I have always LOVED Chicken Carnitas. It was my favorite dish at my favorite Mexican restaurant in Salem, Oregon. Los Dos Hermanos. Their Chicken Carnitas are insanely delicious. At least that was the case 15 years ago. It makes my mouth water to think of them.
I don’t know that these are exactly the same but they are absolutely just as delicious. Every time I make them I get comments like “This is the best thing I have eaten in a long, long time”. That’s a direct quote from my son.
They are easy enough to make but they DO take time, so plan ahead.
Because the chicken is slow roasted I prefer to use chicken thighs over breasts because they don’t dry out. The texture is just right for carmelizing under the broiler.
You can use a cast iron Dutch oven or a crockpot. Either works well.
Spread olive oil over the bottom of the the pot and cover with the chicken thighs.
Sprinkle with all the seasonings.
Throw in the garlic and orange rinds and stir it all together!
Roast in a 350 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours, or in the crockpot on low for about 6 hours. Check for doneness by using a fork to see if the meat shreds easily.
I must say I over cooked this pot, it is usually fairly juicy…but it will still be delicious!
I like to shred the meat pretty roughly so that you still have some good chunks of meat.
Stir up the meat and pour over some of the leftover juices (if you have any!). Broil for another couple of minutes. Stir and watch the meat that it doesn’t burn.
Now it’s ready to serve!
This meat is FABULOUS served with good tortillas, beans, lettuce and chipotle dressing.
Another great use is to make Carnita Rice Bowls.
Top that off with the chicken, cilantro, pepitas, red onion and chipotle dressing. Serve with avocado and lime wedges.
Here is my VERY FAVORITE way to serve carnitas. Just try it. You won’t be sorry.
This is just SO amazing!
Top the chicken with cilantro, roasted pepitas (or pumpkins seeds), and chipotle sauce. Squeeze on some extra lime juice if you want. Scoop out some of the squash with each bite. Life changing.
- 1 Crock Pot *OR cast iron dutch oven
- 3 pounds chicken thighs skinless and boneless
- 2½ tsp salt
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp oregano
- 3 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 2 large oranges, juiced
- 2 limes, juiced
- ½ cup chicken broth
- 3-4 strips orange peel
- 1 medium onion, sliced thin and cut rings into 1-2 inch strips
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2-3 Tbsp honey
- 3 small-med acorn squash
- roasted pepitas
- lime wedges
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1-2 Tbsp milk
- 1 chipotle pepper, minced
- 1 Tbsp chipotle sauce from the can with the peppers
- pinch salt
- pinch garlic powder
- Preheat oven to 350° (if using dutch oven).
- Trim all fat from chicken thighs,
- Cover bottom of crockpot (or dutch oven) with olive oil.
- Layer chicken on top of oil.
- Sprinkle chicken with all the seasoning.
- Add garlic and orange rinds.
- Mix together the orange juice, lime juice and chicken broth. Pour over chicken.
- Stir together distributing all seasonings evenly.
- Cook in crockpot cook 5-7 hours on low, 4-5 on high. (3 hours in the oven with the dutch oven.)
- When meat is done, use forks to roughly shred chicken. Use tongs to place shredded chicken onto baking sheet.
- Turn oven to broil. Drizzle honey over chicken. Broil for about 3 minutes. Remove from oven and pour some of the juices over the meat. Stir and broil again for a couple of minutes. Depending on how much juice is left you can do again. Watch carefully so that the chicken doesn't burn and edges become carmelized.
- Serving options:With tortillas and toppingsIn a Rice bowl with rice, roasted squash, black beans, sauce and toppings.In roasted acorn squash with toppings, drizzle with chipotle sauce.
- Whisk together all ingredients in a bowl. Adjust the amount of milk as needed.
Roasted Acorn Squash
- Preheat oven to 425°.
- Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds. Cut a slice off the bottom so it will sit flat.
- Place on baking sheet. Brush inside of each squash with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, cumin and chili powder. Roast for 40-50 minutes until fork tender.
- Cut up butternut and acorn squash into 1-1½ chunks. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic salt, salt & pepper and any favorite seasonings. Spread on baking sheet and bake at 375° for about 15 minutes until fork tender.