Carnitas Tacos with Escabeche

If you’ve met Joe and I, it’s no huge secret that Mexican is pretty much our favorite genre of food. It was omnipresent for me growing up in Texas, and since Joe grew up in the Midwest… well, let’s just say that once he discovered good Mexican food in California, he’s never been able to get enough of it.

When eating at home, we’ll usually stick to simple things like tacos and basic enchiladas, so last week when I saw Sara share a recipe for carnitas, I thought it might be the perfect thing to try on a lazy Saturday. Since we were staying home and doing absolutely nothing, there’d be no problem in letting the meat cook away in the oven for hours.

This would be a GREAT recipe for entertaining — the meat can be braising while you hang out with your guests or do other things around the house. I topped our tacos with peppers and veggies pickled in escabeche, a must for a rich, fatty taco filling like carnitas. Ever been to a taco truck? Escabeche is that delicious, spicy, vinegary concoction of jalapenos, peppers, carrots, onions and sometimes cauliflower. So good. A little avocado and a few sprigs of cilantro, and we were ready to go.

Well, once the margaritas got made.

Recipe notes

For the carnitas, I basically followed Sara’s recipe with a few changes. I used 1.5 beers (specifically, Victoria lagers leftover from our party) instead of one. I did not drain off the fat before putting everything in the oven, instead, choosing to let the meat cook in it and then draining it off at the end. Carnitas, after all, is basically pork confit. I also quadrupled the garlic and used Mexican oregano instead of regular. When the meat was done (I let it go for about 3 hours), I shredded it with two forks, and after draining the fat off of the cooking liquid, had so little left that I put all the meat back in and mixed it up with the softened garlic and juices. Do I really need to say more? It was ridiculously good.

For the escabeche, I followed this basic recipe, but of course had to make a few changes to that too. I used the same amount of apple cider vinegar recommended, and sauteed the veggies as instructed. However, since I was using a large aluminum pan (which can be reactive with that much acid), I made the sure the veggies were good and soft before adding the vinegar. I then quickly warmed the mixture up (but did not simmer it) before transferring to a glass bowl and allowing to sit for several hours. Also, I quartered the jalapenos instead of leaving them whole. And I did NOT attempt to can anything.

Really, this was so good and something I’d make again and again. Tons of leftovers too. Give it a try!

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  1. 10.4.11

    beautiful photos. i, too, cannot ever get enough mexican food. have i told you i still dream about those chopped brussel sprouts from mamacita?

  2. 10.4.11
    Molly said:

    welp, these look amazing. it’s 8:52 am and I am now starving and have mexican food on the brain… YUM

  3. 10.4.11
    newlymeds said:

    Could those photos being any more beautiful and that food look at more delicious? I think not! :)

  4. 10.4.11

    This food is gorgeous, and Mexican is one of my favorites too. Awesome recipe.

  5. 10.4.11

    nomnomnom – i want one right now!! looks amazing!

    funny story – anytime people come into town and want to know where they should go eat, hubs and i literally can’t help them if they don’t want mexican. it’s basically all we ever eat. we’re on a mission to try every mexi joint in the city. clearly, it’s our fave as well, so i commend you on your taste :)

  6. 10.4.11
    viv said:

    yummmmmmy! i must try these!

  7. 10.4.11

    Mexican’s my favorite too and I’m not just saying that because I’m Mexican. I actually didn’t even know how much I loved Mexican until I was like 22, away from home with no Mexican food in sight.

    These look so freaking awesome. I’m so gonna try making them. Realistically I’ll probably just be sous chef to TH.

  8. 10.4.11

    Holy yum!! So weird–I’m actually making carnitas in my crockpot RIGHT NOW. Gonna copy your toppings girl. Pictures came out gorgeous!

  9. 10.4.11
    Sweet nothings said:

    looks DELISH!

  10. 10.4.11

    These look delicious even without the meat (im a vegan) lol! The bf and I are huge fans of Mexican food, we could literally eat it everyday! I think I’m officially having tacos for lunch today :) p.s. where did you get the tortillas?

  11. 10.4.11
    rooth said:

    **Wipes off drool from chin – DELISH!

  12. 10.4.11

    Wow I am so glad you tried the recipe! And the escabeche looks amazing! Great pictures.

  13. 10.4.11
    Ashley said:

    I could live off of Mexican food alone… it’s embarrassing. These look SO good and I can’t wait to give them a try!

  14. 10.4.11

    Mexican is definitely one of my favorites! I need to try a veggie variation of this!

  15. 10.4.11

    Definitely trying this!! A combination of my fav foods. Delish!

  16. 10.4.11

    In Hawaii, the only Mexican food we had was Taco Bell. I hated Mexican food until we moved to Cali! But carnitas are just like kalua pig, so I’ll always love it.

    Your photos are gorgeous!

  17. 10.5.11

    This looks delicious!!! I love anything with blue corn tortillas! Mmm. XO

  18. 5.19.12

    Making all of this as we speak! Can’t wait to try your escabeche recipe!

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