slow-cooker carnitas with poblano and onion

15 | April 7, 2011

First of all, let me start out by saying these aren’t really true carnitas. True carnitas are a heavily marbled (fatty-yet tasty) cut of pork, braised for hours on end in lard and a mixture of Mexican spices and then roasted on high for few minutes to produce an alternating texture of succulent softness and caramelized crispy heaven that we call heaven in a bite. Trust me, I’ve become sort of an expert on this subject as a born and bread Texan. Especially now that we live in a city like Waco where on every corner there is a taco cart with a grandma carnitas expert behind the counter.

No, what you call these is “too busy too cook, low-fat, need to use up the onions and poblanos, pulled pork” but that wouldn’t fit in the title. That doesn’t mean in any way that they aren’t as succulent, savory, and every bit worth the two seconds it takes to put together. I hardly ever bring out the slow cooker but lately I’ve been so busy that life has just demanded it. Poblano and onion carnitas is a simple meal to throw together and a crowd pleaser in this family. In the words of The Husband, “This is really good seriously, it doesn’t take like slow cooker food, it taste like real food….uh, you know what I mean.”

Poblano and Onion Carnitas serves 6

  • 2 1/2 to 3 pound pork loin center cut roast
  • 2 Tbs Montreal Seasoning (Kosher salt, black and red pepper, garlic flakes, paprika)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 poblano peppers
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock or broth

Cover all sides of the pork loin with the Montreal seasoning and chili powder.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat and place the pork loin in the pan. Sear the meat for 3 to 5 minutes until browned. Repeat with all sides until the entire roast is seared.

Place in a slow cooker, fat side up.

Cut the poblanos and onions in half rings and place in the same skillet as the meat was seared in. Add the garlic. Stir and saute  for 5 minutes until barely cooked but picks up any remaining flavor that the pork loin had previously left. Note: this can be a little on the spicy side but just a little. Poblanos are not known for their heat. If your family is not a spicy fan, cut back on the poblanos to 1 or 2.

Place the peppers and onions on top of the roast in the slow cooker and add the chicken stock or broth. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.

Once finished, remove the pork loin and shred with a fork. Serve on a warm toasted tortilla and top with the remaining poblanos and onions and whatever else you choose. Tonight we’re topping ours with arugula, queso fresco and a squeeze of lime.

Usually I’m a big believer in cilantro and onion but I was fresh out. Oh well, this was just as good. Enjoy!



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  • mark

    I am making this, this weekend! Yum

  • kelly

    I love carnitas but have never had the patience to make them. This looks easy. Thanks!

  • leigh m


  • harper

    This looks simple enough for a kitchen dyslexic like me! NUM!

  • kelly

    Until you can post about real carnitas recipe I guess this will do. :) Your carne guisada is always a hit at our house! Thanks

  • Micha

    I LOVE CARNITAS, and your photography!

  • Catherine

    When/where do you add the stock? Did I miss that part? Thanks!

    • In Sock Monkey Slippers

      Ahh! That would be helpful wouldn’t it! Pour the chicken stock in after you place the onions and peppers on top of the pork loin. Thanks for pointing that out, Catherine! It has been corrected.

      • Catherine

        Ok, that’s kind of what I thought but figured I’d ask! I have this cooking in my crock pot right this minute and it smells sooo good!! I’m very excited for tonight’s dinner!

        • In Sock Monkey Slippers

          I know, right! It’s something about those poblanos that really makes it. Let me know how it turns out for you. We really enjoyed it!

          • Catherine

            AH-MAZ-ING!!!!! I would say based on the three criteria that are important to me – ease, taste, and cost – this is easily one of the best recipies I’ve ever made. They really were super good and so so easy. I served mine with guac and rice.

          • In Sock Monkey Slippers

            Guac and Rice! Genius! I’m so glad you liked it and thanks for letting me know!!!!

  • mandy

    Sooooo delicious!!! Unfortunately I didn’t have any poblanos so I had to sub some fresh jalapenos and bell pepper from the garden. I used a 2 1/2 lb. bone in pork roast. I didn’t have any tortillas so I served this with yellow rice and some sliced garden tomatoes. Even my super picky husband loved it! We are having the leftovers tonight with fresh tortillas. Thank you so much for the awesome recipe!!!

    • In Sock Monkey Slippers

      Anytime and thanks for letting me know what you used for substitutions. YUM!

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