Carnitas with Sweet Potato and Cinnamon Apples

I haven’t done pork carnitas in a while and not since way back — when I was doing crappy food pictures — have I done them with fruit. Back then I used persimmons and cinnamon.

This time it was with apple, simply sautéed in butter and cinnamon. I included some sweet potato on the side for added sweetness, color and texture. Make sure to crisp & caramelize your carnitas under the broiler for a while. Click on the images for much higher quality.

Carnitas Sweet Potato and Apples
Carnitas Sweet Potato and Apples

I couldn’t decide which of these shots I liked better, so you get two.

Just More of the Same
Just More of the Same

Give it a try. You won’t be disappointed. Better yet, it’s really quick once you have your carnitas on hand.


  1. Rip on May 13, 2010 at 11:16

    Ah, cinnamon. Who was the first person bonkers enough to think that grinding up the bark of a tree and sprinkling it over their apples would be a good idea?

  2. Jo on May 13, 2010 at 13:24

    I love the idea of meat with sweet potato and apples. What a great after workout meal. Thanks for posting!

  3. Chaohinon on May 13, 2010 at 15:07

    Sweet potatoes are killer alongside pretty much anything spicy. Try em with some italian sausage, omnomnomnom.

  4. Dawna on May 13, 2010 at 16:14

    What spices and cooking method did you use for your carnitas? :)

    • Richard Nikoley on May 13, 2010 at 17:16


      Actually, this time as per past I used the TJ’s pre cooked. It’s really pretty good once you crisp it (as carnitas ought to be served). Otherwise, there are plenty of from scratch recipes if you google.

  5. ToddBS on May 13, 2010 at 16:22

    I’ll be giving this one a go for sure. Just this past week I made some apples sautéed in butter and cinnamon alongside thick, bone-in pork chops. I’m hooked on pork with apples now.

  6. Aaron Blaisdell on May 13, 2010 at 19:49

    I was wondering what to do with some uncooked chicken in my fridge and your timely post inspired me to saute chicken and apples with cinnamon cooked in pastured cultured butter. I also browned it under the broiler for a few minutes before serving. Very simple dish and VERY tasty! Thanks Richard for being my muse.

  7. PK on May 13, 2010 at 22:35

    Carnitas and sweet potatoes are hands down my two most favorite paleo foods. I am definitely trying this recipe this weekend. I can’t believe I haven’t thought to pair them before.

  8. Chanel on May 13, 2010 at 23:39

    Looks delicious

  9. stephen c benoit on May 14, 2010 at 13:04

    Carnitas is probably one of my favorite meals. However, I like mine with jalapeno peppers and hot sauce… Is there a “paleo” perspective on capsaicin?

    • Richard Nikoley on May 14, 2010 at 13:13


      I’m not sure about capsaicin specifically, but some in the paleo crowd are wary of nightshades of which jalapeno is one. For me, and by far most, it’s whether you tolerate them or not and thank the imaginary Lord above that I do. If I didn’t, I’d be in a world of hurt since my wife is of Mexican descent.

      My favorite use for jalapeno (and you can search the blog) is using fresh chopped in some of my beef reduction sauces, especially for tri-tip (or london broil or brisket) on the grill. Not TOO much, but enough for a bit of a kick. Have tried the red pepper flakes as well but fresh jalapeno always produces the best results.

      Hint: once you’ve extracted all the flavor in your sauce reduction, use a wire strainer. I’ve found that people will tolerate a lot more kick if it’s saucy and not chunky.

      • stephen c benoit on May 15, 2010 at 12:53

        Thanks Richard. I more than “tolerate” them. I grew up just outside of Ft. Worth Texas and I crave them. I’ve been known to grow my own red rockets and habaneros. I use them on meats and in realy chili, as well as in carnitas.

        Love the idea for the reduction. I will give it a try.

  10. stephen c benoit on May 15, 2010 at 12:53

    I’m still learning how to “reply” on these things…

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