Santa Fe Pork and Black Bean Stew

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Summer has finally decided to vacate the premises and the cool weather has set in here in Northern California. I don’t know about you, but I look forward to the cooler days, especially when they bring rain (which we desperately need right about now). Things slow down, not as much needs tending to, and I can curl up with a cup of hot chocolate and a blanket and read a book without any guilt over taking it easy.

Most of the garden has given up its fruit, it won’t need any tending until the new year. A few jalapeños and poblanos remain, clinging on to catch what rays of light they can of the rapidly shortening days. I picked a couple a few days ago to include in this pork and black bean stew.

This stew is decidedly southwestern in ingredients and flavor (hence the name “Santa Fe”). Chunks of pork shoulder are browned and then slowly cooked with onions, garlic, red bell peppers, jalapeños, molasses, and a spice mix with cinnamon, cumin, and oregano. We include some corn meal to help thicken the stew. Black beans are added near the end of cooking, and the stew is served with cilantro and splashes of lime juice.

Just writing about it makes me want to make it and eat it all over again! (It’s really good.)

Santa Fe Pork and Black Bean Stew Recipe

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  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 2 hours, 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

We are using canned black beans in this recipe, but you could easily use dry beans, if you cooked them ahead. See our recommendations for good brands of canned black beans, and instructions on how to cook dry beans on our Black Bean Burrito Bowl recipe.

This recipe makes a relatively small batch for a stew (serves 4). You can easily double the recipe to make a larger batch.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 pounds of pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1-2 jalapeño chili peppers, less or more to taste, seeded, stems removed
  • 2 Tbsp cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (less or more to taste)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced, about 3/4 cup
  • 2 long 1-inch wide strips of orange zest (optional)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans (we recommend Bush's or S&W premium), liquid included
  • More salt to taste
  • 1 to 2 limes
  • Cilantro for garnish

Method

1 Sprinkle 1 teaspoon salt over the pork pieces and let sit while you prep the other ingredients.

2 Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a thick-bottomed stew pot on medium high heat. Add the pork pieces to the pot and brown them on all sides.

3 Once the pork pieces have browned, add the chopped onions to the pot with the pork. Lower the heat to medium and cook until the onions are translucent, about 7-10 minutes more.

4 As the onions are cooking, work on the garlic spice mixture. Place the garlic and the jalapeños in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until minced. Then add the oregano, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, and cornmeal and pulse everything until ground.

5 Once the onions are cooked, add the spice mixture to the pork and onions. Add the molasses, bell pepper, orange zest (if using), and water to the pot. Bring it to a simmer and then reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Cover and let cook until the pork is completely tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Stir occasionally and scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot.

6 When pork is tender, remove the orange zest and add the black beans to the pot and cook for 20 minutes more on low heat.

7 Remove from heat, and stir in the lime juice. Add more salt to taste.

Serve garnished with fresh cilantro. Great with warm corn tortillas.

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Links:

Santa Fe Chicken Stew from Gonna Want Seconds

Pork and Black Bean Stew

Showing 4 of 26 Comments

  • Michael Berz

    Great recipe with fantastic flavor. Added two potato and used two whole not seeded jalapeñ​o chili peppers. Next time I would add at least one more potato and few carrots It was delicious, easy to make and will definitely make again. .

  • Brian

    Late to the party here, but I gotta say – this dish was delicious! It’s now entered into our regular rotation. Followed the recipe to the letter, but served the stew over a small scoop of plain white rice (sorta like gumbo). The spousal unit and I each got a dinner and a lunch out of this and scaling it up enough to include our kids next time will be a breeze. For my own lunch portion, I did include a healthy pinch (1/2 tsp or so) of dried habanero flakes, but I liked it just fine using the 2 Jalapenos in the base recipe. Made it spicy, but not hot at all. Instant classic here!

  • Rob

    This stew was delicious! I added a bit of bacon at the beginning and used a half-cup of orange juice with half-cup of water, but otherwise followed the recipe as written. Two limes help give it a distinctive flavor. The stew warms up well, too. This recipe will be going into the rotation. Thanks!

  • Sophie

    Just made this tonight, and it turned out pretty amazing. Didn’t have molasses on hand, so I used a TB of honey instead. Otherwise, I followed the recipe pretty diligently. YUM.

  • Prema Picardi

    The perfect Christmas day stew! Colorful, spicy, warm and filling! The spice combo worked wonderfully with the pork and molasses and red pepper. Yumm!!!!

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