Yum Peaceful Cooking: Carnitas and Tex-Mex Squash Casserole

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Carnitas and Tex-Mex Squash Casserole

Here you have some very basic, standard, simple ingredients. When you add a few spices and cooking techniques, they become exquisite.

I'm talking about two fantastic recipes from The Homesick Texan Cookbook by Lisa Fain. I swear...I just LOVE this book. It has become one of my favorites and for some reason, as the days get longer and sun gets hotter, I start cooking more Mexican and Tex-mex meals. They just seem to go with the season. I have a feeling that my new favorite cookbook will be getting a whole lot of use over the next couple of months.

Printable Recipe

3 lbs boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2" chunks
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lime juice
4 cloves of garlic (wait...what? only 4 for all that meat? I used the whole damn head of garlic)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste

In a large heavy pot, combine all of the ingredients

Add enough water to just cover the meat. Bring to a boil and then simmer, uncovered for 2 hours.

Don't touch, don't stir. Just let it be.

Once the 2 hours have passed, turn the heat up to medium-high and continue to cook, stirring occasionally for about 45 minutes or until all of the liquid has evaporated and the fat has rendered (which means that all of the fat has left the meat and is not sitting in the pot, which by the way, will not evaporate).

You will know that the pork is done when it has browned on both sides.

Serve with tortillas, salsa and avocados.

Now...while that is cooking, lets make the Tex-Mex Squash Casserole.

Tex-Mex Squash Casserole
Printable Version

2 TB butter
1 lb yellow squash, sliced
1 lb zucchini, sliced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 jalapenos, seeded and stemmed, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 TB all purpose flour
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups crushed canned tomatoes
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped (more for garnish if desired)
2 cups tortilla chips, crushed
1 cup grated pepper jack cheese
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Preheat your oven to 350' F and lightly grease a casserole dish (13" x 9")

In a large skillet, over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the yellow squash, zucchini, onions and jalapenos.

Saute until the squash is tender. This could take about 10 minutes or more.

Add in the garlic, cumin, chili powder, and cayenne pepper. Cook for a minute and add the salt and pepper to taste.

Add the flour and stir until you have a light brown paste. This takes maybe a minute or so. Stir in the broth and crushed tomatoes, stirring until everything thickens up. Add the half and half, sour cream and cilantro. Remove from heat.

In the bottom of your  prepared casserole dish, spread out the crushed tortilla chips. Pour the incredibly yummy squash mixture over the chips.

Cover the top with the grated cheese. Bake, uncovered for 30 minutes or until the top is brown and bubbly.

Garnish with more cilantro if desired

Serve along side your Carnitas

Let me tell how good this was. The meat had fantastic flavor and it was incredibly tender. The Tex-Mex Squash Casserole....wow! It reminded me of tortilla soup, only in a casserole form. Simple delicious.


  1. I have some veggies out in the kitchen waiting for me to decide what to do with them. Too bad it is just me here, and I don't have any meat thawed. This does look really good.

  2. The squash casserole sounds divine!

  3. what a GREAT idea for squash!!!!


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