Carnitas with Houston-Style Green Salsa

Last week I attended a cooking class titled Southwest Cuisine featuring Ohio Hot Peppers at The Seasoned Farmhouse in Clintonville, Ohio.  If you love to cook and you are not yet familiar with The Seasoned Farmhouse, please do yourself a favor and check out the website.  About a year ago I had the pleasure of meeting Tricia Wheeler, owner and creator of The Seasoned Farmhouse.  We had a few different connections, but most importantly, our daughters were in the same first grade class at Tremont Elementary.   We had coffee one morning and I got to hear her amazing story…a real inspiration for following your dreams.  Tricia was in the business world for years and then decided she wanted to follow her passion for cooking.  She attended the French Culinary Institute in New York City (graduated #1 in her class!), moved back to Columbus, and started edible Columbus magazine, a beautiful quarterly publication that celebrates the Columbus food community.  Tricia had long wanted to work more hands-on with teaching cooking and finally opened her cooking school last Spring.

Tricia Wheeler, owner and creator of The Seasoned Farmhouse

Tricia Wheeler, owner and creator of The Seasoned Farmhouse

The Seasoned Farmhouse has a classy yet cozy and rustic feel.  In addition to the lovely fresh, light kitchen and eating space, the Farmhouse has a library of culinary books and a retail space selling unique local foods and cooking supplies.  I attended my second demo class taught by Tricia last week and it was a fantastic evening complete with over ten Southwestern recipes including a cocktail called The Texas Sipper compliments of Tito’s Vodka!  Beautiful Ohio Hot Peppers were present in every dish, some extremely spicy, some more mild and sweet.  I love spice so I was in heaven…Smoky Tortilla Soup, Jalapeno Cheddar Cookies, Chipotle Pimento Cheese, Green Chili Rice, Spicy Mustard Pickles….just a few of the delicious preparations.  The Carnitas was amazing…slow cooked for hours in a simple combination or orange and lime juice, cumin, and garlic.  It was so simple but so much flavor (I strained the broth in which the pork cooked and made a White Bean Carnitas Soup – stayed tuned for that recipe).  The warm Houston-Style Green Salsa was just “icing on the cake.”  It is made with tomatillos, serrano peppers and avacodo….among other things.  Yum!!!  I made this for my family the other night and they LOVED it…good thing I doubled the recipe!  Often times I’m inclined to adapt recipes, but not this one.  It was perfect as is so I am printing it exactly as it was in it’s original form.  Enjoy!

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Carnitas with Houston-Style Green Salsa (Serves 4-6)  

I doubled this recipe and used 6 lbs of pork, so we could eat it all week.  I strained the broth in which the carnitas cooked and made soup with it the next day.  See next post titled White Bean Carnitas Chili.  A single recipe may not yield enough broth for the soup.

From The Homesick Texan Cookbook by Lisa Fain


3 lbs boneless or bone-in pork shoulder, cut into 4 in x 4 in chunks (if it’s bone-in, cut in some chunks and leave some around the bone to cook — it will fall right off after cooking)

½ cup orange juice

¼ cup lime juice

4 cloves garlic

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste

tap water

Houston Green Salsa, tortillas, avocado, cilantro, chopped red onion etc.


Place the pork in a large Dutch oven or pot; add the orange juice, lime juice, garlic, cumin, salt and enough water to barely cover the meat.  Bring the pot to a boil and then turn the heat down to low and simmer uncovered for 2 1/2 – 4 hours (really depends on how low you are simmering it), or until the meat is tender.  When it is tender, remove the chunks of meat from the pot with a slotted spoon (feel free to strain and save this broth…you can turn it into a very flavorful soup).  Shred or cube meat and place in a clean skillet.  Add a little olive oil and juice from the pot and sauté until browned.  Taste and add salt.  Serve either cubed or shredded with Houston-style Green Salsa, tortillas, avocado slices, chopped cilantro, chopped red onion.

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Houston-Style Green Salsa (Makes 2 cups)

Green Salsa Ingredients:

¾ lb small tomatillos (5-6), husks removed, or 11 oz. can of whole tomatillos, drained

1 avocado, peeled and pitted

1-2 serrano chiles, stems and seeds removed, roughly chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 T lime juice

¼ cup cilantro

salt, to taste (appx. ½-1 tsp)


If using fresh tomatillos, bring pot of water to boiling and cook tomatillos until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the tomatillos to a blender along with the avocado, Serrano chiles, garlic, lime juice and cilantro.  Blend until smooth (remember to allow heat to escape by leaving the center piece out of the top of your blender and holding a towel over it while blending). Add salt to taste.

Fold small tortillas and toast them to get a little crispy and to hold the taco shape.  Thanks Pinterest!

Fold small tortillas and toast them to get a little crispy and to hold the taco shape. Thanks Pinterest!