Wednesday, October 19, 2011

October Dinner Party {monthly menu}

Fall is my favorite season, and October is my absolute favorite month. The heat clicks on, the sweaters come out, and now it is time to crank up the oven. 

We'd been kicking around the idea of making carnitas since the middle of summer, but we kept putting it off. Once we experienced our first cold snap, the idea of pork quietly simmering all day sounded like just the thing. We developed a somewhat-Mexican-inspired menu around the carnitas. 

October Dinner Party Menu

The smoky bacon pumpkin soup was thick with a creamy texture and sweetened with a bit of maple syrup. We topped it off with crumbled queso fresco and finely chopped cilantro.

I got my very lovely DeLonghi slow cooker almost a year ago, and although I use it regularly to prepare meals for my family, this is the first time we've ever used it for a Two Tarts' recipe. A crockpot is perfect for a dish like carnitas which needs to simmer slowly for hours. We threw the meat under the broiler just before serving to brown it up a bit. 
Slow Cooker Carnitas
  • 3 1/2 pounds pork shoulder
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 limes
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 cup beef broth
Mix salt and cumin together and rub all over the pork shoulder. Place the pork shoulder into the slow cooker, along with the whole garlic cloves. Squeeze the oranges and limes and add the juice to the slow cooker. Pour the beef broth over the top, and cook on low for 10 hours. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, and turn on the broiler. When the carnitas has cooled a bit, gently shred with your fingers. (Remove all the fatty bits and discard.) Place the shredded carnitas onto the baking sheet and broil until the meat starts to caramelize and brown around the edges, about 5 minutes.

We topped our carnitas tacos with a delicious green chile (recipe forthcoming!) as well as queso fresco, cilantro, and chopped white onions. We finished our meal off with individual ramekins of apple crisp topped with vanilla whipped cream. Not a very Mexican way to end the evening, but I had a bag of lovely, tiny apples from a friend's apple tree and they were just begging to be placed in a crisp.

The same gentleman who gave us the tasty little apples gave us a golden watermelon. We whipped up a cocktail which is essentially a watermelon margarita. It was awesome, and the recipe is right here.

We listened to:


  1. Lovely. Do you think I could use another type of meat if we don't eat pork? Dying to dust off the slow cooker :)

  2. I'm not sure if it'd work the same way with a meat other than pork shoulder. The pork shoulder has a lot of fat and connective tissue that's meant to break down during the long cooking maybe if you found a different type of meat with similar properties? Let us know!

  3. Dulcie thinks you should try brisket...

  4. That sounds amazing. I've done pork in my crock pot, but not with those ingredients and I would never have thought to broil it so it gets kind of crispy - thanks for the recipe!

  5. OMG!

    The smoky bacon pumpkin soup looks absolutely DELICIOUS

    Going to try this on christmas day!


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