Make Ahead

Pork with Black Chile Sauce (Carne en chile negro)

June  2, 2020
Author Notes

"Guisados" are stewed taco fillings. Stands selling "tacos de guisos" are quite popular in central Mexico, where my husband and I live. Fillings range from potatoes and beans to eggs in red salsa to pork rinds in green salsa. Carne en chile negro is a common filling as well and it happens to be the dish my husband claims as his mom's best.

For those who don't like too much spice, the chile pasilla is milder than most. (Note though, if you don't like any spice at all, this dish probably isn't for you.) You can double this recipe to easily feed a crowd or, double it, and keep the leftovers. You won't regret it. —Herstory of Food

  • Prep time 1 hour
  • Cook time 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Serves 4-6 people
Ingredients
  • 1.5 pounds pork shoulder
  • salt, to taste
  • 4 pasilla chiles (also sold as chile negro)
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 3 oil
  • 4 teaspoons cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • pepper, to tast
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Cut the pieces of pork shoulder into fist size chunks and rub with salt. Refrigerate for 1 to 3 days. (You can skip this step if you want. Just be sure to salt the pork before searing the meat.)
  2. Place the chiles in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Toast for 30-60 seconds, flip and continue to toast for another 30-60 seconds. You should be able to smell the chiles at this point and they may have puffed up slightly.
  3. Put the chiles in a bowl. Pour the boiling water over the chiles and let sit for 20-30 minutes. Move the chiles occasionally to push them underwater changing the side that is most exposed to the liquid or submerge them using a utensil to hold them down.
  4. While waiting, heat the oven to 350F (180C) degrees. Then, heat the oil in a roasting pan set on the stovetop. Cook the pieces of pork shoulder in a single layer until very well-browned, about 3-6 minutes per side, turning them as little as possible so they get dark before flipping them around. If your cooking vessel is too small to cook them in a single-layer, cook them in two batches.
  5. Once all the pork is browned, turn off the heat and remove them from the pan. Let the oil cool for 5 to 10 minutes and add about 1 cup of water from the chiles. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a flat-edged utensil to release all the tasty brown bits. Return the pork back to the pan and add enough chile water so the pork pieces are about 2/3rd’s submerged in liquid.
  6. Braise in the oven uncovered for 3½ hours, turning the pork a few times during cooking, until much of the liquid has evaporated and the pork is falling apart.
  7. While the pork is cooking, drain the chiles, reserving the remaining water. Remove the top stem from the chiles and cut a slit from top to bottom to open the chiles. Run the chiles gently under water to remove seeds.
  8. Add the chiles, garlic, cumin, salt, pepper and 1 cup of the chile water to the bowl of a food processor. Blend until smooth. Set aside.
  9. Remove the pork from the oven. Lift the pork pieces out of the liquid and set them on a platter. Once the pork pieces are cool enough to handle, shred them into bite-sized pieces, about 2-inches (7 cm), discarding any obvious big chunks of fat if you wish.
  10. Return the pork pieces back to the roasting pan and cook in the oven, turning occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated and the pork is crispy and caramelized. Time will depend on how much liquid the pork gave off, and how crackly you want them. Add the chile sauce to the pan and mix until pork is completely covered. Serve immediately with tortillas or let cool and refrigerate to serve later.

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