Carnitas Nortenas

This chile pepper gets its name from its origin. In Spanish, serrano is an adjective meaning “from the mountains” which is where it originated-in the mountains of Hildalgo, Mexico. The serrano is normally about twice as hot as Jalapeno (about 10,000 to 15,000 Scoville units).It is the second most popular chile pepper in Mexico. This chile is used mostly for salsas but can also be used in soups, sauces, chili or stews.Try these as a hotter substitute for Jalapeno.

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2 pounds pork shoulder or butt cut into 2-inch cubes
salt and pepper to taste
1-1/2 pounds lard or pork fat or shortening
1 medium red onion, freshly diced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped (1/2 cup)
5 serrano chiles, stemmed, seeded and chopped

Suggested sides:

mashed avocado
warm corn tortillas
green tomatillo salsa


Generously season the pork all over with the salt and pepper.

Melt the lard in a large, deep saucepan or Dutch oven over moderate heat, then add the well-seasoned meat and simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until fork tender. Remove the pork with a slotted spoon and transfer the meat to a cutting board. The fat can be refrigerated for future use.

Preheat oven to 400F.

When the pork iscool enough to handle, shred it by hand or with the tines of two forks. In a mixing bowl, toss the pork with the onion, cilantro and chiles to combine. Transfer the mixture to a casserole dish and cover it tightly. Bake, until it is heated through, about 15 minutes, then serve hot with some mashed avocado, corn tortillas, and green tomatillo salsa.

Recipe from “Mexican Cooking for Dummies” by Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken, ISBN: 0-7645-5169-8.