Slow Cooked Carnitas

(Updated 8.27.19) slow cooked carnitas are made with tender pork loin that is simmered in flavorful spices all day for an excellent, quick dinner.

Slow Cooked Carnitas | Serendipity by Sara Lynn
Pork tacos with beer.
Slow cooker taco meat.

If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you probably saw that I posted a picture of pie dough promising a BIG EXCITING RECIPE COMING VERY VERY SOON AND IT’S GOING TO BE THE BEST THING EVER.  It’s true, and pie dough will be here soon, but tonight I made super easy and amazing slow cooked carnitas. So I thought I’d just share them real quick!

Now, if you’re still confused about the “easy” part of the slow cooked carnitas description, (because honestly when have they ever been easy?) let me explain.  First, you’ll sear the pork.  Then, you’ll place the pork in the slow cooker with some other fun stuff.  After that, you’ll leave the pork alone while you work and go to school and exercise and unload your dishwasher.  Then you’ll shred the pork and broil it until it’s crispy.  Next?  You’re free to put the slow-cooked, shredded, crispy pork with burny bits in anything you please!

Easy pork tacos

I like to put slow cooked carnitas in tacos, enchiladas, and on tostadas!

My favorite way to eat slow cooked carnitas is the taco method. AKA blistered corn tortillas with plenty of cilantro and queso fresco.  However, the burrito bowl option with brown rice, pinto beans, queso, lettuce, avocado, tomato, and salsa is a good option as well.  Tonight I went with the burrito bowl option. Mostly because I ran out of tortillas and always have a surplus of brown rice on hand tbh. But in the future I may use the pork in tostadas or enchiladas.  (Update: I have, and it’s delicious!). Also, you only need a few kitchen basics to make carnitas. Soooo, wins all around!

The best slow cooked carnitas.

slow cooked carnitas are one of my favorite weeknight meals.

I’m a huge fan of meals that are 1. easy 2. healthy and 3. cook all day while I’m at work. That’s mainly why you see so much Mexican food on SSL.  But I promise, I don’t only eat Mexican food and not all my meals are made in a slow cooker.  I’m sure at one point I’ll get over my homemade Mexican food obsession. But for now it’s just too good, and there’s just too many options!  The carnitas are a particular favorite, because they’re slightly sweet from the orange zest. Omg, it’s my favorite part! I know it’s not traditional, but I just love it.

On another note, I have had a huge thing for curry lately, even more so than usual, so we’ll see where that goes.  I imagine Thai and Indian will infiltrate SSL in the next coming months even with summer right around the corner.

But for now, cheers to slow cooked carnitas.

Pork tacos with blistered corn tortillas, pickled onions, and avocado.

Slow Cooked Carnitas


Notes: The searing on this recipe is not totally necessary, since you broil the pork before serving to crisp it up. However, some people prefer the seared pork, so I left it in the directions. You can probably choose *either* searing or broiling. Totally up to you!

An overhead image of a white plate of tacos with pork carnitas on a marble counter. Next to the plate is charred tortillas, a jar of pink onions, a glass of beer, and a wood board with cilantro.

Slow Cooked Carnitas

These slow cooker pork carnitas are one of my go-to dinners! The pork cooks all day in the slow cooker and then it is broiled in the oven to get nice and crispy. They are great in tacos, enchiladas, and burrito bowls, and the leftovers are delicious in soup.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 8 hrs
Total Time 8 hrs 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 2 lb pork loin (or tenderloin)
  • 2 tbsp neutral oil
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 onion, peeled and quartered
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Tortillas, pickled onions, queso, avocado, cilantro, etc., for serving

Instructions
 

  • *Optional*: Cut pork loin into 4 chunks. Heat the oil in a large pan until shimmery. Sear all four pieces of pork until each side is nicely browned. Do not cook all the way through.
  • Place seared (or raw) pork in a slow cooker with the garlic and onion. Season generously with salt and pepper. Whisk together the cumin, chili powder, oregano, chicken broth, lime juice, and orange juice. Pour the mixture over the pork. Cover, and cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 8-10.
  • Preheat the broiler on your oven. Remove the pork from the slow cooker, and shred with two forks (it should be very easy). Discard the onions and garlic, but reserve the liquid. Place the pork on a foil-lined baking sheet. Pour about 1/4 c. of the leftover liquid over the pork, and broil for 5-15 minutes, until crispy. Every 5 minutes, add another 1/4 c. of liquid and toss to ensure even crisping. Serve as desired!

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 440kcalCarbohydrates: 7.9gProtein: 42.5gFat: 26gSaturated Fat: 8.4gCholesterol: 121mgSodium: 164mgPotassium: 775mgFiber: 1.9gSugar: 3.8gCalcium: 63mgIron: 2mg
Keyword main meals, mexican food, pork, tacos
Did you make this recipe?Tag @serendipitybysaralynn on Instagram!

XO SaraLynn

*Song of the Day: I Wanna Get Better by Bleachers

Slow Cooked Carnitas | Serendipity by Sara Lynn
Flavorful, easy slow cooked carnitas for a quick weeknight dinner!

Deconstructed Chicken Pot Pie

(Updated 10/6/2019) An easy, deconstructed chicken pot pie made with plenty of fresh vegetables, thyme, parsley, and topped with buttery puff pastry!

Deconstructed chicken pot pie | Serendipity by Sara Lynn
Pot pie made with puff pastry.

PSA: Please be nice to college students, we are in the midst of midterms and life is a lot to deal with right now!!!!!!!

