Slow Cooker

Slow-Cooker Peruvian-American Pork Adobo

January 29, 2019
11 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
  • Prep time 8 hours
  • Cook time 8 hours
  • Serves 6 to 8
Author Notes

This is my American version of adobo arequipeño, a pork stew from the southern Peruvian region of Arequipa. It's traditionally made with chicha, a fermented corn beverage that can be tricky to find in the United States. I found that hard apple cider replicates the flavor nicely. This is one of the simpler Peruvian dishes to make as you just marinate the pork and then dump everything into a Crock-Pot. The cider and slow cooker are what make this recipe “Americano” but also yield tender, flavorful chunks of pork and an addictive broth. You will want to have plenty of crusty bread on hand to soak up all the juices. —Carlos C. Olaechea

What You'll Need
  • Marinade
  • 1 large red onion, quartered
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • 6 allspice berries
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons ají panca paste, or to taste (see Note below for substitution)
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle hard cider
  • Adobo
  • 3 pounds pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 2 to 3–inch chunks
  • 3 large red onions, sliced into 1/2-inch half moons
  • 3 cups pork or beef stock
  • Salt, to taste
  1. For the marinade, place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Place the pork into a large container. Pour the marinade onto the pork and coat all the pieces well. Cover the container and place in the refrigerator overnight or up to 24 hours. (This can also be done in a resealable plastic bag.)
  3. Place the pork into a slow cooker along with all of the marinade. Add the stock and sliced onions and stir to combine. Cook on high for 6-8 hours, or until fork tender.
  4. Serve in bowls with crusty bread.
  5. Note: Ají panca is a dried chile that imparts a deep, mildly spicy flavor to many Peruvian dishes. It's typically soaked and ground into a paste. You can find jars of ají panca paste at many Latin American groceries or online, and it's worth getting if you want to make many other Peruvian dishes. If you cannot find ají panca paste, use 1 tablespoon sweet paprika and one teaspoon cayenne pepper.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Heather L Love
    Heather L Love
  • Candy Gallagher
    Candy Gallagher
  • Carlos C. Olaechea
    Carlos C. Olaechea
  • GabyP
I was born in Peru to a Limeño father and a Texan mother. We moved to Miami when I was five, and I grew up in the "Kendall-suyo" neighborhood—often called the 5th province of the Inca Empire because of its large Peruvian population. I've been writing about food since I was 11 years old, and in 2016 I received a master's degree in Gastronomy from Boston University. A travel columnist at Food52, I'm currently based in Hollywood, Florida—another vibrant Peruvian community—where I am a writer, culinary tour guide, and consultant.

19 Reviews

GabyP October 23, 2019
I can get a lot of peruvian ingredients where I live. How much chica de Jora should I use? And for the rocoto...a whole one will be enough? I don’t want it to spicy since my kids won’t it. Thank you
Carlos C. October 23, 2019
Hi Gaby, I would add about 2 cups chicha de jora. Makes sure it is chicha de jora and NOT chicha morada. Also make sure it is cooking chicha, which is not as sweet and a little more sour. One whole rocoto pricked with a fork will make for a spicy adobo. Rocotos are very hot.
Heather L. March 8, 2019
It was good, but I think I was expecting more... flavor? So I have to wonder if this was written taking in to account the typical American fear of anything with bold flavor or spice. I really like that aji panca paste, though. That'll become a staple around the house from now on.
Carlos C. March 8, 2019
I'm glad you liked it. So, traditionally, you will also add a whole rocoto chile in the adobo for extra spice (and phenomenal flavor). I didn't include it because these chiles are more difficult to find, and they are very spicy. If you can find frozen rocoto chiles, I would add one to the pot about 30 minutes before you're read to serve the adobo. Just prick it all over with a fork. You will see how the final product will be much more flavorful.
m M. March 8, 2019
I like the aji panca , it was the hard cider that ruined it for me, Bad smell and flavor.
Heather L. March 8, 2019
Ooooh, okay. I'll keep an eye out for those and give it a try next time! Thanks!
Heather L. March 8, 2019
I didn't notice an issue with an bad smell/flavor from my cider, but it does have a particular smell when cooking, especially in the slow cooker. I tend to cook pork in hard cider fairly often, so it wasn't out of the ordinary for me.
Heather L. April 3, 2019
Carlos, I ended up freezing the leftovers - reheated them tonight, and apparently that made it absolutely amazing. Not super surprised, since sitting longer will let the flavors develop more thuroughly! Anyway, it became the filling tacos/burrito bowls tonight and we all liked it much better this time around!
jo February 17, 2019
This was outstanding! I followed the recipe exactly with dry hard cider and the Aji Pancha which I purchased online. My minimal additions were a teaspoon or so paprika and a whole smoked chile, because I'm always looking for an excuse to throw one in. We recently returned from Guatemala so the complex fragrance was familiar and welcomed. Everyone loved this stew. I served it with Guatemalan style rice. THANK YOU!
Carlos C. February 18, 2019
Those all sound like good modifications to the recipe! Traditionally, you would add a whole rocoto chile in Arequipa. So, adding a whole smoked chile isn't too off the mark. I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe
Cyrene F. February 13, 2019
Read some of the reviews just as I went to assemble this recipe. So glad that I continued with the recipe. My family loved it! Not too spicy, just right. YUM!!! We purchased the Aji Pancha online and used “Henry Hotspur’s Hard Pressed for Cider, (available at Trader Joe’s).
JanM February 10, 2019
Horrible. I followed the recipe. It made my house smell bad and it does not taste good at all. Waste of time and money.
Carlos C. February 10, 2019
I'm so sorry it didn't turn out right. What type of cider did you use?
JanM February 11, 2019
Hard cider from the Okanagan.
Carlos C. February 11, 2019
I'm sorry the recipe didn't work out for you. I would suggest that you try making it the authentic way with chicha de jora, but I think that this is one Peruvian dish that just may not be your thing.
m M. February 10, 2019
i used 1 (12-ounce) bottle hard cider (angry orchard)
after about 3 hours in the slow cooker the entire house smelled like broccoli, rotten even.
i let it continue to cook, smell kind of went away, meat was tender but the flavor was kinda nasty, rotten. i really liked the taste of the aji panca paste. the hard cider was horrible, it ruined the dish.
Carlos C. February 10, 2019
Hmmm. That's very curious. I used a medium-dry hard cider from Aldi, which is their version of Angry Orchard. It's odd that it would taste rotten, though. I did some research and actually found out that Angry Orchard has a shelf life of 12 months and can actually smell rotten after that period. I'm very sorry that this didn't turn out alright for you.
Candy G. January 30, 2019
Can I substitute ahi amarillo for the ahi pancake?
Carlos C. January 30, 2019
Hi Candy! Ají panca is traditional, but you can definitely replace it with ají amarillo. It will have a brighter flavor and beautiful yellow color. I'd be interested in knowing how it turns out.