Santa Fe Carnitas


Carnitas means “little meat,” but in Santa Fe, New Mexico, it is an amazing wrap served by Roque Garcia from his lunch wagon on the Plaza. Carnitas taste best when the meat and peppers are cooked over an open fire, but a hot skillet works well, too.

Roadfood review of Roque’s:

2 tablespoons oregano
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup salad oil
1/4 cup flat beer
1-1/2 pounds top round or sirloin sliced in thin strips against the grain

2 cups diced fresh tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 jalapeƱo peppers, finely chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)

1 large yellow onion, sliced thin
5 fresh green chile peppers, sliced in circles, with seeds (New Mexican peppers preferred; Anaheims are acceptable)

4 broad flour tortillas, warmed

Combine oregano, garlic, soy sauce, oil, and beer. Marinate the beef in this mixture a minimum of twelve hours, preferably twenty four.

At some point while the meat is marinating, make the salsa by combining the diced tomatoes, garlic, jalapeno peppers, chopped onion, and cilantro. Chill until ready to use.

On a screen over an open fire, or in a hot, greased skillet, cook the marinated meat with the sliced onion and chile peppers 5-10 minutes, tossing almost constantly, until meat is well-browned.

Use a tongs to lift a heap of the meat mixture from the grate or skillet, allowing any excess juice to drip away, and place one quarter of the mixture into a warm flour tortilla. Top with salsa, fold the tortilla over and bunch up some aluminum foil around it. Serve immediately.

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