Grandma’s Traditional Mexican Red Chili Pork

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Ingredients:

2 pounds country-style pork ribs

1-2 tablespoons canola oil

water

6 ounces New Mexico chile pods

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon hand-crushed oregano

½ teaspoon cumin

sea salt, to taste

Cookware:

Medium saucepan with lid

10” cast iron skillet with lid

Blender

Food mill

Cutting board

Tongs

Chef’s knife

Instructions:

1. Cut 2 lbs of country style pork ribs into bite-size pieces. Leave some fat in for flavor. Pour enough canola oil (1-2 tbsp) to cover the bottom of a cast iron skillet and place over medium heat.

cutting country style pork ribs into bite size pieces
Courtesy of Marissa Mejia
cooking the cut pork in a cast iron skillet with oil
Courtesy of Marissa Mejia

2. Brown the meat on all sides, then add enough water to submerge the meat halfway. Lower heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the meat is tender and the water has evaporated (2-3 hours), adding more water if the skillet gets dry. The longer the meat cooks, the more tender it will be.

adding water to the pork as it is cooking
Courtesy of Marissa Mejia

3. De-stem and de-seed enough New Mexico chile pods to fill a medium saucepan. Add water to the saucepan until it’s ¾ full and place it over medium heat. Cover with a lid.  

de-stemming and de-seeding New Mexico chile pods
Courtesy of Marissa Mejia

4. Every 10 minutes, move the pods with tongs, transferring the bottom pods to the top. They should puff out. Once the water reaches a boil, turn off the heat and steep the pods for 30 minutes.

steeping the chile pods in water on the stovetop
Courtesy of Marissa Mejia

5. In sections, put the pods and a bit of the steeping water in a blender. When it blends, it should be saucy like enchilada sauce. Then process the sauce in a food mill.

placing the chile pods and water into a blender to make a sauce
Courtesy of Marissa Mejia
processing the chile sauce through a food mill
Courtesy of Marissa Mejia

6. Once the meat is cooked and water is evaporated, add minced garlic to the skillet until fragrant, 30 seconds. Pour in the chile sauce, add hand-crushed oregano, cumin, and sea salt to taste. Adjust seasoning as needed. Simmer for 10 minutes so the flavors meld.  

pouring the strained sauce onto the cooking pork in the skillet
Courtesy of Marissa Mejia

7. Serve with flour tortillas. My family loves to have it with refried beans and a fried egg. 

completed red chile with pork dish
Courtesy of Marissa Mejia

About This Recipe

I know a lot of people say their grandma’s food is the best, but my grandma’s food is seriously the best! It’s the kind of comfort food that my family lines up for during our large Mexican-American family reunions, holiday gatherings, and if you’re lucky, a Sunday breakfast at grandma’s house.

grandparents stand with their grandchild and great grandchild in the kitchen
Courtesy of Marissa Mejia

Growing up, my cousins, sister, and I spent a lot of time at grandma’s house. Every day I’d watch as my grandpa came home and took off his cowboy hat. My grandma would be cooking over the stove, as he’d come behind her and kiss her on the cheek. While we held hands over dinner, he’d thank God for the ‘beautiful hands that prepared it.’ I remember thinking to myself, ‘That’s the kind of love I want!’

young girl sits with her grandmother on rocks
Courtesy of Marissa Mejia

During the beginning of COVID, I was furloughed from my job. Feeling homesick and not much like myself, my family encouraged me to visit home. As I took the drive from Northern California to Southern California, my grandma told me, ‘Mija, just come over tomorrow and we’ll cook together… bring country-style pork ribs. We’ll make red chile with pork.’ My grandma is pretty much famous in our family for red chile with pork, a dish passed down to her by her mother, my nana, who was a cook for the ranchers in both Colorado and New Mexico.

woman takes a selfie with her grandparents in the background
Courtesy of Marissa Mejia

The day my grandma taught me this recipe was so joyous, filled with laughter and dancing. It was a truly wonderful memory during such a bleak and uncertain time. As always, my grandpa thanked God for the ‘beautiful hands that prepared it.’ Surrounded by my family, I felt like myself again.

grandmother watches her granddaughter cooking in the kitchen
Courtesy of Marissa Mejia

When my grandma learned I didn’t have a food mill or cast iron skillet to make red chile with pork, she sent me home with a freezer chest full of New Mexico red chile pods from my cousin Carl’s chile farm. She also gifted me with my nana’s food mill and cast iron skillet. Now anytime I make this dish, I feel my nana’s hands guiding me through each step.

Courtesy of Marissa Mejia

A few weeks back, I was able to make this dish for my fiancé. As we sat down for dinner and prayed, he thanked God for finding a future wife who could really cook! It was as if he had seen all the childhood memories I had of my Grandpa’s prayers. It was his first time having red chile with pork, and he absolutely enjoyed it, going back for seconds and, to my surprise, thirds!

comparison of husband and wife to the wife's grandparents
Courtesy of Marissa Mejia

Traditional Mexican Red Chili Pork Recipe

It’s the kind of comfort food my family lines up for during our large Mexican-American family reunions and holiday gatherings.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican

Equipment

  • Medium saucepan with lid
  • 10” cast iron skillet with lid
  • Blender
  • Food mill
  • Cutting board
  • Tongs
  • Chef’s knife

Ingredients
  

  • 2 lbs. country-style pork ribs
  • 1-2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 6 oz. New Mexico chile pods
  • 1 large clove garlic (minced)
  • 1 tbsp. hand-crushed oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • sea salt (to taste)

Instructions
 

  • Cut 2 lbs of country style pork ribs into bite-size pieces. Leave some fat in for flavor. Pour enough canola oil (1-2 tbsp) to cover the bottom of a cast iron skillet and place over medium heat.
  • Brown the meat on all sides, then add enough water to submerge the meat halfway. Lower heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the meat is tender and the water has evaporated (2-3 hours), adding more water if the skillet gets dry. The longer the meat cooks, the more tender it will be.
  • De-stem and de-seed enough New Mexico chile pods to fill a medium saucepan. Add water to the saucepan until it’s ¾ full and place it over medium heat. Cover with a lid.  
  • Every 10 minutes, move the pods with tongs, transferring the bottom pods to the top. They should puff out. Once the water reaches a boil, turn off the heat and steep the pods for 30 minutes.
  • In sections, put the pods and a bit of the steeping water in a blender. When it blends, it should be saucy like enchilada sauce. Then process the sauce in a food mill.
  • Once the meat is cooked and water is evaporated, add minced garlic to the skillet until fragrant, 30 seconds. Pour in the chile sauce, add hand-crushed oregano, cumin, and sea salt to taste. Adjust seasoning as needed. Simmer for 10 minutes so the flavors meld.  
  • Serve with flour tortillas. My family loves to have it with refried beans and a fried egg. 
Keyword Mexican, pork, red chile, traditional

This recipe was submitted to Love What Matters by Marissa Mejia. You can follow her on Instagram. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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