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shredded pork carnitas on flour tortillas with pickled onions and tomatoes on a white plate with blue napkin
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Carnitas Tacos with Stewed Pinto Beans

Chunks of pork are slow-cooked until tender then fried in the rendered fat until it’s golden brown and crisp on the outside.
Course taco
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword beans, braise, carnitas, pinto beans, pork, stew, tortilla
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients

For the carnitas:

  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 3 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 2” pieces
  • pounds pork belly, cut into 1” pieces
  • 1 cup pork lard (or vegetable oil)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, halved
  • 1 medium jalapeño pepper, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 medium orange, halved
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup whole milk

For the stewed pinto beans:

  • 1 cup dried pinto beans, rinsed and picked through
  • 1 medium yellow onion, halved
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Kosher salt, as needed

For serving:

Instructions

For the carnitas:

  • In a small bowl stir together the cayenne, salt and sugar. Evenly sprinkle over the pork shoulder and pork belly pieces, tossing to combine. Add to a large bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight to marinate.
  • Remove the pork from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Heat a large (7-quart) Dutch oven over medium heat, add the lard (or vegetable oil) to the pot followed by the marinated pork. 
  • Arrange the onion, jalapeño, garlic, orange and bay leaves in the pot then top with the milk and 2 cups of water. The pork should just barely be covered by the liquid.
  • Bring to a boil over medium heat then lower heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the meat is fork tender and the water and milk have evaporated, stirring about every 15 minutes for a total of 2 hours.
  • If the liquid has not all evaporated at this point, remove the meat to a bowl and continue to simmer until it has then add the meat back to the pot if necessary.
  • Increase the heat to medium-high heat and fry the meat, stirring occasionally until it is crispy and golden brown on the outside, about an additional 10 minutes. Remove to a large bowl and set aside.

For the stewed pinto beans:

  • Add the beans and onion to a large pot and cover by several inches of water.
  • Bring the beans to a boil over medium heat then lower heat to medium-low and simmer until the beans are tender, about 2 hours, adding more water if necessary, to keep the beans covered by about ½” of water.
  • When the beans are tender stir in the coriander and cumin and season with salt to taste.

For serving:

  • Use a slotted spoon to top the tortillas with a scoop of the stewed pinto beans followed by carnitas and top with pico de gallo and pickled onions. Serve with lime wedges.