Make Ahead

Jerk Pork Stew

September 22, 2015
1 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Serves 6 to 8
Author Notes

One-pot meals and I are besties these days. Keeping an eye on an increasingly active infant means I just do not have the time to prepare elaborate meals any more; pretty much everything I make these days is a one- pot meal that requires very little effort!

I have been craving to see the ocean ever since my daughter was born, but living in Colorado means the beaches are ridiculously far away. I must have been daydreaming about the Caribbeans, which automatically led me to think about jerk (because, obviously, who wouldn't?), and before I knew it my jerk pork stew was bubbling away in the oven!

I used this recipe to get me started. I tweaked the recipe to suit my tastes, and since I do not have a grill, I decided to convert it to a hearty stew instead. I wanted a soupier stew, so I went ahead and added coconut milk, which also helped tone down the super-spiciness of the dish! If you want a thicker, spicier stew, then feel free to add a lesser amount of the coconut milk!

This recipe requires very little hands-on time; the marinade does most of the work the first day and the oven does the rest! I had learned an awesome tip on America's Test Kitchen that came in very handy when I was preparing this dish: They had showed that meat need not be browned in batches (which can take forever), but when cooked uncovered in the oven, partially submerged in liquid, the Maillard reaction will brown the meat anyway. It worked like a charm! Try it sometime! :) —Madhuja

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Madhuja is a Colorado-based blogger and no stranger to our contests.
WHAT: A spicy, Caribbean-inspired jerk pork to make us dream of the beach.
HOW: Make a stew from a braise by cooking pork in its fiery marinade, then adding potatoes and other vegetables to the same pot. Coconut milk thins the broth and tames the flames.
WHY WE LOVE IT: We love a meal that comes together without a lot of tending, and this stew fits the bill. While the coconut milk cuts the heat from the habaneros, this stew is very spicy—and very flavorful! (Though use less brown sugar if you don't like things too sweet.) —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • Marinade
  • 10 scallions, white and pale green parts, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (low-sodium)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic (about 6 to 8 cloves)
  • 4 habanero peppers, stemmed
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • Zest and juice of 2 limes
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • Pork Stew
  • 3 pounds country-style pork ribs, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes, with fat pockets trimmed
  • 2 Russet potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1 13.5-ounce can of coconut milk
  • Chopped cilantro, for garnish
  1. Put all the ingredients for the marinade in a food processor and blend to a smooth purée. Mix the marinade thoroughly with the meat (use a spatula!) and refrigerate for a day.
  2. Heat oven to 325° F. Transfer the meat and all the marinade to a Dutch oven bring it up to a boil over medium heat.
  3. Once it has come to a boil, transfer the Dutch oven, uncovered, to the oven and let the meat braise for 1 1/2 hours until the meat is tender, making sure you stir it halfway through. If a lot of fat floats to the surface, go ahead and ladle some of it off and dispose.
  4. Add the potatoes and carrots and cook, covered, until the vegetables are almost tender, about 30 to 40 minutes.
  5. Add the peas and coconut milk and cook for another 30 minutes or so, until the meat is absolutely falling apart. Check for seasoning.
  6. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Enjoy with steamed rice!
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45 Reviews

