Santa Fe Pork and Black Bean Stew

BudgetGluten-FreePork Shoulder

Hearty pork and black bean stew with pork shoulder, onions, red bell peppers, jalapeños, garlic, cornmeal, black beans, spices, molasses, and a splash of lime juice. Perfect for a cold day!

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

This Santa Fe Pork and Black Bean Stew is a wonderfully warming stew for cold fall and winter days.

The stew is decidedly southwestern in ingredients and flavor (hence the name “Santa Fe”). With the cooler weather setting in, I picked the last of my garden jalapeños and poblanos to include in this stew.

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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 this pork and black bean stew makes me want to make it and eat it all over again! (It’s really good.)

Santa Fe Pork and Black Bean Stew Recipe

  • 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 cook them ahead. Here's how to make beans on the stovetop or in a pressure cooker.

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


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin 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 tablespoons 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


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

2 Brown the pork: 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 Add the onions: 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 Make garlic jalapeño spice mixture: 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 Add spice mixture to pork and onions: Once the onions are cooked, add the spice mixture to the pork and onions.

6 Add molasses, bell pepper, zest, cover and cook: 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.

7 Remove zest, add black beans: 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.

8 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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Pork and Black Bean Stew

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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41 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. SoCal mom

    Was just telling my daughter how bored I am with cooking three meals a day for the family and not going out to dinner during quarantine! I found this recipe a nice little departure from the usual weekly line-up. I ended up using 7 or 8 cloves of pre-peeled garlic, because we love garlic, but also I hate to open a package and not use it. I used two jalapeños (seeded) which made the stew warm but not spicy. Also, I grated the orange zest into the stew, rather than cut a strip, because I am lazy. However, with this method, there was not a noticeable orange flavor to the stew. Maybe next time I’ll try the strip of orange zest instead to see if it gives more of an orange flavored undertone. This recipe was definitely a winner for us. My husband and I loved it. My kids ate it and liked it. Limes, fresh lime juice and fresh cilantro are a must. Next time, I’ll make a double batch for sure, so we have leftovers for the freezer!


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  2. John B.

    I made a big batch of this again this year for our club’s annual chili feed. Again, it disappeared before the actual chilis had much of a dent put in them. Everyone raves about it, and I have to try to tell a dozen people how I made it.

    I follow the recipe to the last detail (which is unusual for me, as I always think I have a better idea). After making it numerous times, I can’t improve it. Except maybe putting in more black beans. Like a large can instead of a small one. Loves me some black beans!


  3. Ken

    I made it as a soup (with a few other minor changes) using some leftover breaded pork. It turned out great! (no oregano, no cayenne, 2T garlic powder, 6T cornmeal, a lot less pork, no lime juice).

  4. Tess

    I’m trying to make this with a 4lb pork butt in the slow cooker. It’s bone-in so I figured just cook it whole and then shred the meat. I was debating but decided to add the cup of water so that the veggies didn’t dry out. Crossing my fingers this works out. Any thoughts or suggestions for this method?

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  5. Natalie

    I just finished enjoying this really delicious dish and will definitely be making it again. My husband said this may one of the best dishes he’s ever eaten. I know the orange peel was optional, but am so happy I included it, it was a subtle but distinctive background flavor that really brought it together. The only thing I did differently was after bringing everything to a simmer in step 5, I put everything other than the lime juice and cilantro in to a slow cooker and cooked it on low for 6 hours, stirring every hour or so. I added the beans at the 3 hour mark, but needed to stir about every half hour for the last two hours as the beans were sticking to the bottom a bit. Really awesome dish, thank you!


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