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Try carnitas in something besides tacos

Carnitas, the boldly flavored shredded pork that's a favorite of Mexican cooking, takes happily to more than the traditional taco or burrito. It also makes a hearty foundation for sandwiches, piled into rolls or buns, topped with salsa, for all manner of outings.

Plan a little ahead to cook the pork. Use bought salsa to streamline your kitchen activity or use homemade if you have a favorite recipe; the same goes for pico de gallo, the tasty Mexican salsa variation, for which a recipe follows, to mix with diced avocado.

This recipe will feed at least eight, according to taste and the rest of your menu.


CARNITAS SANDWICHES WITH AVOCADO SALSA

4 pounds boned pork shoulder, cut into large cubes (remove as much fat as possible)

1 quart beef broth

16-ounce jar chunky tomato salsa

Water

3 ripe Hass avocados, seeded, peeled, diced

2 cups fresh pico de gallo salsa (recipe follows)

8 sandwich rolls or buns, split lengthwise (see note)

Sour cream, for garnish

In large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, combine pork chunks, broth and salsa. Add enough water to completely cover meat. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer (covered) for 3 to 4 hours or until meat pulls apart easily.

Preheat oven to 400 F. Remove meat from liquid in pot (discard liquid) and place in a roasting pan. Break meat into small chunks. Roast meat for 15 to 20 minutes until brown and crispy (carnitas).

While meat is roasting, combine avocado dice with prepared pico de gallo salsa.

To serve, spoon carnitas into sandwich rolls and top with avocado salsa and sour cream. (Meat can be prepared in advance and transported to a picnic or party.)

Makes 8 hearty servings.

Note: For smaller servings, use 12 to 16 smaller rolls.


PICO DE GALLO

2 tomatoes (about 1/2 pound), diced

1 small onion, chopped

3/4 cup diced cucumber

6 small radishes, diced

1/2 cup loosely packed, coarsely chopped cilantro leaves

3 or 4 serrano chilies or other small hot chilies, seeded, finely chopped

Juice of 1/2 small lime

Mix tomatoes, onion, cucumber, radishes, cilantro and chilies. Squeeze lime juice over vegetables. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Makes about 2 cups.

—Recipe for AP from the Hass Avocado Board