ll make a dish that has something to do with the game - who I think will win, a star/key player, or other story line. Don’t worry - I’m a home cook so it won’t be anything you can’t do - I promise. I’m still learning so most of these will come from my stash of cookbooks or another recipe floating around the internet. I won’t pawn anything off as my own or pretend there’s some super-secret family recipe that I can't share. Most of these I will probably have made before, others might be an experiment. I hope all will go well, but some may go from stovetop right to the dumpster! I'll be sharing my successes, mishaps, and maybe even a few gratuitous shots of my crew of sous chefs and tasters :-)

I'm always a work in progress, so my food won't *always* be pretty (or healthy!), but it's going to taste good--and if it doesn't I'll tell you that, too. And just so you know, it's also a mathematical certainty that I'll whiff on some of my football picks, too. The whole point is to get better at both! So I hope you keep up with me this fall as I have some fun with the kitchen and the pigskin! I welcome all comments, suggestions, requests and discussions on all things pigskin and kitchen!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Week 12 - Carnitas

Not a bad showing last week, huh? I know a disciplined bunch when I see them and I do REALLY like this Stanford team. I was so impressed by the way they took it to Oregon. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it always seems like there’s something missing from these Oregon teams. They're incredibly exciting to watch, but it’s something like a house of cards up there in Eugene. Perhaps next year this time they could rebound for a playoff run, but they didn’t show themselves to be really tough enough to handle a playoff anyway.
Looks like this week we’ve got another mmeh kind of schedule. Georgia travels to Auburn to take on the sneaky Tigers. Watch out for these guys. Nobody is paying any attention to them and they’re positioning themselves for an epic Iron Bowl in a few weeks if they keep on winning. Georgia is….whatever…you should know by now there’s no way I’m picking Georgia at this point in the season. I expect Auburn to take care of business.

There’s also Oklahoma State at Texas, who is finally back in the top 25 after a disastrous start to their season. This is a really tough one for me. The Horns have really come together as of late and seem to be playing with an “us against the world” type of mentality. They just outlasted West Virginia in a gutsy road win and now they come home to face a team that will attack them in the same way. Oklahoma State should definitely be on upset alert, but I think they’ll find a way to beat Texas.
So with the big game in Austin, I wanted to do something Tex-Mex, since there are so many amazing Tex-Mex places there. I’m going to be making carnitas, which is a delicious shredded pork perfect for all kinds of different things. You’ll be amazed at what you start out with and what it tranforms into .

Pork Carnitas - Adapted from Bon Appetit

So we begin with 3 lbs of boneless country style pork ribs. Cut them into thirds and remove any large pieces of fat.

Mince two canned chipotle chilis. You'll definitely want to seed them. Well, you can sneak a few in there if you like the heat. Depends on your tastes and your crowd! Reserve 2 tbsp of the adobo sauce from the can.

Add the meat to a deep skillet or dutch oven along with the water, chipotle chilis, adobo sauce, orange juice, whole peeled garlic cloves, and salt.

Bring to a boil, cover, reduce to low and simmer for 1 hour and 45 minutes. After the hour and 45 is up, take the lid off , turn to high, and begin reducing the liquid. It should look something like this when you first take the lid off and begin reducing:

Reduce it about halfway (This takes around 30 mins or so - just keep an eye on it). Stir occasionally.

Once you've reached this point, add dark rum and continue to reduce.

As the liquid evaporates you'll stir a little more frequently which will cause the meat to start shredding. It's OK if it sticks a little bit.


Keep reducing and stirring until the liquid is gone and you are left with tender, shredded, Tex-Mex goodness!

Yes, that's a paper plate-don't judge me. 

So there you go - Pork Carnitas! This is another one that I admit is not a weeknight recipe. After all the simmering and reducing is done, it's probably about a 3 hour process. But I can also tell you that it definitely tastes that way. You can do a lot with this meat - pretty much anything that you'd do with ordinary ground beef. You can make tacos, nachos, eat over rice, with eggs for breakfast (breakfast burritos?), etc. I don't even really think you need much salsa or anything like that because its pretty flavorful. It's great for feeding a crowd, too. Isn't it amazing what ribs and a couple of ingredients transformed into?

Have a great week!

Pork Carnitas
adapted from Bon Appetit

3 lbs country style boneless pork ribs
2 C Water
1 1/2 C Orange juice
6 Whole garlic cloves, peeled

2 Minced canned chipotles
      plus 2 tbsp adobo sauce

1 1/2 Tsp kosher salt
1/4 C dark rum

1)Cut ribs into thirds, and remove any large pieces of fat

Combine pork plus the next five ingredients to a deep heavy skillet or dutch oven. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, then cover for 1 ¾ hours. Remove cover and reduce liquid by half.

Add the dark rum and continue reducing until all of the liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally. As the liquid evaporates the pork may start to stick a little. As you continue to stir, the meat will fall apart and brown.

4)Remove from heat after liquid is gone and serve hot.

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