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Confessions Of A Carnita-vore

series: Mexico -- One Plate At A Time With Rick Bayless

air date: 4/29/13 12:00 PM

Carnitas - chunks of pork cooked slowly in lard until they're golden and crisp on the outside and meltingly tender inside - are a weekend family tradition in Mexico. At the Medellin Market in Mexico City, Rick gives us an insider's look at how they're made every Saturday and Sunday in a huge copper cauldron, and served up with fresh corn tortillas and crispy chicharron (pork cracklings). But what if a carnitas craving strikes and you're not in Mexico on a weekend? No worries. Back in Chicago, Rick demonstrates his signature method for making fabulous carnitas right in a standard home oven. Then, thinking beyond pork, Rick shares a creative take on carnitas at the splashy seafood restaurant, Contramar, where the dish gets a deep-sea do-over with chunks of fresh-caught tuna. At his fine-dining restaurant, Topolobambo, Rick shares his own state-of-the-carnitas concept: sous vide pork (cooked very slowly in a vacuum-sealed packet) , shredded, formed into a loaf, chilled, sliced and pan-seared in a stunning modern presentation. Then, in his home kitchen, he riffs on that idea, making Duck Carnitas with Crunchy Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa, a dish inspired by the classic French duck confit technique. Instead of the traditional pork cracklings, he makes ultra-easy Crispy Cheese Chicharron, lacy cheese crisps toasted on the griddle, and takes us on a side trip to a Mexico City taqueria for a look at the dramatic, giant version of these "cheese cracklings." The elegant, yet casual, meal is served family-style with plenty of warm tortillas, so everyone can make their own succulent duck tacos.

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