This is a lower fat version of Chilorio, using only 2 tablespoons fat, instead of the traditional 1/2 cup of lard.
1 1/2 – 2 lbs pork loin
4 – 6 cups water or broth
3/4 – 1 tsp salt
4 – 6 dried ancho chiles (or 4 – 5 tablespoons ancho chile powder)*
3 – 4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 – 1 tsp whole cumin
2 – 4 Tbsp vinegar (rice wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or plain white)
1 – 2 fresh peppers, eg. Anaheim or California – or mild jalapeno (opt), diced
1 onion, diced or sliced
1 Tbsp lard or bacon grease
1 Tbsp oil *** (you may omit adding additional fat and cook in sauce instead)
Cut pork into 1-inch cubes or smaller. (You can also cut it quite small, in half-inch or even smaller pieces.) Cover with broth or water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a bare simmer and cook until liquid is almost all evaporated and meat is very tender. Add more liquid if necessary to cook to desired tenderness. Allow at least an hour or two, or more for this. Cool and shred or mash with potato masher to break the meat up.
While meat is cooking, put vinegar, chiles, garlic, cumin and salt in blender and pulse to form a thick paste.** Set aside. When pork is done, rub or stir chile mixture into it.***
Heat lard and oil in skillet over medium to medium-high heat. When hot, add the pork. Stir and fry until beginning to get crisp, which will take about 5 – 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and serve with warm tortillas, fresh or fried onion, and guacamole, salsa, refried beans, hot sauce, shredded lettuce, cabbage or radishes, fresh cilantro, or any other toppings you like.
*In place of the ancho chile powder, you can try substituting a mixture of regular chile powder and paprika. The taste won’t be the same, but it will still be good. If using regular chile powder, you may want to reduce the salt slightly. You may also reduce the chile powder/paprika to 1 – 2 Tbsp, if you want a milder taste.
Another idea is to add a fresh, diced chili pepper or two. I threw in a jalapeno, but an Anaheim or California might be closer in taste and mildness.
**Instead of pulsing the spice mixture in the blender with the vinegar, you can grind the spices and garlic in a mortar and pestle.
Or you could stir the vinegar, salt, and ancho chile powder or substitute (regular chile powder and paprika) into the shredded pork. Then fry the cumin seeds, minced garlic, and (opt) minced jalapeno in the lard/oil for a couple minutes before adding the meat.
***Another idea is to cook the chile sauce separately with a cup or so of liquid (eg. reserved broth), and then pour over the pork after it has been browned, simmering a few minutes more to meld flavors. You may even omit the fat entirely and just simmer the pork in the chile sauce.
Chilorio is very similar to Carnitas.