Slow-cooked pork carnitas with tomatillo salsa

  • serves 10
  • A little effort

Carnitas are the next step up from tacos. Traditionally cooked slowly in fat, the meat is meltingly tender. This recipe for slow-cooked pork carnitas with tomatillo salsa is a lighter version. Buy tomatillos from mexgrocer.co.uk.



  • skinless pork shoulder 2kg, cut into really large pieces, about 10cm 
  • ground cumin 1 tbsp
  • ground coriander 1½ tbsp
  • cinnamon stick 1
  • bay leaves 2
  • onion 1, quartered
  • garlic 4 cloves, left whole
  • oranges 2 large, juiced
  • tomatillos 1 large or 2 smaller tins, or 6-8 large green/unripe tomatoes 
  • garlic 3 cloves, skin on
  • green chillies 3, halved lengthways
  • onion 1, peeled and quartered
  • coriander a handful of leaves
  • olive oil
  • warm tortillas or finely sliced red onion or crumbled feta or lime wedges or coriander


  • Step 1

    To make the salsa put the tomatillos, garlic, chillies and onion on a baking sheet. Season and toss with a little olive oil then roast at 220C/fan 200C/gas 7 until the onion and garlic and chilli are really soft and a little charred at the edges, about 15-20 minutes. Peel the garlic, discard the chilli stems. Tip everything into a food processor with the coriander, and whizz until blended.

  • Step 2

    Lower the oven to 130C/fan 110C/gas 1. Toss the pork with some seasoning and the spices. Put in the bottom of a very large shallow casserole dish, or baking dish and tuck in the cinnamon, bay leaves, onion and garlic. Pour over the orange juice. Put on a lid, or tightly cover with foil, then cover and cook for 4 hours.

  • Step 3

    Take off the lid and turn up the heat to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Pour off the excess liquid from the meat into a jug, and remove the cinnamon. Cook for another 20-30 minutes until the pork starts to crisp at the edges. Roughly shred the pork, adding a few spoons of the reserved liquid, then pile into warm tortillas with the salsa and accompaniments.

Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 312
  • Fat 18.5g
  • Saturates 5.8g
  • Carbs 7.2g
  • Fibre 1.7g
  • Protein 28.3g
  • Salt 0.2g