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The confident cook

Recipe: Pork is the centerpiece in this slow-cooked, stewy Mexican tinga

Pork tingaKaroline Boehm Goodnick for The Boston Globe

One of Mexican cuisine’s most versatile dishes, tinga is a slow-cooked, stewy braise that often features chicken, but can also be made with pork. Simmer the meat for several hours in a spicy tomato-based sauce, then serve it as a stew, use it as a taco filling, or spread it on tostadas. There really isn’t a wrong way to eat tinga.

This adaptation calls for cubed pork shoulder, which is browned first and then added to sauteed onions, poblano peppers, a hot chile pepper, and toasted cloves, smoked paprika, cumin, and chile powder. (The smoked paprika takes the place of canned chipotle peppers; if you have some on hand, add one instead of the paprika.) If you don’t like hot food, choose a mild chile pepper or omit it. The pinch of ground cloves in the pot suggests chorizo, without adding the sausage itself. Stir in a can of whole tomatoes and send the pot to the oven for two hours, then add chopped golden potatoes, and cook for another hour. Serve the hearty bowls garnished with sliced radishes, avocados, or shredded cabbage.


Pork tinga

Serves 4

1 tablespoon canola oil

2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1½-inch cubes

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 onion, chopped

2 poblanos, cored, seeded, and chopped

1 small jalapeno or other chile pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon chile powder

1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes

4 Yukon Gold or other golden potatoes, cut into 1-inch dice

⅓cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. In a large, heavy-bottom casserole, heat oil over high heat. Season pork with salt and pepper. Add pork to pan and brown for 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally. With a slotted spoon, transfer pork to a plate.


2. Add onion, poblano peppers, jalapeno or chile pepper, and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes, or until onions begin to soften.

3. Stir in cloves, smoked paprika, cumin, and chile powder. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

4. Add tomatoes, breaking them up a bit with a spoon. Return the pork to the pan and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pan, and simmer for 2 hours.

5. Add potatoes and simmer 1 hour more. (Total cooking time is 3 hours.) Taste for seasoning and add more salt, if you like.

6. Ladle into bowls. Garnish with cilantro.

Karoline Boehm Goodnick

Karoline Boehm Goodnick can be reached at