Paleo Slow Cooker Beef Carnitas & Tostones

I'm the kind of football fan that has no idea what teams are playing. You know the type. Every year, as February rolls around, I think to myself, The Super Bowl must be soon, right? And then I start thinking on a daily basis about what types of snacks we should have. When the big day comes, I'm the person that is 4 times more likely to get up for snacks during playtime than during a commercial break. 

I may not be able to keep the point system straight in my head, but here's one thing I do understand: snacks that score are just as important. 

When guests come over, I love setting up a "build your own" station, whether it's for Nachos, taco salad, or something else entirely. It's the best way to make sure everyone can eat exactly how they want. This pile of slow cooker beef carnitas and green plantain tostones makes a really good dinner, but can be revamped and re-proportioned to make a really good Super Bowl snack.

The chile-braised beef is cooked low and slow, giving way to tender meat that you really don't even have to "pull" (it falls apart on it's own!). Piling on avocado, pico de gallo and sliced jicama feels like piling on goodies, each one adding a bit of zest and freshness to your plate. Tostones, or fried green plantains, bring it home: lightly salted, tostones are a Central American specialty,  rival potato chips in snack-ability. Here, they serve as the perfect medium for lapping up extra chile sauce. Note to self: next time, make more tostones! They were the first thing we ran out of. (Pro tip: eat a piece of green plantain raw while you cook! The resistant starch is good for your gut!). 

Whichever team you cheer for this weekend... I hope you eat well! 

Paleo Slow Cooker Beef Carnitas

1 pound beef sirloin roast, trimmed

1 tablespoon coconut oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 white onion, minced 

3 tablespoons chili powder 

1/2 teaspoon cumin 

1/2 teaspoon black pepper 

1/4 teaspoon salt 

1/4 teaspoon mustard powder 

1/4 teaspoon paprika 

1/8 teaspoon cayenne (optional)

1 cup bone broth

 

1. In the bottom of your Instant Pot (slow cooker) or in a pan on the stove, heat the coconut oil. Place the beef in the pan and brown each side. If using a separate pot to brown the meat, move it to your slow cooker now. 

2. Mince the garlic and chop the onions. Add them to the slow cooker, along with the spices and broth. Secure the lid and cook on the Slow Cooker setting (or on the "low" setting) for 5-7 hours. 

3. Once meat if done cooking, remove from slow cooker and use a fork to pull apart. Return to the pot, tossing in remaining chile sauce. (Optional: for crispier carnitas, spread shredded beef and sauce out on a cookie sheet and place in over under broiler. Cook for 5 minutes, watching carefully, or until edges of meat become crisp). Serve warm with shredded lettuce, cabbage, julienned jicama, avocado or guacamole, salsa or pico de gallo, fresh cilantro, and tostones (recipe follows). 

 

Tostones

1 green plantain

2+ tablespoons coconut oil

Salt

 

1. Heat the coconut oil in a skillet. Meanwhile, peel the plantain and chop it into 1-inch thick slices.

2. Test the oil's temperature by dripping a tiny amount (just a drop!) of water into the pan. If it sizzles and pops, the oil is hot enough. Add the plantains, round side down, to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes, and then flip. 

3. Use tongs or a metal spatula to remove the fried plantains from the pan. Smoosh them evenly with a plate, or other flat surface (A small cutting board works well). Return them to the hot oil (add more oil if needed), and fry for a minute longer on each side. Remove from oil, and place on a paper towel. Season with salt to taste.