While I was visiting my familia in Monterrey, Mexico in 2011, I was asked to prepare a dish to pass for the big family reunion. The first thing that came to mind was my mom’s recipe for pork chile colorado (red). If I had to pick one dish of hers that was my favorite, it would have to be this one for sure. I think all of my brothers and sisters would agree with me on this one. This was also my first time cooking in a big Mexican cazuela! I loved it! My familia enjoyed the dish that night, and it was my way of having my mom there with me, sharing her foods as she loved to do… #foodieforlife #mexicanfood
Yields 8 to 10 servings
Prep Time- 30 minutes
Cook Time- 3 hours
4 pounds of pork butt or shoulder, cut into 1-inch pieces
10 chile ancho peppers
6 chile california peppers or guajillo peppers
1 large white onion, diced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
4 cups of broth/stock (pork or chicken)
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, crushed
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons Mexican oregano, crushed between the palms of your hands
Salt to taste
2 large Russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1 inch cubes, fried until crispy and drained onto paper towels, set aside.
Note: In the original recipe, Mom only used chile ancho. I like to add a mix of peppers to mine. Chef’s choice. To prepare a smaller portion of this recipe, you can use boneless pork country-style ribs. And just use half of all the other ingredients listed.
This time around, I has bigger cuts of pork and let it braise for quite a few hours….
1. Remove the stems and seeds from the dried peppers, transfer them to a large sauce pan. Cover with water, bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand in water.
2. In a large heavy pot, preheat 3 to 4 tablespoons of oil to medium/high heat for 5 minutes. While the oil preheats, season the pork with cumin, granulated garlic, pepper and salt. Sear the seasoned pork in the hot oil, turning as needed. You want to sear and brown the the pork at a high heat until it gets nice and brown in most spots.
3. While the pork is cooking, check on the peppers soaking in the hot water, stir them a little, so they soak evenly. When it’s time, drain the peppers and transfer to the blender, add oregano, 1 teaspoon of salt and about 2 cups of chicken broth, blend on high until smooth, set aside. For a smoother sauce, strain it using a wire mesh strainer.
4. Add the onions and minced garlic to the pork and cook for a few minutes. Add all of the sauce from the blender to the pork and another 2 cups of broth, stir well to combine. Taste for salt, lower the heat and cook for a good 1½ to 2 hours, adding a little more stock if needed. Fry the potatoes until crisp and golden while the pork finishes cooking. Add to pork during the last 15 minutes of cooking. Heat just until warmed through. This was one of my mom’s signature dishes … always served with warm, homemade flour tortillas.
Here is a picture from my trip to Monterrey, Mexico. While visiting my family, I prepared a large cazuela of Asado de Puerco-Chile Colorado for the family reunion.
People often ask, why add the potatoes? Why not? As far back as I can remember, my Mom always added them in. It’s so delicious to have that tender, saucy pork with a crispy potato in the mix.
If you are fortunate enough to live where the chile ancho is abundant and fresh, you will yield a brighter red sauce. As the peppers age, they get darker and are not as soft, yielding a darker sauce as well.