Easy Pork Stew with a Can of Chipotles in Adobo Sauce

I don’t know if a can of chipotles adobados/en adobo (smoked chillies in adobo sauce) is used by serious Mexican cooks, but it’s probably the first ready-to-use sauce I can sincerely recommend. When last week I bought some pork to make MJ’s extraordinary Carne Adovada and realised I didn’t have time to make the necessary chile sauce, I thought why not give the forgotten can of chipotle a chance? The former sauce comes from New Mexico, the latter from Mexico… I was curious to see the similarities. I knew I should find a proper Mexican recipe to compare with MJ’s chile sauce made from the scratch, but I had no time and the can was sitting there for months… Anyway, all I hoped for was a smokey-flavoured stew with a fiery kick. And I obtained it!

I hate ready-to-use sauces, so if it wasn’t for an extremely enthusiastic Mexican shop owner and the whole chillies inside I would never even look at this one either. Though they do have a surprisingly good taste, I still am convinced that if used alone, canned chipotles lack a lot compared to homemade, but I will probably never know since I couldn’t imagine not improving it by adding garlic, onions, chilli powder, dried chillies, allspice and some Mexican oregano (I bought it inspired by MJ’s dish and her cooking in general, and of course it’s used in Mexican cuisine too!). In spite of all these additional ingredients, it still was a shortcut, I loved this quick vaguely Mexican-style dish and will certainly keep a can of chipotles adobados in case of emergency. (Though I will make chipotles adobados from the scratch one day!).

If you want to learn how to make the above-mentioned Carne Adovada (it’s easy and irresistible!) or simply to discover thousands of fabulous inspiring recipes from New Mexico (and not only!), I strongly encourage you to visit MJ’s Kitchen.

TIPS: In certain countries (such as USA), chipotles in adobo sauce are available even in basic supermarkets. In my city they are sold in Latin-American Food groceries, but I know you can easily buy them on internet, practically worldwide. I’ve used the La Costeña brand (a 7 oz/almost 200g can) which seems to be the most popular.

This stew can be prepared in the oven, of course.

Use any pork cut fit for long simmering (shoulder or neck is what I usually buy for stews). The shoulder usually has some fatty parts which I remove while cutting it up, but it’s up to you if you do it or not.

It’s difficult to advise how much of the chipotle en adobo you should use. Adapt it to your heat resistance level, start with a small amount and add more during the cooking process, if required.

I had this meat shredded and put into wraps, with some raw vegetables, herbs and sauces (this is my favourite way and I guess a certain variation of a burrito), but it would also be perfect with potatoes or with bread and a green salad.

Preparation: about 3 hours (or more, depending on the meat)

Ingredients (serves four):

1 kg pork shoulder cut into 4-5 cm (about 1 1/2-2 in) chunks (or another pork cut of your choice), fattiest parts cut off

1/2-2/3 small can of chipotles en adobo, chopped (I’ve used La Costeña 7oz/199g can)

2 tablespoons of slightly hot chilli powder, for example Kashmiri chilli powder

a small handful of dried and chopped/torn mild chilli, such as pasilla

2 medium onions, cut into 8 pieces each

4 big garlic cloves, sliced

6-8 allspice berries (I put them in a muslin bag, but you can add them as they are)

salt, pepper

2 heaped tablespoons Mexican oregano (skip it if you have only Greek oregano; the taste is different)

homemade chicken stock or water

Put all the ingredients into a pot, cover with stock or water (5 cm/2 in. above the meat), and simmer at the low heat for about three hours (or more, depending on the meat).

You might want to check and adjust the seasoning after two hours.

18 Replies to “Easy Pork Stew with a Can of Chipotles in Adobo Sauce”

    1. Thank you! It was the first time I used it but definitely not the last! One tablespoon wouldn’t be enough for chilli addicts, definitely!

  1. Wonderful! I don’t use any of the bottled or jarred salsas and sauces either. I’ve been disappointed in them before. But chipotles in adobo has always been a great product, and it’s smart how you used them. You really like hot!!!

    1. Thank you so much, Mimi. I’ve never bought a ready pasta sauce or a salad dressing in my whole life, but the lady in the Mexican shop sounded so convincing… and she was right! It’s now an exception to my rule. (Yes, we are chilli addicts, both with my husband!).

  2. What a delicious dish, the variety of peppers would really bump up the flavours. My mouth was wayering as I read through the ingredient list. I’m unsure if dlow cookers (crock pots) are popular in Europe but I think this would make a good recipe for it. I can just imagine how fragrant your home smells after cooking this all day!

    1. Thank you so much, Eva! Slow cookers have recently become more popular, though not as popular as in the US and Canada. You are right, from what I’ve heard, it would be a great idea.

  3. This sounds like an awesome recipe. I, for one, always keep a can of chipotles in the fridge. They last forever and are perfect for doctoring up jarred or container salsas. That’s one use! Sloppy joe becomes so much better with one of these. And your recipe sounds like a winner!

  4. I bought two small cans of chipotles en adobo last year, the first time I have ever seen them. They are stil in my cellar as I didn’t really have an idea what to do with them, I have never even tasted before. I am writing this recipe down right now. 🙂

    1. Amazing coincidence! It was just like me! I hope I’ve motivated you to cook with them. They are really too good to be kept in the cellar.

  5. I had seen MJ’s recipe and thought how good it sounded…I love all her southwestern dishes. I’ve got the exact can of chipotles in adobo in my pantry for whenever I want to create a Mexican dish. Your recipe sounds delicious but I know that I would have to cut down on the chile peppers so some degree. 😀

  6. Oh Sissi, I am so late on getting here. Sorry! You blow me away with your flattering comments and shout outs. Thank you so much Darlin!!! You are way too kind.

    You dish is awesome! I’m sure it would burn the roof off the mouths of most people. 🙂 That’s a lot of chipotle but that’s also a good amount of pork. Going through the recipe, my mouth kept getting more and more excited. YUM! I love recipes like this as you well know. Great dish!!! Thanks again for everything!

    1. Dear MJ, thank you so much for all the compliments! (Please don’t talk about being late… I’m recently late with every post not to mention comments on my friends’ blogs! yours too, by the way!). I’m glad you liked this “fast food” solution for a quick Mexican-inspired dish. I would never ever think about New-Mexican or Mexican cuisine if it wasn’t for your friendship and inspiration!

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