Monday, January 17, 2011

Gluten Free Pork Carnitas in a Slow Cooker/Crock Pot

Krista Kooks Carol Fenster Gluten Free Pork Carnitas in a Slow Cooker CrockpotI’ve never…other than bacon…made pork.  EVER!  No pork chops, tenderloins or anything.  It’s never been appetizing to me or something I wanted to try.  That said, recently, friends of ours (and one of the sous chef’s co-workers) invited us over for dinner.  While they were kind enough to prepare food for my gluten-free diet, they prepared pork as the main dish.  I sat down frightened, as I don’t ever eat it, but thought to myself, “Well, what can it hurt?!  They certainly prepared it well!”  After one bite, I was impressed.

Thus, it intrigued me to see what I could do.  After ordering two cookbooks that tailor to the gluten-free diet, I decide to try this pork carnitas recipe from Carol Fenster’s 100 Best Gluten-Free Recipes.  Wait a second.  I take that back.  I was having a hectic day planning for the sous chef’s family coming in town, so I must give credit to the sous chef.  He is actually the one that threw everything in the slow cooker!  He deserves the credit Winking smile

The family thought it was great, as did I, and we served it with Roasted BroccoliWhether you eat gluten free or not, I think you should try this!


1 (1 lb) pork tenderloin or pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat

1/2 cup gluten-free, low-sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup gluten free salsa

1 tablespoon of tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon chipotle chile powder

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Cut the pork tenderloin into 1/2 inch chunks and add to the slow cooker that has been coated with cooking spray.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl, pour over the pork and cover.  Cook 6 hours in a slow cooker on low heat.

Serve the pork as a main dish, spooning the sauce over it.  Or shred the pork and serve it as a filling for tacos, using the remaining  liquid as a sauce.

As you can see from the recipe, there’s nothing that makes this blaringly gluten free other than making sure you get gluten free chicken broth (not hard) and gluten free salsa (definitely not hard in Texas). Thus, if you are someone who does not need to eat gluten free, don’t hesitate to use the chicken broth and salsa YOU prefer.  Enjoy!


  1. What makes this gluten free?

  2. I would say to anonymous...where would the gluten be in this recipe to start with? The tomato paste? As far as I know, salsa doesn't have any ingredients that contain gluten.

    That being said, carnitas don't have tomato in them. It is basically just a fried, shredded pork. Very yummy! I have been to restaurants that serve carnitas and they are sweet. Not really carnitas. In Peru they make something similar (my husband is Peruvian) called chicharron, and basically they take a hunk of pork, and then let it cook itself in its own fat. Salt can be added. I don't think they add anything else. I am sorry you are (were?) scared of pork. I didn't used to cook it either, until I got married. And it is so yummy. And I got the biggest kick out my usually health-conscious husband the day he told me he loves pork fat.

  3. Further to Elizabeth's comments, this recipe is gluten free because there are no ingredients containing wheat, barley or rye.

  4. Many tomato pastes have wheat in them. Muir Glen Organic tomato paste is gluten free.



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