Tender cuts of pork in a red chile sauce. Tremendous flavors. Give this dish a try.
We’re still on a Mexican food theme of late without realizing it until I did this post. Once Hatch chiles make their appearance, we get a real hankerin’ for southwestern cuisine and Mexican food. We just can’t help it. You see, EVERYBODY loves Mexican Food and we’re no different. Chiles start appearing in the late summer, early Fall and the sweltering temps in DFW have begun to cool off a bit. Once this occurs our cooking starts to change. We’re no longer worried about heating up the house so we start using the oven a little more frequently and braises, stews and slow cooked meals begin appearing in our diet. This coupled with the fact that chiles are found in abundance and you realize it’s just time to start making Mexican food.
With this dish we had several pounds of pork pieces in the freezer we needed to use. So, satisfying the urge for some Mexican food, we made a Guiso de Puerco con Chile Rojo. You will notice that I use blend of red chiles as opposed to a single chile. Many recipes you will find call for chile de tierra, the ripened dried chile pod of an anaheim pepper. Others will call for dried, sweet New Mexico red chile pods. Others still call for guajillo chiles and I have seen a few calling for Ancho chiles. All of these chiles make a wonderful red sauce for the pork stew. Each one has its own flavor, texture and color. I simply prefer the greater depth of flavor and character that you get from a blend of chiles. You also get a little richer color from a blend of chiles. Now, I know many of you will shy away from this dish because of the title thinking it’s too spicy; however, choosing the chiles to use with your stew allows you to control the level of heat. Dried sweet New Mexico red chile pods and the chile de tierra are very mild chiles (100 – 1,000 Scoville units). Ancho chile adds a little more heat but is still considered mild (1,500 – 3,000 Scoville units). Guajillo chiles are a little hotter and would be what many people would consider spicy (2,500 – 5,000 Scoville units). Chipotles are hotter still at 5,000 – 10,000 Scoville Units. You would be really cruel if you made a stew using only chipotle chiles. We opted for a blend of primarily dried, sweet New Mexico red chile pods with a little guajillo chile pods and 2 chipotles for a little heat and a nice, smokey flavor.
Now Baby Lady is from El Paso and speaks Spanish fluently. She says the appropriate name for the dish is Guiso de Puerco con Chile Colorado. She’s probably correct but I made this dish so I can call it whatever I want. . Regardless of what you call it, this dish has fabulous flavor. So, if you have been bit by the urge for some Mexican food, give this dish a try.
- 2-1/4 lb pork shoulder, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 2 cups of water
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp oregano
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 6 dried New Mexico Red Chile Pods, stemmed and seeded
- 2 dried guajillo chile pods, stemmed and seeded
- 2 dried chipotle chile pods, stemmed
Season the pork with salt and place in a pan small enough to fill the cubes 2 layers deep. I use a 3 qt dutch oven. Add 1/4 cup of water.
Cover tightly and place over low heat. After about 5 – 10 minutes, remove the cover and stir the meat to keep it from sticking. Replace cover and continue to cook over low for approximately 45 minutes. Cooking the pork over low heat tenderizes the meat and will cause the meat to release its liquids so the meat slowly braises. When finished you should have 1 cup of very flavorful broth. Strain the broth off the meat and reserve. Return the meat to the pot, cover and place in a warm place.
Place chiles and garlic in the blender.
Add the broth from the meat to enough water to make 3 cups of liquid. Pour into blender.
Add the oregano
and the cumin
Turn the blender on low and increase the speed to its highest setting and blend the chiles for 3 minutes until completely pureed.
Now, we have a Vitamix blender which will puree toothpicks. As a result, I made this sauce a little thicker, only using 2 cups of liquid. Also, because of the Vitamix, we do not strain the mixture. If you are using a typical household blender, you may want to remove the skins, So, strain the sauce at this point and press the skins to ensure you get all of the pulp leaving only the skins behind. If the sauce is too thick to strain, thin it with some water as you can reduce it once you add it to the meat and reheat. Once you have the red sauce how you like it, add the sauce to the pot.
Return pot to the stove and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the sauce has thickened to your desired consistency.
Serve with warm tortillas and enjoy.