Santa Fe Pork and Black Bean Stew

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.

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


  • 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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  • 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?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Tess! I think your strategy sounds good and I agree with adding a cup or so of water (or broth!). I’d probably cook for 6 to 8 hours on low. Let us know how it turns out!

  • 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!


  • Jim

    I used “bone in pork ribs” that were labeled as coming from the shoulder (only one of them had bone in). Anyway, worked like a charm. Served over rice, and took leftovers to work because it was awesome and I had to share


  • Foodiewife

    Wow! I converted this recipe to my Instant Pot– searing the pork in three batches, then the onion. 35 minutes later, I added the black beans and brought to a simmer with the saute feature for a few minutes. I did add a little masa, at the end, to thicken the stew. I’m glad I reduced the jalapeno to one, and half of the cayenne pepper– as this had some heat, but not too much so that I wasn’t breathing fire! The pork was fork tender and I loved the notes of cinnamon, orange and cumin. I served this over farro, to keep this healthier. Excellent recipe and thank you!


    • kdiddy

      I did the same but got a ‘burn’ message. I’d do it again but leave out the corn meal until after the pressure cook, when simmering for thickness.

  • Holly

    Do you think cutting up a pork loin roast would work? All the shoulders are so huge at the store. Thanks!

    • Debbie

      Pork loin has less fat so might dry out, just add towards end.

      I just put whole chicken in crock pot with veggies, lemon, garlic, spices…going to make santa fe stew and add shredded chicken and all the garnishes. I’m also going to add dollop of Greek yogurt (healthy, no sour cream ) and lime zest.
      Yummy can’t wait!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Holly, pork loin is a fairly lean cut which holds up better to roasting in the oven than to cooking in a stew. When I’ve used it in stew dishes, it has been terribly dry. You really want to get a shoulder cut for this one.

    • Denise

      Holly, ask your butcher to trim one of the big ones for you. Mine did for me. I asked him to cut an 8 lb to four, then I cut it in half and froze the other half for another use (pulled pork, anyone?).Totally worth it.

  • 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!!!!


  • Adrienne

    Thank you so much for all the recipes – I’ve made many and loved them but never commented. Made this stew last night and was so happy I doubled it. Absolutely delicious. My husband, who hates peppers and onions, wasn’t even bothered because of the long cooking. So flavorful and the pork was incredibly tender.

  • Jessica

    Oh my goodness this was amazing. Next time we make it we’re doubling the recipe for sure. It’s even better than your feijoada recipe! Thank you so much! I’ve been using your recipes for many years and every single one had been a keeper so far.

  • Karl

    I use dark beer and the juice of the orange instead of water. I think this wil give it a little more flavor (don’t like to cook with plain water :-P ).

  • Deborah

    Elise, my husband and I LOVED this stew as our Thanksgiving Eve feast … and we used it today as our Thanksgiving breakfast (quesadilla filling; YUM!). Thank you for your rigorously tested and beautifully photographed recipes (the hot dog chili recipe is a steady favorite in our household as well).

  • Barbara Johnstone

    It’s way past time for me to say thank you for all the wonderful recipes. I’ve been making things from this site for a couple of years now and every one has been a keeper. This one is even better than the rest!

    • Elise Bauer

      You are very welcome Barbara! I’m so glad you have found the site useful. :-)

  • loz

    Can I cook this in a Dutch oven and cook in the oven instead of stovetop? If so what temperature and for how long? Would there be a difference in the taste?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Loz, I don’t see why not, though I don’t know about the timing or temp. Maybe 2 hours at 225°F? You’ll have to experiment. If you do, please let us know how it turns out for you!

  • Tracey

    Is the molasses necessary? or is there a substitute. I ask because I never use molasses for anything else and hate to buy it for just a couple of TBLS.

  • Natalia

    I love this recipe. Love all of them in fact. The recipes here have been a constant source of inspiration and knowledge for me long before I started cooking. Love the lucid pictorial demos and the warmth that’s go into them. This is real home cooking from the heart. Thank you for welcoming us to your family table.

    • Elise Bauer

      Thank you Natalia! I’m always happy to hear it when people like the recipes. :-)

  • Mel Kozek

    Made this last night and it was a big hit. I used the orange zest, and the lime juice.

    The recipe will go in our binder of favorite recipes.


  • Leanne

    could one cook it on low in a slow-cooker?

    • Elise Bauer

      Yes, but I’m not sure on the timing. I’m guessing that you would want to put the browned meat, onions, and spices in the slow cooker at step 5, and then on low for several hours?

  • ket

    I have never actually posted a review here but I have been a huge fan of this site over the past year since I discovered it. I couldn’t resist posting on this recipe. I made this for dinner tonight and it was INCREDIBLE!! I followed the recipe to the letter, including the lime juice and I am usually not a big fan of lime juice in my food. My family is in awe of me. They think I am an amazing cook! My 3 teenagers sopped it up and wanted more and my husband is beyond impressed. Isn’t that what good cooking is all about? impressing your loved ones? hahaha

  • Charles Dunn

    If I want to “step up” the heat just a bit, what would be one or two other peppers/chiles that I could add to this recipe? Serrano or chipotle peppers?

  • IMHO

    There’s a new market near me that has a pretty decent butcher shop. They’re actually making sausage in house and the difference between their fresh product and just about any prepackaged sausage is pretty dramatic.

    Anyway, I’m sure I can get pork shoulder there and will give this recipe a spin.

  • Melissa Aaron

    This sounds so warming and delectable! I just picked up some Hatch chilies and have been wondering what to use them in. Now I know! Plus a little ground chipotle, maybe?

  • Jennifer

    This looks lovely! I may try to convert this to a slow cooker.

  • Laura

    I love all the swirling southwest flavors in this stew! It looks absolutely fabulous – what a perfect dish to make for company. I actually see nice pieces of pork shoulder for sale at the local grocery store all the time but never know how to use them other than for pulled pork! Now I know. And I know what you mean about slowing down, it’s almost a relief to read a book/watch a movie guilt-free without feeling like I should be outside. Living in the Greater Niagara Falls area where it seems to snow way to much and be cold, you feel bad if you stay inside on a nice day.