Carnitas, literally “little meats,” is a dish where meat has first been braised or roasted until tender, and then pan-fried or sautéed until browning occurs in Mexican Cuisine. It’s normally made from pork but I thought I would try to use beef instead for this recipe. The beef comes out of the slow cooker or pressure cooker bursting with flavor and extra tender. These carnitas are so versatile and you can serve them in tacos, over the lettuce as a salad or in my case with lime cauliflower rice, roasted garlic and cilantro. I used a pressure cooker and added smoked flavor by using natural liquid smoke. I added chili garlic sauce for a bit of heat. The meat just falls apart and I loved the smoked flavor. The cauliflower rice is a healthy, no-carb alternative to your regular rice and it’s really delicious. I added roasted garlic, lime juice, lime zest and fresh cilantro to bring up the flavors in the cauliflower rice. I finished this dish with pineapple orange salsa, which were a perfect addition to this meal. Zesty, sweet, tangy and a little spicy.
Beef Carnitas with Lime Cauliflower Rice, Roasted Garlic and Pineapple Orange Salsa
Beef Carnitas: cooking time 90 min to 10 hours depends if you use pressure cooker or slow cooker
- 1.5 pounds beef, all fat removed ( brisket, chuck roast or flank steak )
- 1/4 cup water for pressure cooker
- 1 teaspoon liquid mesquite smoke
- 1 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
- 1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
Place beef in the slow cooker and stab it all over with the tip of a knife. Rub sea salt all over beef. Drizzle with liquid smoke all over and set slow cooker to low. Cook about 8-10 hours.
Select High Pressure and spray the cooking pot with oil. Add beef to the pot. Sprinkle the salt over the beef, add water and liquid smoke. Cook for 90 minutes, use the natural pressure release.
- Remove the meat from the cooking pot and shred with two forks (discard excess fat as you shredded).
- Pan-fry shredded meat with a little bit of olive oil until browning occurs and serve immediately.
Lime Cauliflower Rice with Roasted Garlic and Cilantro: cooking time ~10 minutes (inspired by cauliflower rice at Closet Cooking )
- 1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 lime, juice and zest
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- 4-6 garlic cloves, roasted (how to roast garlic: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/roasted_garlic/)
- Salt, pepper to taste
- Rice the cauliflower in a food processor.
- Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat, add the roasted garlic, cauliflower and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower rice is tender and slightly golden brown, about 7-10 minutes.
- Mix the lime juice, zest and cilantro into the cauliflower rice and enjoy!
Pineapple Orange Salsa
- 1 navel orange
- 1/3 cup pineapple, fresh or frozen and thawed, diced
- 1 tablespoon red onion, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
- 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce or to taste
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoon coarsely chopped cilantro
- Salt, pepper to taste
- Using a sharp knife, peel the orange, removing all the bitter white pith. Working over a bowl, cut in between the membranes to release the segments. Squeeze the orange membranes to extract the juice.
- Stir in the red onion, pineapple, ginger, chili garlic sauce, fresh lime juice, cilantro and season with salt and pepper.
Assemble the beef carnitas bowls as desired! Enjoy!