Meriel Armitage’s recipe for jackfruit carnitas | Life and style

Mexican food is all about using your hands, piling up a lot of napkins on the table and getting messy – it takes the formality out of hosting dinner parties and saves on the washing up. My recipe for jackfruit carnitas (carnitas meaning “little meat”) is inspired by the versions I tried while visiting Mexico City. In this version I use pulled jackfruit, roasted and served in a taco with charred pineapple salsa, coriander and sour cream. But for the cream, this recipe would be vegan, so feel free to leave that out. And remember, if anyone asks for a knife and fork, you can tell them to leave.

Serves: 2-3
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes

800g canned jackfruit
2 jalapeños
1/2 white onion
4 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp ground cumin
1/2 tbsp oregano
680g shop-bought salsa
2 tbsp Mexican hot sauce
340g nutritional yeast
Rapeseed or vegetable oil
Sour cream, to serve (optional)
Corn tacos, to serve

For the pineapple salsa:
240ml pineapple juice
1/2 white onion
1 jalapeño
2 cloves garlic

Method:
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large frying pan. Drain the jackfruit and add to the pan, sprinkle with sea salt and cook on a high heat until crisp, turning regularly (10-15 minutes). 

Meanwhile, finely chop the onion and four cloves of garlic, and slice two jalapeños into rounds. Add to a separate pan with 1 tbsp oil and cook until the onion is translucent. Then, add the crispy jackfruit, cumin, oregano and 120ml of oil and cook for five minutes, stirring continuously. Add the salsa and hot sauce and cook for 10 minutes or until the sauce has been absorbed. Stir in the yeast and cook for five minutes to allow the flavours to combine.

For the pineapple salsa, heat a frying pan until very hot, add 1/2 onion, jalapeño and two cloves of garlic, turning until charred on all sides. Place in a saucepan with the pineapple juice and a pinch of salt, and boil until the liquid is reduced by half. Transfer to a blender and blitz until almost smooth, so it retains a little texture.

To serve, heat a pan until very hot, add a drop of oil and spread it around. Place tacos in the pan and cook until they bubble slightly (10-20 secs), then flip and do the same on the other side. Place the tacos on a heated plate, spread with a spoonful of salsa on each, then add a tablespoon of the jackfruit and, if using, a drizzle of sour cream.

Meriel Armitage is the founder of Club Mexicana

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