Carnita Nachos W/Chipotle-Lime Crema
I only mention it because I happened to be visiting some hardcore football fans the weekend the competing teams were selected and I actually witnessed the games. Not being a huge sports fan, it may come as no surprise that this is the first time I have ever done that. And I must admit, it was seriously cool. I have no official affiliation with any team so I will be cheering for the Seahawks because my sister lives in Seattle, and because I thought their crazy comeback in the last game was pretty darn awesome. Those are good reasons, right?
I might as well and just show my true colors. My favorite part of Super Bowl Sunday (like this isn’t a teensy bit obvious) is the food. Don’t judge. The dips, the cheesy foods, the salsas and chips, the burgers and hot dogs…all winners. This is the first year in awhile that I am not sick and pregnant, taking care of a baby, or alone with small children because my husband is working. We are going to an actual, official, bonafide Superbowl party!! I realize how pathetic that sounds and, no, I don’t get out much.
In the spirit of the upcoming game, I wanted to bring to the event something new. Something outrageous. And something goooood. I recently discovered pork carnitas at our local Mexican restaurant and I cannot. get. enough. How have I been missing these my whole life and why has no one told me about them before? If you are unfamiliar with them, carnitas are usually pork braised in orange or lime, and then crisped up before nestled in a warm tortilla and slathered with toppings of choice. I know. Amazing, right? No matter how many times I eat them, I still want more. So I decided to experiment and make them myself. Research shows very little continuity in recipes so I created my own based on the flavors I noticed when taste testing them at every Mexican place I could find. Phew! It was tough.
In order to make them more party friendly, I decided to shred the meat over chips and turn them into nachos. The mix of textures is incredibly satisfying. Cunchy, creamy, tangy, meaty, cheesy-hard to resist, right? I solve that problem by choosing NOT to resist them.
I love to squeeze a lime over my carnitas just before I
inhale delicately enjoy them for a meal, but a cool dollop of sour cream is my favorite part. I decided to combine the two (using plain yogurt instead as a healthy substitute) and just drizzle it over the whole darn thing. Fresh lime + creamy yogurt = addictive sauce on every bite! So much easier to munch on with a crowd! Crema is just a fancy word for a Mexican sour cream, so my version is a very loose interpretation of that! But tasty. Very tasty. These are just so darn good, you may be too distracted to watch the game.
This picture is actually a different batch from the photos above. Notice the crazy amount of cheese. Ooey, gooey, goodness.
Carnita Nachos W/Chipotle-Lime ‘Crema’
You can easily make the pork on a weekend and either chill it for later in the week, or freeze it for later in the month. Either way, it makes for a speedy meal to throw together. Make sure to serve any extra crema on the side. Its spicy and tangy and incredibly awesome with these nachos. Feel free to slather it on anything else that sounds good too!
For the pork:
4-5 pounds pork butt, boston butt, or pork shoulder, trimmed of its large fat cap and cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
1 large onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 c orange juice
1 c chicken broth, homemade or canned
1/4 c lime juice
Don’t trim the meat too much! All that fat is flavor, baby! Put all ingredients in a large slow cooker and turn on high for 4-5 hours, or low for 6-7 hours, or just until the meat holds it shape, but is tender and easily pulls apart with a fork. Remove the meat with a large, slotted spoon and discard the cooking liquid. Freeze, chill, or make nachos!!
For the crema:
1 c plain, fat free greek yogurt, such as Chobani
2 T fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp ground chipotle pepper
large pinch of salt
black pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together and set aside.
For the nachos:
large corn tortilla chips (the hint of lime ones are stellar here)
1 c canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 large tomato, chopped, or 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 green onions, chopped
2 c shredded cheese, jack, cheddar, or a mix of both
quartered limes for garnish
Chipotle Lime Crema
Layer the nachos in a cast-iron pan or another oven proof pan or platter. Start with a generous layer of chips, then break up the chunks of pork, covering it with as much as you like. Note: you will only use about half of the amount from the recipe above. Next, sprinkle with the black beans, then the onions and tomatoes, and lastly the cheese. Tuck the whole she-bang under the broiler until the cheese melts, remove (with hot pads!!) and drizzle generously with the crema. Serve with lime wedges to squeeze on the nachos and any extra crema. Enjoy!