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been a giant ball of college-related anxiety which has led me to staying up into the early hours of the morning working on business plans and marketing research studies while living off of scrambled eggs with toast.  I’ve also been fighting the early stages of a cold by popping obscene amounts of Vitamin C and drinking Immune Boosting Tea.  The cabin fever is getting to a Jack Nicholson-level that makes me dream of hiking and Tahoe beaches and weekend roadtrips to San Fran.

In times like these, I find the only cure is to take a couple of hours to indulge comfort food, a sleeve of Milanos, and a lighthearted tween movie, normally of the Disney variety, although that is not required.  My choice of the moment is Princess Diaries.  But I digress.  What I’m really here to talk about is the comfort food component.

How to use puff pastry.

My comfort food of choice: easy, cozy deconstructed chicken pot pie.

Today, we have chicken pot pie that has been deconstructed, because there’s less time between preparation and consumption, and also puff pastry is the jam.  I developed the recipe randomly one weekend with ingredients I had sitting around in my fridge, and I will never look back.  As far as I’m concerned, chicken pot pie is the best food to cure sadness, and also it’s the best way to say goodbye to the winter season.  While this is not necessarily a “traditional” pot pie, it has all of the components. Chicken, veggies, thyme, crust, warmth, happiness. And you’re probably eating it snuggled up in a blanket while watching a movie.  I *highly suggest* making this one last time before BBQ season officially hits.

How to make deconstructed chicken pot pie

This is a very easy pot pie recipe! It’s one of my favorites for the weekend, because it only takes like, an hour total. I prefer to make little mini chicken pot pie cocottes, but it’s not necessary. You can also make this a one-pot deconstructed chicken pot pie if you feel so inclined! You just have to boil the chicken and potatoes, saute the veggies, and thicken the sauce. After, top it with buttery puff pastry! And then dig in while it’s way too hot, burn your lip, and have the *ultimate* chicken pot pie situation.

Also, this recipe is easy to switch up! Use whatever veggies you have laying around. You could do broccoli or green beans or mushrooms if you’d like. I kind of think mushrooms have the texture of a slug, so I avoid them. But do you!

And speaking of mushrooms, you could totally make this recipe vegetarian by subbing chicken for mushrooms and using veggie broth! Super easy. Have fun. Get creative. Go crazy, girl.

(On another note, if you know anyone interested in funding a coffee shop/bakery or a weekend vacation, or you have some secret knowledge that I’m a princess and therefore deserve to be in the far away land of Genovia wearing pretty ballgowns and living in a castle instead of studying my brains out in college, you know where to find me).

How to make individual casseroles.

Deconstructed Chicken Pot Pie


Notes: This will feed six people if you have other sides involved. If you have big eaters, this will probably only feed four.

Make it vegetarian by subbing the chicken for mushrooms and using veggie broth!

You can also use regular pie dough if you prefer that over puff pastry.

You can use ramekins or cocottes. I like Staub and Le Creuset. These are the cocottes I used for this recipe.


A very closeup image of a white bowl of chicken pot pie topped with puff pastry on a marble counter.

Deconstructed Chicken Pot Pie

This quick stovetop chicken pot pie with puff pastry crust is one of my favorite cozy meals! This pot pie is super simple and makes for a lovely weekend dinner.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 egg, whisked with 1 Tbs. water (a.k.a. egg wash)
  • 1 lb chicken breasts or thighs
  • 3 small gold potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, small dice
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1/3 cup peas
  • 1/3 cup corn
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Grab 6 ramekins/cocottes to make mini chicken pot pies. To make a one-pot recipe, make sure you have a deep 12-inch pan.
  • Place your puff pastry on a floured surface. Roll out any cracks in the pastry with a rolling pin. Using your ramekins as a guide, cut out six rounds. (If you’re making one-pot chicken pot pie, you can just leave it as a big rectangle). Place the puff pastry rounds/rectangle on a baking sheet, and brush with the egg wash. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until a deep golden brown. Set aside.
  • Place the chicken breasts (or thighs) and potatoes in the 12-inch pan, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cook 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are fork-tender and the chicken is cooked through. Drain the chicken and potatoes. Then, cut the chicken in bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
  • Wipe the 12-inch pan clean, and place it back on the stove over medium-high heat. Melt the butter in the pan, and add the carrots, celery, and shallot. Cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender and starting to brown on the edges, about 8 minutes. Add the peas, corn, and garlic, and saute for about 30 seconds, until the garlic is fragrant.
  • Sprinkle the flour over the vegetable mixture, and cook for a minute or two. Then, slowly whisk in the chicken broth and milk, until the mixture is smooth and starts to thicken. Add the chicken, potatoes, thyme, parsley, salt, and lots of pepper. Taste, and season as necessary. Let the mixture simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Divide the chicken pot pie filling between the six ramekins. Top with the puff pastry rounds, and serve! For the one-pot version, place the puff pastry rectangle on top of the filling. Cut into 6 slices, and serve. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 381kcalCarbohydrates: 31.6gProtein: 28.1gFat: 16.1gSaturated Fat: 7.8gCholesterol: 90mgSodium: 354mgPotassium: 815mgFiber: 3.2gSugar: 4.6gCalcium: 89mgIron: 3mg
Keyword autumn, chicken, dinner, main meals, pie, winter
Did you make this recipe?Tag @serendipitybysaralynn on Instagram!

XO SaraLynn

*Song of the Day: Maps by The Yeah Yeah Yeahs