Recipe: Succulent spicy carnitas

Five tips for enjoying holiday feasts without feeling frenetic:

  • Make a Plan - Just a half hour of planning a week before the crowds descend can make the difference between serving nuts and going nuts.

  • Freeze Ahead - Many of the "lesser meals" can be cooked well ahead of time and frozen. Plan accordingly and you can cook one or two extra meals a week for a month before, rather than three a day (for twelve people) while guests are there.

  • Put People to Work - Guest participation doesn't need to begin with "let's eat." Great family time can be had working side by side in the kitchen, whether topping beans or drying dishes.

  • Keep it Light - Sure, Aunt Louise is probably going to want her sweet potatoes with marshmallows and both chocolate cake and pecan pie. But that doesn't mean that every meal over the holidays needs to be an indulgent one. I'll give ideas for how to keep the other meals light.

  • Take a Breather - Don't lose sight of the fact that, as lovely as family is, you need time by yourself to recharge. Take yourself out for coffee one morning, or go for a solo walk; and don't be afraid to let people fend for themselves in the kitchen while you're gone (Lord knows, there are probably leftovers).

Carnitas de Lia
Serve with guacamole, salsa, lime wedges and a basket of hot tortillas.
Serves 8-10


  • 1 tablespoon ground ancho chile powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground chipotle powder
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 3-4 pound boneless pork shoulder roast
  1. Preheat oven to 275. Mix together spices and salt in a small bowl. Take pork out of its netting and rub the spice mixture all over, getting it into the nooks and crannies.

  2. Place pork in a Dutch oven, cover and bake in the oven for 3-1/2 to 4 hours, until pork falls apart with the touch of a fork.

  3. That's it. The easiest recipe you can imagine. Shred the meat and serve it on a platter along with the suggested accompaniments.
Note: If you'd like to crisp up either medium-sized chunks or fully-shredded meat, saute in a bit of the pork fat or canola oil.

About Lia Huber:
A veteran food writer and recipe developer for several national magazines, Lia Huber is the founder and CEO of Nourish Network ( ). Nourish Network-like an online magazine meets Facebook for food-lovers-empowers people to maintain a healthy body, a comfortable weight and an eco-clean conscience while getting more pleasure from food. Viewers connect over bite-sized articles, scrumptious recipes, kitchen tips video clips and a social media hub to explore how we nourish ourselves, each other and the earth we share through the food we eat.

To visit, become a member and enter to win a trip to wine country, click here. To sign up for Nourish Network updates on feasting without frenzy, click here.

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