Valerie August 26, 2020
Not so much a review as a nit-pick: It's not "the Caribbeans." It's either "the Caribbean" (referring to the Caribbean Sea) or "the Caribbean Islands." And for the record, Jerk -- pork, chicken or fish -- is part of Jamaican cuisine. It may have migrated to other islands, but it originated with escaped slaves in the mountains of Jamaica.
KatherineC October 9, 2016
I want to make this for a dinner party but I have one guest with a potato allergy. Any recommendations on how to modify this recipe?
Christine L. October 10, 2016
I could totally see replacing the potatoes w turnips or just leaving them out altogether.
Madhuja October 10, 2016
Hi Katherine! Thanks so much for choosing my recipe for your dinner party! You could leave the potatoes out altogether or add another hardy root vegetable that will hold up well in the stew. One word of caution: This dish is VERY SPICY. Since you will be cooking this for a party, unless your guests love the absolute spiciest kinds of foods, I would highly recommend that you use one habanero (or two, at the most). Hope this helps! Let me know how it turned out!:)
KatherineC October 13, 2016
Thanks Madhuja! Do you think it would work well with pork shoulder? I don't want to have to deal with bones. Any modifications I should make?
Madhuja October 13, 2016
You could absolutely use pork shoulder! Just cut it up in 1 1/2 " cubes and trim big fat pockets. By the way, country style pork ribs don't have any bones in them, so you could use those too! Keep an eye on the amount of liquid in the pot - you don't want things to dry up too much! Good luck!
KatherineC October 9, 2016
I want to make this for a dinner party but I have one guest with a potato allergy. Any recommendations on how to modify this recipe?
Christine G. September 17, 2019
Try carrots....thsweet may be a nice contest to the heat. Ask you could serve this with some jasmine rice.
Christine G. September 17, 2019
Also. ....Not ask
PAM October 2, 2016
Great flavor, but four habanero's makes it REALLY spicy. We added dollops of sour cream in order to eat it (and yes we like spicy food, but this was past our limits). I worried when I put it in the oven that there wasn't enough liquid in the marinade, but there was. I didn't need to add the chicken broth I had ready to go, Rice is a must.
Madhuja October 3, 2016
I am so glad you liked the flavor and I am sorry it was too hot for you! Thanks for reporting back! :)
Paula R. February 15, 2016
I went to a party and some one made it n it was so good, he told me what was in it n this was the closest I found to it. But the marinade taste similar to it CAN'T wait
alahanson February 6, 2016
If I wanted to do this in a slow cooker how would I modify the recipie?
Madhuja February 6, 2016
I have never used a slow cooker, so I really don't know how you would need to modify this recipe. May be post the question on the hotline and someone can help you out? Hope this helps! :)
Clair G. December 21, 2015
I had very high hopes for this recipe, however, I have to admit to being a bit disappointed. I found the final color of this quite off-putting, and the huge amount of ground spices in the marinade and resulting sauce to be a bit.. grainy? Sandy? My family was not into it. However, the pork was cooked beautifully using this method and I did enjoy the one-pot cooking. I think I would try it again.. but perhaps try using whole spices during the cooking process instead? Any thoughts on this? Thanks for the recipe!
Madhuja December 21, 2015
Thanks, Clair, for trying my recipe and I am sorry it didn't quite work out for you. You could use cinnamon sticks in the recipe and then fish them out once the stew was cooked. I am not sure if using whole allspice berries in the recipe would work - it would be tough to fish them out. I also would not recommend using whole nutmeg in this recipe - I always grate mine with a rasp and I have never had any issues with it being grainy. Hope this helps!
Liz F. December 17, 2015
Sadly, I read these comments too late - after used all 4 habaneros and let the meat marinade for more than a day. The result? Much too spicy, even for my spice-loving family! Might try it again but with only half the peppers.
Idalu November 2, 2015
Made it without the habaneros (there is a small kid involved) and the potatoes since serving wih rice. The dish was good but i felt like it was missing something, maybe the habaneros. Thanks for the tecipe, not sure I'll try it again.
Texas E. October 23, 2015
Delicious. I found my liquid evaporating a bit quickly, and added a bit of chicken broth to keep it moist.
I enjoy spicy food, but 4 habaneros seemed daunting, so I only used two. That turned to be a good idea, since two peppers still produced a nice, slow burn.
Thanks for the recipe!
Madhuja October 23, 2015
You are very welcome! Good call on using fewer habaneros - always adjust the spice level to suit your tastes! Thanks for trying my recipe! :)
Claire H. October 21, 2015
I really wanted to love this, but my meat was dry...I usually default to pork shoulder, but my market had the country ribs, and based on another comment in here, I was excited to try. Maybe I didn't cook long enough? I subbed jalepenos for the habeneros since I have a 6 year old, and it worked great. If it was cooking time, do you think I can actually put it back in my oven (went it to fridge last night after dinner) and see if I cant improve the meat texture? Thanks!
Madhuja October 21, 2015
Yes, unfortunately, it does sound like it didn't cook long enough! I have never tried to "recook" meat, but if I were to try here is what I would do - bring the dish up to a boil on stove top and then let it stew in a 300F oven, covered, checking every 30 mins or so to see if the meat was tender and that there was enough liquid. I don't know if the extra cooking time will make the vegetables fall apart too or if the coconut milk will curdle - maybe you could take the meat out and cook it in some broth until it is tender and then put it back in the dish? Sorry I don't have a more definite answer for you! Good luck and hope this helps! :)
Madhuja October 21, 2015
Oops! I wrote my entire response thinking that your meat had turned out "tough"! And now I see that it had turned out "dry"... Hmm, not sure why that happened with a fatty piece of meat, on a low and slow braise. May be there wasn't enough liquid? May be it cooked for too long? For salvaging it - may be try shredding the meat and putting it back to the sauce? So sorry it didn't turn out the way you wanted it to!
Erin October 19, 2015
I made this for dinner and immediately fell in love with the flavours going into my food processor. I knew this would be good! I used pork shoulder instead of ribs and marinated it over night. My whole house smelled amazing as this bad boy was doing its thing in the oven and everyone was super excited to eat it. When dinner time finally arrived and we dove in, we pretty much needed to call the fire department - THE HEAT! Now don't know if my habaneros were on the large side, but oh my goodness it was hot!! I ended up adding a second can of coconut milk to tame it, but it didn't do much. I am absolutely making it again because the flavours were ridiculous, but I think I may cut the habaneros in half. Thanks for an awesome comfort food dish that isn't your typical red wine braise
Madhuja October 20, 2015
Thanks, Erin, for trying my recipe and reporting back! So sorry to hear that the dish was too hot for you! Feel free to substitute the Habaneros with a couple of seeded Serranos or Jalapenos in order to make the spice level suitable for you! :)
Christine L. October 14, 2015
I made this tonight. Ohmygoodness: everyone raves about this. Everyone had seconds. I followed the recipe w 2 exceptions: I used pork shoulder cubed up instead of country pork ribs. And I put a cover on the Dutch oven while in the oven for the last 30 minutes. So good. Totally going into our meal rotation. And next time I may even try it w short ribs (my fave cut of braised meat).
Madhuja October 14, 2015
Thank you so much, Christine, for trying my recipe and reporting back! Yes, you are absolutely right; the pot should remain covered for the last 30 minutes of cooking. I shall make a note of that in the instructions! :)
BDAtlanta October 12, 2015
The only added salt is from the soy sauce?

