Recipe: Chef Hugo’s Maple & Orange Carnitas

Chef Victor Hugo‘s mission is simple: bring traditional Mexican cuisine using fresh Alberta ingredients to the people of Edmonton. If you’ve been lucky enough to see chef Victor in a food demonstration, you know this charismatic chef is eager to share the flavours from his native country. He has proudly shared his passion for Alberta pork in his recipes as a repeat presenter on the Taste Alberta food stage at Porkapalooza, and while sharing his taco making secrets at Get Cooking. Chef Victor Hugo has added a bit more Canadian flavour to this taco recipe – this version of Maple & Orange Carnitas serves six:

What you’ll need…

2 kg Pork shoulder
1 orange, sliced
1/2 cup orange juice
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 L  cold water
8 garlic cloves
1 white onion
2 Tbsp salt
1/2 Tbsp black pepper

Salsa Verde
6 Tomatillos
2 Garlic Cloves
1 Jalapeño
1 Tbsp salt

Garnish and assembly
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 cup cilantro leafs
4 limes, cut into quarters
250 g Cheddar cheese, grated
18 corn tortillas


For the Carnitas

  1. Cut the pork shoulder in four parts place into an oven-safe pot or roasting pan.
  2. Mix the rest of the ingredients for a minute add use to marinate the meat. Cover with aluminum foil or a lid, and place in in the oven at 300 °f for 3 hours.
  3. Remove the pan use shred the pork – it should be fork tender and pull apart easily. Add a little of the juices left in the roasting pan or pot to the pork mixture, reserving any leftover juices for the garnish (see below).

For the Salsa Verde

  1. Add two cups of water to a medium pot and put on the stove over high heat until boiling.
  2. Add the tomatillos and jalapeño pepper and cook for 5 minutes. remove from the water and add them to a blender with the other ingredients grind for one minute.

For the Garnish and assembly

  1. Grind the cilantro leaves in 1/2 cup of the reserved roasting juice from the pork (see above) with the coriander leaves, until the mixture is thick.
  2. Using a skillet over high heat, warm each tortilla for 30 seconds per side.
  3. In a non stick frying pan over medium high heat, add some cheese (12 g approximately) and place the tortilla on top. Cook for 45 seconds,and remove with the help of a spatula.
  4. Flip the tortilla so the cheese is facing up. Top with carnita mix, onions and cilantro. Serve alongside salsa verde and a lime. Enjoy!