I don't really buy a lot of pre-made food, since I'm one of those people who just loves to cook. I swear I am not happy unless the kitchen is a mess. If you're a bona fide foodie who loves to cook like me and would never dream of buying a pre-made, ready-to-eat food that just has to be heated, simply skip this post and go on to the next blog.
However, there are all kind of people in the world, and I get requests all the time from my non-foodie non-cooking friends to blog about products that are good for people who can't (don't, won't?) cook, but who want to eat the lower carb way. Because of that I'm always on the lookout for foods that fit that criteria and look like they will taste good. I see a lot of products in this category that I wouldn't consider buying, simply because they don't really look good enough that I would want to eat them. But once in a while I stumble on a product that looks like a winner.
I love to order Carnitas in Mexican restaurants, so when I saw the package of ready to eat Del Real brand Carnitas in the refrigerated case at Costco, I was intrigued. I had seen it before, but quite honestly I was waiting for them to demo it so I could try it without buying it. I waited a few weeks, but that didn't happen so on Friday night I bought a package, about $10.00 for two pounds of "real Mexican style" Carnitas, so not a bad buy.
The heating instructions suggested warming it in the microwave, but I immediately discarded that idea when I opened the package. Luckily I had brought Carnitas home many times from The Red Iguana, my favorite Salt Lake City Mexican restaurant, and I knew that Carnitas is not a low fat dish. It's the fat that gives the roasted pork the delicious crispy edges and great flavor, but when it's cold from the refrigerated case at Costco, all that fat doesn't look too appealing. However, I carried on because the meat looked like I knew that Carnitas should look.
I knew you could make Carnitas in a crockpot, so I decided to use that method to heat it. I broke the pieces of meat apart slightly, and placed them in the crockpot, then squeezed the juice of one lime over the meat. I heated the meat on high for several hours, turning it a few times so that all the outside pieces were getting crispy and sizzling.
After a couple of hours in the Crockpot, the Carnitas were tender, juicy and absolutely delicious. If you have low carb tortillas on hand, the meat could be made into incredible tacos. I ate mine simply with some sour cream and salsa and a sliced cucmber with Ranch dressing. The only thing missing was the incredible refried beans that they have at The Red Iguana.
I tried to find a web location for Del Real Foods, but all I found was this site which was under construction.