use up your leftovers: not quite carnitas


You might remember that when I made my balsamic roasted pork tenderloin, I discovered that what I thought was one large tenderloin turned out to be two medium-sized ones.  Well, we only ate one of them, and the second one languished in the fridge for several days.  Poor, lonely pork tenderloin.  Neither of us felt like eating it by itself — we’d eaten all of the apples and onions I roasted with the original dinner — and we were far too lazy to do something sensible like making some side dishes or something.  Meanwhile, the contents of the fridge were dwindling, and we were scraping together meals out of whatever we could find and utterly failing to either go to the grocery store or eat the damn pork.  Finally I decided that it was time to do both.  So I headed to the store and re-stocked the fridge with our usual selection of produce, and by the time I’d unpacked everything I’d figured out what I was going to do with the pork.

So, the next night (I almost never cook on grocery night, which is kind of ironic), I threw together these not quite carnitas.  They’re really nothing like the real thing — totally different spices and process — but they’re still shredded pork in a tortilla, darn it.  Don’t judge me.  I served them with the produce we had on hand, which didn’t include either cilantro or lime, which are really pretty necessary if you want really good carnitas, in my opinion.  Or really good anything vaguely Mexican.  But whatever, this is a leftovers meal, so beggars can’t be choosers and I forgot to pick up either cilantro or lime at the grocery store anyway.  It doesn’t really matter, you can serve it with whatever you’d like.

Not Quite Carnitas

1 pork tenderloin, leftover from previous dinner
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

With two forks, shred the pork.  Mine was sliced into thick medallions because I’d thought we were going to eat it that way, which made shredding pretty easy.  You can do it however you’d like.  It’s not rocket science.

In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and saute for a few seconds — not too long, you don’t want the garlic to brown.  Add pork, paprika, onion powder, salt, and pepper.  Saute, stirring frequently, until pork is beginning to brown and is thoroughly warmed through, about eight minutes.

Meanwhile, chop, slice, and put out your accompaniments.  I set out shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, sliced red onion, sliced avocado, chopped scallions, sour cream, and cheddar cheese.  Plus tortillas, of course.  If I hadn’t been forgetful at the grocery store, I would have omitted the sour cream and put out fresh cilantro and lime wedges.  But whatever, it was still awesome.

On Photography: Um, there isn’t any.  It was way too dark to really light anything and also I was hungry and didn’t feel like assembling my tortilla all pretty-like and honestly I kind of forgot about it.  But this using-up-leftovers recipe came out so well that I decided to share it with you all anyway.  Aren’t you glad?


3 Responses to “use up your leftovers: not quite carnitas”

  1. What a great idea! You made this recipe sound so easy. I will definitely be trying this recipe. I just need to get my husband to make me some homemade tortillas and salsa. Thanks

  2. 2 Lauren

    Thanks so much! Loved it. For a little extra, I blended the juices, onion, apple and Rosemary together with a hand blender. Then poured it over the pork slices on rice 🙂

  3. 3 Lauren

    My comment was supposed to be on your balsamic pork tenderloin page…

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