Braised Pork in Red Chile Sauce

This braised pork in red chile sauce is made by slowly cooking pork butt in a smoky, spicy homemade ancho chile sauce. You’ll want to have plenty of tortillas on hand to soak up that sauce.

An oval bowl filled with braised pork in red chile sauce with a spoon resting on the side and a stack of tortillas and dried peppers on the side.

This was the first dish that I ever made by myself. I made it when I was nine years old, without any supervision. I blended the ingredients in the metate by myself. I think about when I would sit and watch my mother cook. I left Mexico because I wanted to help my parents. My dad worked a lot. So one day, I just decided, I’m going. My mom cried so much when I was leaving. I told her that I was only going to leave for six months. Nobody wanted me to leave, but I had made my decision.–Rosa Martinez

Braised Pork in Red Chile Sauce

  • Quick Glance
  • (2)
  • 1 H
  • 2 H, 45 M
  • Serves 5 to 6
5/5 - 2 reviews
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Have ready a medium bowl filled with very hot water. In a cast-iron skillet or grill over medium-high heat, toast the chiles until nice and smoky, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Place the chiles in the bowl of hot water to rehydrate for 5 minutes. Drain the chiles.

Tester tip: Reserve the chile soaking water and use it in place of the water called for in steps 2 and 6.

In a blender, combine the rehydrated chiles with the garlic, cumin, and 1 cup water. Blitz until smooth, then pour the chile paste into a bowl.

Tester tip: There’s no need to clean the blender before using it later for the tomatoes.

On the cast-iron skillet or grill used for toasting the chiles, roast the tomatoes, rotating occasionally, until nice and charred in some places, 7 to 10 minutes. Toss the grilled tomatoes into the blender and blitz until smooth.

In a Dutch oven or high-sided sauté pan with a lid over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the pork, season with the salt, and cook, stirring often, until the meat is browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pork to a plate, leaving behind the fat in the pan.

Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chile paste. Add the pork and stir to coat.

Pour in the pureed tomatoes and 1 cup water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover, turn the heat to low, and braise the pork until tender, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.

Serve the pork in chile sauce with warm tortillas and black beans.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

This braised pork in ancho chile sauce was rich, delicious, and the complexity of the sauce makes it seem more complicated than it is. It’s really quite easy to put together.

I used 6 New Mexico chile peppers as I couldn't find the recommended pulla, negro, or guajillo chilies at my supermarket. I also used the ancho chile. We ate it with tortillas as recommended. There was lots of sauce that would be delicious with some rice to mix in!

I knew this dish was going to turn out amazing as soon it started its long simmer. My apartment filled with such a unique aroma immediately that I can only imagine how it would just get better over time.

The recipe requires just a handful of ingredients yet the end result is a complex mixture of spiciness, smokiness, and sweetness. The chiles used are obviously critical to the overall flavor, but the key steps of roasting both the chile and tomatoes further deepens the flavor of the sauce. I suggest roasting them as long as possible without burning them to maximize the flavor. While the recipe calls for pork, other proteins can easily be substituted depending on your mood or what you have on hand.


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  1. Thanks for this one!

    I’ve lived in SoCal for nearly 50 years. I’ve eaten and loved *tons* of Mexican food. I’ve cooked tons of Mexican food. But I’ve been too intimidated to cook with dried chiles until this recipe came along.

    We loved it. I found it easy and interesting to make. I’ll never buy enchilada sauce again!

    Because my husband and I are all about flavor and not so much about the heat in the future I’ll open the pods and carefully remove the ribs before proceeding. That way I can use lots more of the chiles.

    And I had a ton of sauce left over after we’d enjoyed the pork. I’m saving it to add interest to some leftover chicken in the fridge but I can imagine simmering all kinds of things in it. And I bet it will add flavor to soups and beans as well. Let there be posole!

    1. Thanks, Rainey! I’m so pleased that this was such a hit at your house. Can’t wait to hear what you make with the leftover sauce.

      1. 5 stars
        When I made this again last week I tripled the batch. I wanted to be sure we had enough for leftovers. I wanted to be sure I could send the kids home with some of their own leftovers.

        Happily, I still had some to turn into posole for our third go around for dinner tonight. Doing it is too easy. I added chicken stock and canned hominy. The pork is already falling-apart-tender. We’re having it over shredded cabbage and sliced radishes.

        This recipe is too good to be this easy and this versatile! If there were a Nobel Prize for cooking this would be my nomination. Hands down and even after 50+ years of cooking!

        1. Wow, Rainey! Definitely the comment of the day. Thank you so much. I always love hearing about your cooking adventures.

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