Serious Eats: Recipes

Shredded Pork in Ancho-Orange Sauce (Chilorio) from 'Pati's Mexican Table'

[Photograph: Penny De Los Santos]

Carnitas make for one of the best taco fillings: slow braised pork, shredded and then crisped up before serving, is perfect unadorned in a warm corn tortilla. But what if you're looking to take it up a notch? In Pati's Mexican Table, Pati Jinich presents a different version of braised and shredded pork, this time fancied up with orange juice and a fragrant, tangy ancho chile sauce. With a generous pour of apple cider vinegar, the finished dish tastes almost like Mexican pulled pork—and I wouldn't consider that a bad thing.

Why I picked this recipe: Carnitas are one of my favorite taco and burrito fillings, so it was a no-brainer to try this chile and citrus-laced take on shredded pork.

What worked: Ancho chiles and oranges are a match made in heaven; tender pork shoulder makes it all the better.

What didn't: I needed more like an hour of simmering time on the pork to turn it tender, so I added about 1/3 cup more water and juice to the pot to keep things going. Don't clean out the pot once you've cooked the pork; the rendered fat and juices left behind will help flavor the sauce.

Suggested tweaks: Jinich offers the suggestion to prepare the sauce with braised chicken instead of pork, should you prefer poultry. Be sure to use bone-in, skin-on pieces (preferably dark meat) to keep things moist, tender, and flavorful.

Reprinted with permission from Pati's Mexican Table: The secrets of real Mexican home cooking by Pati Jinich. Copyright 2013. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.

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