What to CookMexican

Adam Baumgart's Family Meal at Seasonal

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How the staff eats at restaurants.


Adam Baumgart, chef de cuisine at Seasonal restaurant in Manhattan, shares his favorite family meal, Carnitas with Tomatillo Salsa. Adam uses the low-and-slow method for cooking the pork shoulder, with deliciously tender results. A veteran of many a fancy New York kitchen, Adam turns out family meals that are truly memorable. -Helen

A good family meal is talked about all week -- looking forward to it gets everyone through a Saturday service (always the craziest day of the week.) A great family meal requires the collaboration of the cooks and the homesick porters from Mexico, getting everyone invested. One of my favorite ways to do this is making carnitas. As most restaurant kitchens don’t have a Mexican pantry, some special shopping is required, and the porters are usually enthusiastic about picking up queso fresco and fresh tortillas, and then providing many opinions about the correct garnish for the pork.  

Carnitas are very cheap, taste good any time of the year, and feed many hungry people. You can put the meat in the oven at lunch and forget about it, and best of all? Usually there are some leftovers -- perfect for beers at the end of service.


Serves 10 hungry cooks

  • 10 pounds bone in pork shoulder
  • 4-6 dried chiles, ground (choose depending on heat preference. Adam likes to use chiles d'arbol)
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 bunches cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 2 large onions, finely diced
  • 1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced
  • 3 limes, juiced
  • salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 275. Rub the pork with chiles, salt, pepper, garlic, and press in the cloves. Place in a large roasting pan, and cover with foil. Cook until the meat is falling off the bone, about 4 hours. Once cool enough to handle, pull the meat off the bone, and shred it.
  2. Combine the cilantro and onion. Set aside to use as garnish.
  3. About an hour before serving, mix the sliced radishes with salt and lime juice to taste. Set aside to marinate.
Tomatillo Salsa:
  • 1 pound tomatillos, husked and roasted
  • 3 limes, juiced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 handful cilantro, very roughly chopped
  1. Blend all ingredients, seasoning with lime juice and salt to taste.
  2. Serve carnitas with warmed corn tortillas, garnish, salted radishes, salsa, wedges of lime and queso fresco. You can also serve this with rice and beans, but come on, you still have a night's work to do.



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Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: Meat, Vegetable