Christmas carnitas

We don’t have many Christmas traditions on the Erickson side of the family, but one of them is the annual Christmas Eve pizza. This started when we were kids and we were too excited to rip open our gifts to sit through a long holiday meal and its ensuing cleanup.

Now that I’m in charge of the spread, we typically supplement it with sandwiches and a variety of appetizers. It’s sort of a rotating basis of whatever I feel like cooking, but we may have stumbled onto a new addition to the permanent roster: Christmas carnitas.

I’m pretty much a rock star in my family right now because of these. (It will be short-lived, but I’ll take it.) I recently stumbled across a new hot sauce that made me crave carnitas – tangy pork filling that’s tender but also roasted until it’s a bit crispy – and decided to try this slow-cooker and stovetop method using my own preferred ingredients.

The smell of the meat cooking in the kitchen was incredible – at least that’s what my brother said when he happened to stop by. “I have chicken and potatoes cooking at home,” he said. “But I’ll just try a bite of the meat to see what it tastes like.”

The next thing I knew, he was standing over the pan at the stovetop using tortilla chips – and a sometimes even his fingers – to scoop the meat into his mouth. “This is incredible,” he commented. “I can’t stop eating it. Can you make this for Christmas?”

“Why wait? Can you make this again next weekend?” the hubby implored.

The recipe is simple, healthy and feeds a crowd, so we’re adding this to our Christmas Eve buffet plans, along with plenty of homemade pico de gallo – the colors of which just happen to be very Christmassy.

This will be my third time making these carnitas in the past four weeks, meaning the hubby, my brother and I will have eaten roughly 12 pounds of carnitas and 12 cups of pico de gallo in the past month.

But ‘tis the season to be jolly. Feliz Navidad!  

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