Magazine article Sunset

Just Tell Your Guests: Build Your Own Carnitas

Magazine article Sunset

Just Tell Your Guests: Build Your Own Carnitas

Article excerpt

Just tell your guests: build your own carnitas

Carnitas and spiced beans plus a trio oflively salsas are Mexico's rousing way of serving pork and beans. Here, we feature a convivial party menu well suited to summer weather.

The meal focuses on the barbecue, but noton barbecued foods. You use the grill only to heat the tortillas and keep pork and beans warm. Guests manage the tortillas, add fillings and salsas, and eat at their own pace.

Greet guests with cool glasses of aguafresca made with bright watermelon, one of many fruits used as a base for these thirst-quenching Mexican "cool waters.' You can serve agua fresca during the meal, or offer beer or agua minerale-- sparkling water with lime on ice.

The feathery light meringue dessert recipeis on page 169.

When you invite guests to serve themselves,suggest various ways they can assemble the meal: spoon meat, beans, sauces, and cheese onto a plate and enjoy with warm tortillas; or roll the tortillas around the dinner elements for a soft taco, enchilada, or flute-shaped flauta.

To assemble filled tortillas, fire-warm 1or 2 and put on your plate. Spoon meat and beans onto each tortilla and roll to enclose filling; lay tortillas seam down so they won't pop open. Spoon green tomatillo salsa on 1 side of the rolls, red chili salsa on the other, then top with salsa cruda and cheese.

Summer carnitas fiesta

Watermelon Agua Fresca

Carnitas Spiced Black Beans

Fire-warmed Corn Tortillas

Crumbled Cotija Cheese (or Feta)

Green Tomatillo Salsa Red Chili Salsa

Salsa Cruda Fiesta Green Salad

Mango and Raspberry Meringue Torte

You'll find most ingredients in well-stockedsupermarkets. If not, shop at a Mexican food market, which also carries cotija, a crumbly sharp cheese, and may even sell freshly made tortillas.

You'll need at least 16 to 20 corn tortillas(7-in. size) and about 1/3 pound cotija or feta cheese. The cheese is served to sprinkle over the hot foods; crumble cheese between your fingers.

Try to shop at least 2 days ahead. Everythingexcept for the salsa cruda can hold a day or 2 in the refrigerator.

If you're in a hurry, an alternative is tobuy ready-to-serve carnitas, red chili salsa, and green tomatillo salsa from Mexican markets.

If you're making your own carnitas, savethe broth and fat to use in other recipes in this menu.

Watermelon Agua Fresca

1 small watermelon or 1 piece ofwatermelon, about 8 pounds

2 quarts water

1 cup each lime juice and sugar

Ice, optional

Cut rind off melon and discard. Cut outseedless center, cut in chunks, and whirl in a blender or food processor, a portion at a time, until smoothly pureed. Pour puree into a large jar (at least 1 gal.).

Cut remaining melon with seeds intochunks, picking out and discarding seeds, if desired; reserve a few black seeds if you want the drink to look authentically Mexican. Finely chop melon; scoop pulp and juices into the jar. (For a smoother drink, puree all the melon.) Add water, lime juice, sugar, and, if desired, the reserved seeds. Stir until sugar is dissolved.

To serve, ladle agua fresca into glassespartially filled with ice. Or cover and chill until cold, at least 2 hours or up to 1 day; serve with ice as an option to add to glasses. Makes 10 servings, 1 3/4 cups each.


1 bone-in pork shoulder or butt(about 7 lb.)

1 1/2 quarts regular-strength chickenbroth

1 large onion, quartered

1 tablespoon each coriander seedand cumin seed

2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves, or1 teaspoon dry oregano leaves

4 canned chipotle chilies in sauce(chili chipotle en diable)

2 tablespoons sauce from cannedchipotle chilies in sauce

2 bay leaves



To a 7- to 8-quart pan, add pork, broth,onion, coriander, cumin, oregano, chili, chilies in sauce, and bay leaves. …

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