Serves 4 to 6.

Note: Carnitas make good use of leftover meat. Duck, pork, lamb, beef and the dark meat from chicken or turkey all work well, though the cooking time will vary a bit among each. From Beth Dooley.

• 3 to 4 tbsp. vegetable oil, lard, or chicken fat

• 1 1/2 lb. cooked meat, shredded

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

• Pinch of cinnamon

• Pinch of dried oregano

• Pinch of red pepper flakes

• Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

• Lemon wedges for garnish


Heat the oil in a nonstick pan or cast-iron skillet over medium heat until it begins to shimmer. Add just enough of the shredded meat to spread over the bottom of the pan in an even layer.

Cook, without moving, until the meat is well browned and crisp on the bottom, about 5 minutes. If the meat is sticking, add a little more oil. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, pinch of cinnamon, oregano and red pepper flakes.

Stir in more meat, turning to incorporate the crisp bits and introduce new soft shreds to the bottom. Add any remaining meat and continue stirring until meat is as crisp as you’d like, while continuing to season it to taste, about 7 to 10 minutes. Be sure the meat is very browned and crisp.

Serve over polenta or rice garnished with cilantro and lemon wedges.

Nutrition information per each of 6 servings with duck:

Calories 295 Fat 18 g Sodium 475 mg Carbohydrates 1 g Saturated fat 4 g Total sugars 0 mg

Protein 30 g Cholesterol 120 mg Dietary fiber 0 g

Exchanges per serving: 4 medium-fat protein.