Typically, I don’t particularly care for tomatoes, although I absolutely LOVE fresh pico, fresh tomatoes marinated in balsamic, and caprese salad (with bacon of course!).
Especially around this time every year, I get a real BIG hankering for all things fresh tomato. (You can check with me mid-September, when I’m up to my armpits in cherry tomatoes and see how I feel about fresh tomatoes then).
I know there is a big “eat what’s in season” movement happening… but sometimes you just need some pico… no matter how far those darn tomatoes had to travel! Plus, we live in the ice block of the midwest… which means practically nothing is in season right now.
About this time of year I also remember that we need to order and organize our SEEDS because GARDEN TIME is right around the corner!!! Since we have a short growing season here, we like to start our little seedling mid-March-ish. We run a very technical operation, obviously.
My father-in-law has THE best garden around, and is always about a month ahead of us when it comes to planting and harvesting. So when he shares his first bounty of delicious fresh veggies in June, it’s like, “OH YEAH, this is what fresh tastes like!”
Until then, store bought will have to do!
Zesty Instant Pot Pork Carnitas Sliders with Cucumber Pico de Gallo
Zesty: having or characterized by zest (Gee, thanks Merriam-Webster)
Zesty: lively and pleasing. That’s better ;D
You may or may not know my history with making roasts pre-Instant Pot. Basically, I couldn’t. Every roast would turn out drier than the Sahara Desert. I know we all like to think we can stick a frozen roast in the slow cooker, turn it to medium and come home after a long day of work to a perfectly cooked roast, but that #neverhappens.
We raised our own Berkshire Hogs last year (we means Whitney!), so our freezer is stuffed with pork roast! Before the Instant Pot I would have avoided the roasts until they were the only thing left in the freezer, forcing us to survive on dry roast for weeks on end.
This story has a happy ending, because I just chuck the roast in my instant pot, and we can enjoy delicious pork roast without any sense of dry roast dread! 😀
You will see in the instructions that I recommend cutting your roast into four large cubes. This is the easiest way I’ve found to do pork or any type of roast in the Instant Pot- I’ve never had a raw or undercooked spot cooking it this way. I especially like this method… because I don’t sear first! One less step = even better dinners. I have done whole roasts- but you will need to at least double the cooking time (yes- 90 minutes in the IP)!
So! Leave dry roasts as a thing of the distant dinner past, and turn that pork roast into delicious and zesty pork carnitas!
For the Pork Roast:
- 2.5 lb Pork Roast (approximately- mine are usually frozen, so I rarely weigh them)
- 1 Cup Orange Juice
- 2 tsp Simply Organic Chipotle Powder
- 2 tsp Simply Organic Cumin
- Himalayan Salt and Black Pepper
- 1 tsp Simply Organic Ground Mustard
- 2 Whole Organic Bay Leaves
- 1 Tbsp Organic Garlic
For the Cucumber Pico de Gallo:
- 1 Medium Cucumber
- 3 Roma Tomatos
- 1/4 Cup Chopped Cilantro
- 2 Tbsp Santa Cruz Organic Lime Juice
- 2 Tbsp Orange Juice
- 1/2 Red Onion
- 2 Tsp Simply Organic Cumin
- Himalayan Salt
For the Sweet Potato Sliders:
- 2 Large Sweet Potatoes
- 2-3 Tbsp Dr. Bronner’s Coconut Oil – for frying
- Himalayan Salt
- 1 tsp Simply Organic Cumin
For the Roast:
- Cut the roast into 4 pieces. They don’t need to be perfect- but it will cook much faster in the Instant Pot if it is in smaller cubes.
- Add the trivet to the Instant Pot, and place all the pork roast ingredients in the pot (roast, oj, & spices). If you want to get really fancy, massage the spices into your roast before placing it in the pot. Clearly, I am NOT that fancy 😀
- Set the Instant Pot to Manual – High – 45 Minutes. Be sure your steam valve is set to sealing!
- When the time is up, let the pressure release naturally. When the roast is cool enough to handle, shred with two forks. I like to fish the trivet and bay leaves out, and shred right in the Instant Pot. That way, the shredded pork can absorb all the delicious cooking juices… and I have one less dish to clean!
For the Cucumber Pico:
- Dice the veggies: cucumber, tomatoes and red onion.
- Add the remaining ingredients, mix throughly.
- Let the pico marinate in the fridge while your roast cooks! Red onions STINK, so make sure it is a glass container with a lid 😀
For the Sweet Potato Sliders:
- Using a sharp knife, carefully make thick sweet potato slices.
- Season liberally with salt and cumin.
- Heat the coconut oil in a frying pan. When hot, add your sweet potato slices, taking care not to overcrowd.
- Fry up until the slices are fully cooked, and nicely browned (and slightly crispy)!**
** Time saving tip! Depending on the flow of your kitchen… you can either bake the slices at 400 degrees for about 30-40 minutes (flip halfway through).
You can start the sweets in the Instant Pot using THIS method. Then just give them a quick fry to crisp them up!
Serve them up how you like… I personally like mine topped with a bit of crispy bacon and a side of fresh fruit 😀
If you are curious about the Instant Pot, read my full review here: Instant Pot Review: Why I love my Instant Pot (and You Will Too!)
Product Recommendation: These glass-lock containers are easily the second most used item(s) in our kitchen. They don’t stain (looking at you spaghetti sauce), they don’t melt when you microwave them, you can use them in the Instant Pot (sans the lid, of course), and they can go from Instant Pot to cool, to fridge or freezer to reheat!
You can find a few brands of glass containers like this on Amazon. We have this particular set, which has 2000+ reviews on Amazon, and my personal recommendation 😀