No liquids other than the soy sauce and lime and orange juices?
Madhuja October 12, 2015
Check for salt once all the meat and veggies have cooked and you have added the coconut milk. Yes, the liquids in the marinade are the soy sauce and lime and orange juice; and then you add the coconut milk to make it as soupy as you want! Hope this helps! :)
BDAtlanta October 12, 2015
Thanks! It smells great.
Madhuja October 12, 2015
Great! Make sure you have lots of rice and a cold drink at hand - this is one spicy dish! :)
BDAtlanta October 21, 2015
We used 2 habaneros instead of 4 and substituted a sweet potato for one of the russets. Cooked it in a slow cooker instead of the oven. Turned out good/ Not too hot.
Madhuja October 21, 2015
I am so glad to hear that! :)
Shalini October 9, 2015
Yum, @Madhuja! Have you tried this out on kids, with a few less habaneros? It looks scrumptious.
Madhuja October 9, 2015
Thank you so much, Shalini! If I were to make this for kids, I would definitely use fewer habaneros or may be even substitute with seeded jalapenos (if they absolutely do not like spicy foods). :)
savorthis October 8, 2015
I didn't know you were a COLORADO based blogger :) Where? I'm in Denver..... Congrats on being a finalist~ looks delicious!
Madhuja October 8, 2015
Thank you so much, savorthis! Not sure if I can call myself a blogger if I haven't written a post in almost 2 years! :) (I blame the baby!). I am in Colorado Springs!
EmilyC October 8, 2015
Congrats! This looks and sounds fantastic!
Madhuja October 8, 2015
Thank you so much, Emily!
ChefJune October 8, 2015
Congratulations on being a finalist! This recipe sounds delicious. We'll enjoy trying it.
Madhuja October 8, 2015
Thank you so much, ChefJune! I hope you enjoy the dish too! :)
gingerroot September 23, 2015
This sounds amazing! I'm making it as soon as it gets a little cooler.
Madhuja September 25, 2015
Thanks, gingerroot! The cooler weather will be perfect for this spicy dish! :)
Bevi September 22, 2015
Sounds delicious!
Madhuja September 22, 2015
Thanks, Bevi! :)