Santa Fe Pork and Black Bean Stew

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!

Pork and Black Bean Stew
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.

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

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs 10 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 25 mins
Servings 4 servings

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

Special Equipment

  • Food processor


  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.


Santa Fe Chicken Stew from Gonna Want Seconds

Pork and Black Bean Stew
Elise Bauer