Ancho Chili Braised Pork


This is one of those dishes that elevates what we think of Mexican food to another level. My kids idea of Mexican food is usually a plain cheese quesadilla. I can sometimes get them to eat black beans, and one of them loves to make his own guacamole. Overall it’s a pretty Americanized version of Mexican food around here. That being said, we love the snacky street tacos we can get almost anywhere in Portland served out of little food trucks. I wanted to try to recreate that succulent, spiced, and addictive pork they serve. I started searching online and found a recipe from Bon Appetit.  I altered it quite a bit to suit our taste, and the results were fabulous.  Sweet, spicy, tender, and perfect for topping with whatever you like.

  • 6 large dried ancho or pasilla peppers (they are very similar, but anchos are a little sweeter, both are mild)
  • 2 1/2 T. sugar
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 4-5 lb. pork shoulder, butterflied to lay flat
  • 2 t. coarse salt
  • 2 T. canola oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic. minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1 bottle Negro Modelo or other dark beer

Heat a few cups of water to boiling. Use scissors to cut out the ribs and seeds inside the chilies. Put the chilies in a bowl and cover them with the boiling water. Soak for thirty minutes, or until tender. Reserve the liquid. Place the chilies in a blender with the sugar, lime juice and zest.  Add enough soaking liquid to make a smooth paste.  Start with about 3/4 C. Add more liquid to thin if you need to.  It should be the consistency of pesto.  Meanwhile, butterfly the pork shoulder so that it lays flat and has a relatively consistent thickness.  Sprinkle it all over with the salt. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat with the canola oil.  Brown the pork on all sides, about four minutes per side for a nice brown crust. Remove the pork to a plate. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Add the onion, garlic, and herbs and spices to the pork drippings in the Dutch oven. Brown for one minute. Add the beer and scrape all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  Put the pork back into the Dutch oven and pour the chili mixture over it.  Spread the chili mixture all over the pork.  Place the lid on the pot and put the while thing in the oven. Braise for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, basting with the juices every 30 or 40 minutes. You can serve the pork as-is with some pan juices poured over it, or you can shred it for tacos and top it with crunchy radishes and cool, shredded cabbage.





About swellkid recipes

I am a mother of two boys, a wife, a teacher, and an avid home cook. These recipes are written, tested and created or adapted by me in my home kitchen. All photos were taken by me with my Canon Digital Rebel XT. No filters or Photoshop, usually natural light on my kitchen table. My motto is, if I can do it, you can do it!
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1 Response to Ancho Chili Braised Pork

  1. I love Ancho peppers. I love everything about this recipe. Looks wonderful.

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