Friday, March 21, 2014

Citrus Pork Carnitas Quesadillas

At the beginning of the week I was hoping to have finished my third Cissy doll by now. Unfortunately, I picked up a stomach bug and have been basically out of commission. Our daughter had it last week and I fought against it, but by Tuesday I was toast. Luckily, my husband was able to work from home for a day and a half so I could sleep and try to recover.

Today I woke up feeling much better and hungry as well. I've been subsisting on broth, Pedialyte, and toast all week, and today I've been having massive cravings. I also feel rather guilty, because my husband has been cooking almost all week, so I thought I would prepare a special dinner tonight. I decided to try to make my own version of a recipe from a favorite restaurant, The Cantina in Asheville's Biltmore Village. Whenever we eat there I order the pork carnitas quesadilla with coconut rice and chili lime slaw. Today I created my own version: Citrus Pork Carnitas Quesadillas with Creamy Cilantro Dipping Sauce and Guacamole. I used parts of various recipes to make this new one.

Citrus Pork Carnitas Quesadillas
Serves 10-12 
4 lb Pork Butt Roast, trimmed of fat
2 cups water
2 blood oranges or regular oranges
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Vidalia onions, chopped and set aside
1.5 Tbsp. Cumin
1.5 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. Lime Juice
3/4 tsp. pepper
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. dried oregano
15 oz. Queso Fresco (Mexican Crumbling Cheese), crumbled and set aside
controlled carbohydrate burrito-size (10-12 inch) tortillas
coconut oil
Creamy Cilantro Dipping Sauce for serving
Guacamole for serving
To make the filling: Trim fat from pork roast and place in slow cooker. Add water. Squeeze orange juice over pork and peel the orange flesh and add to the slow cooker. Add garlic, spices, seasonings and lime juice (all ingredients but onions, cheese, oil, tortillas, and dipping sauces). Cook on low 8 hours or on high 6 hours until pork is falling apart. Meanwhile, sauté onions in coconut oil until soft. When the pork is finished, remove it with a slotted spoon from the slow cooker and shred it up with a fork. If desired, place on a broiler pan under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp and caramelize the pork. Mix pork with the crumbled cheese and cooked onions. Correct seasonings if needed.
To make the quesadillas:
Brush melted coconut oil over the surface of a griddle. Place tortillas on the griddle. Place about 1/3 cup of filling on each tortilla. Fold the tortilla over the filling and cook until browned and crispy on each side. Serve hot with dipping sauces.
Creamy Cilantro Sauce
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1 dried pepper, such as Arbol, seeded and chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro leaves
Mix ingredients and let sit about 30 minutes to thicken and combine flavors.
2 avocados, peeled and mashed
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro leaves
1 tsp. powdered garlic
salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients. If too dry, add more lime juice. Taste and correct seasonings if needed.

The recipe turned out really well. I made six large quesadillas and they were all eaten. We do have a lot of filling left over. I hope I'm well enough to keep mine down. I got up early today and got the kids ready for school, took our youngest to speech, went shopping, put the pork in the Crock Pot, and worked on a doll for a little while, but it wiped me out and after that I had to sleep for about three hours. Lunch didn't sit well with me, either. I hope to recover quickly so I can list more in my store and start a new custom doll commission I received. Keep watching for new projects.


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