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Spicy Chipotle Pork Stew

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Question: You ever open the freezer, see the same old meats you always buy, think about making them in the same old ways you always made them, and want to walk in the other direction?

That was me last week.

I had some country pork ribs. And usually I do the same thing to them. I season them, slow cook them, shred them, add BBQ sauce and serve to my family as a pulled pork style thingie. But as I stared at a huge pack of the suckers in my freezer, with everything in my soul I did not want to do that.

What can I say? I’m into variety.

So I searched the interwebz for new ways to cook these things. And there were some ideas, but they all fell along the lines of “pork goes with sweet tastes” school of thought. I didn’t want to mix them with pineapples or serve them alongside applesauce or any of the other sweet ideas I was coming across. Because…no. I barely even like BBQ. (I acquiesce at my family’s insistence but I have a thing about sweet meat…meat is supposed to be savory, not sweet! At least in my world.)

It is in these desperate times, dear Foodies, that you must be brave. You must go into the kitchen. Put on your sassiest apron. And you must PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD!

Now what I came up with is not an original dish. It could probably be categorized as a simplified version of ropa vieja, a Cuban pork dish with tomatoes and spices. But look. The dish just isn’t legit enough to earn that title. Plus I made it very “stew-y.” Because it is cold and I wanted stew!

A few recipe notes:

  • Yes. I used potatoes. Burn me at the stake. Occasionally potatoes pass my lips. They are good. I like them. You don’t? Leave them out! You can replace with any number of veggies.
  • When (not if) I make this again, I will definitely use MORE chipotle peppers, not less. It wasn’t spicy enough for me. Which means it’s way too spicy for people who don’t eat spicy food. For you people, just use one. Or better yet, just use a Mexican spice blend and some mild tomatoes/chiles.
  • I had a happy accident in the photographing of this dish. I thought I had sour cream or Greek yogurt for topping. I had neither. (We’d had taco night a few nights earlier.) So for the sake of taking the dang picture I used ricotta. Oh. My. MARTHA! That was good. It gave it all a very luxurious feel. I’m sure if you want to stay true to the Latin leanings of this dish you could use cojita, but since ricotta is more readily available…I’d say give it a whirl if you like it already.
  • Lastly, if the fam isn’t into the pork stew idea, this does great when you retrieve the meat with slotted spoons and put them into a nice, warmed tortilla. It’s also very good when you dip your fork into the bowl of it in the fridge the next morning, but we won’t talk about that.
Spicy Chipotle Pork Stew
Print Recipe
Tender, slow-cooked pork in a spicy broth and vegetables.
    Servings Prep Time
    4-6 servings 30 minutes
    Cook Time Passive Time
    8 hours 8 hours
    Servings Prep Time
    4-6 servings 30 minutes
    Cook Time Passive Time
    8 hours 8 hours
    Spicy Chipotle Pork Stew
    Print Recipe
    Tender, slow-cooked pork in a spicy broth and vegetables.
      Servings Prep Time
      4-6 servings 30 minutes
      Cook Time Passive Time
      8 hours 8 hours
      Servings Prep Time
      4-6 servings 30 minutes
      Cook Time Passive Time
      8 hours 8 hours
      Ingredients
      Servings: servings
      Instructions
      1. Place ribs, salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, bay leaves and water in a crockpot. Set on low and cook for about 6 hours.
      2. Remove bay leaves and bones from the meat. Shred with two forks.
      3. In a blender, combine 1-2 of the chipotle peppers (if you like mildly spicy) or 3-4 peppers (if you like it very spicy) with the diced tomatoes in a blender and puree. Add that to the crockpot alone with the diced tomatoes and your assorted vegetables.
      4. Cook an additional two hours. When serving, top with ricotta cheese and a bit of cilantro for garnish.
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      4 comments

      1. Soylent Daveage

        Question – This looks awesome and I can’t wait to make it, but I don’t have a crockpot (or just Slow Cooker, as we call them here in Australia). If I were to attempt this in a medium stewing pot with a decently tight fitting lid would you expect the cooking time and amount of liquid to be similar? I was thinking it might need more liquid to account for extra escaping steam…

        • Your suggestions sound awesome. Just make sure you cook it low and slow so you get the tenderness and check on it so that your liquid levels can stay in check. But I think the plan you have will be a success. Report back!

      2. I made the pork stew yesterday but I played around with the recipe. I put everything in the crockpot except the potatoes. I used Rotel Fired roasted tomatoes & chilies in place of the can of tomatoes. When the meat was mostly done, I took it out a shredded it and put it back in the crockpot. I had a couple of large red potatoes that I needed to use so I chopped them up in little pieces with skin on and put it in the crockpot. Cooked for 2 more hours. Stew was amazing.

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