Sunday, December 14, 2008

Pork Stew Nuevo León Style / Asado de Puerco

Pork Stew Asado de Puerco Nuevo Leon

This is a very popular dish in many northern states of Mexico; it’s a favorite for special occasions like birthdays, weddings and family reunions.  There are many versions of this dish, but the main ingredients are almost always the same: pork, dried peppers, and spices. This stew is known as Asado de Puerco in the State of Nuevo Leon, and I’m sure there must be other names that I’m not familiar with, but there’s one thing I’m sure of, it tastes delicious, and even better the next day!

The fist time I tried this dish was at the house of one of my aunts; she cooked it for New Year’s and served with flour tortillas. After a while I was living in the South of Mexico, and I started to recreate the recipe as I remember the flavors and aroma of the stew. It wasn’t until I went to live to Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, when I found out what local cooks added to the recipe.  People from that region use a type of oregano that is found growing wild in the semi-arid soil of the area; this gives a very distinctive flavor to the stew. One of the ladies that used to help me at home told me that her mom always added a small piece of dried orange peel to the sauce. I’ve tried that as well, and it changes the flavor a lot.

This is not a spicy (hot) stew, the spices add flavor but aren’t too overpowering. You can add a little bit more, however, if that’s your preference. Since this recipe is a bit time consuming, making a double batch is a wise option; simply freeze the extra for another occasion and enjoy.
Asado de Puerco Pork Stew Nuevo Leon

Serves 6

·                2 pounds of boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1 ½ inch cubes
·                2 tbs. of cooking oil or lard
·                Water as needed

For the sauce:

·                4 ancho peppers
·                guajillo Peppers  
·                1/8 of an avocado pit (Optional)*
·                3 large garlic cloves
·                8 peppercorns
·                1 tsp. dried Mexican oregano
·                2 cloves
·                2 bay leaves
·                ½ tsp. cumin seeds
·                ½ inch of a cinnamon stick
·                ½ teaspoon dried thyme
·                Salt to season


·       If you don’t have the avocado seed, you can skip using it. I’ve found it gives a little thickness to the sauce besides a little bit of tart flavor.
·       This stew requires about 1 ½ hr. of cooking, so take your time when planning to make it.

Pork Stew Asado de Puerco Nuevo Leon

1.  In a heavy pot, cover the pork with water, and cook over medium/high heat until the meat is tender and water has evaporated. This will take about 45-50 minutes. If the meat is still not soft and tender, add more water and keep cooking. Once the meat is tender, add the oil or lard and keep cooking until the meat is just browned and tender.


2. While the pork is cooking, use your kitchen scissors to slice open the peppers. Remove the seeds, veins, and then slightly roast them for a few second on each side on a warm skillet, but do not allow them to burn. Cover with hot water and leave to soak for about 20 minutes. Drain thoroughly, reserving the water used.

Pork Stew Asado de Puerco Nuevo Leon

3. Put ¾ cups of soaking water into the blender, a few of the chilies, garlic, cumin, oregano, peppercorns, bay leaves, cloves, thyme, cinnamon and the little piece of avocado seed, and blend for at least 1 minute. Add a ½ cup of the soaking water and blend for a few more seconds to mix thoroughly. Add the rest of the chilies a little at a time and blend until smooth, adding more water as needed to mix thoroughly. If you have one of those modern blenders with higher capacity and more power, then you can process the salsa in just one step, pouring 2 cups of the soaking water in the blender with the peppers and spices and blending until you have a very smooth sauce.

4. Pass the sauce through a strainer and add to the pot with the meat. Cook over medium heat and stir frequently to prevent sticking. Add more water as needed, salt to taste, and keep stirring until the sauce thickens to the consistency of thick gravy. This will take about 15 minutes.

Pork Stew Asado de Puerco Nuevo Leon

Serve with rice and corn tortillas



Did you like the recipe? Please let me know in the comments section, do you have questions, or share the link with your friends. I hope you have an incredible time cooking!

Asado de puerco recipe
This recipe was originally published December 14th, 2008, it was my first post on this blog. Check the quality of the picture!
Thank you for visiting Mexico in my Kitchen. 


  1. MELY, vine a echarle un vistazo a tu blog, te esta quedando de maravilla! Quiero asado de cerdo estilo NL! con arroz y tortillas!

  2. Si verdad, con este frio se antoja.

    Haber cuando te animas a hacerlo y me avisas como te quedo.

    Un abrazo.

  3. Que sabrosa receta Mely,
    se me antoja mucho este guisado y eso del hueso de avocado para cocinar nunca lo habia visto, que cosa mas interesante!

    Un abrazo

  4. Hola Tlaz,

    Te recomiendo que que lo hagas, aun y cuando no le pongas las semilla del aguacate. Te va ha encantar es un platillo muy tipico del norte de Mexico que es cocinado para bodas, bautizos y eventos especiales. Queda muy rico. La semilla de aguacate lo hace que quede espeso.

  5. Hey Mely,
    Ayer hice la salsa y hoy se la agregare a la carne. Pero la salsa cruda sabe demasiado amarga (no le puse la semilla de aguacate). Crees que mejore al cocerse? Gracias. Muy buen blog.

    1. Hello Journalist,

      Por lo regular esa salsa no es amarga, solo que se te hayan pasado un poquito de tueste los chile. Eso si su sabor mejora al cocinarse. Sabe muy bien aun sin la semilla de aguacate, yo algunas veces no se la agrego.

      Espero te quede muy rico,


  6. I thank you so much for this site you have with all these wonderful recipes. My husband was born and raises in Michoacan opposed to me,I am from San Diego. I know how much my husband loves Mexican authentic food.that I am here all the time just watching what I can cook for him and impress him,and I have you to thank. This recipe was a hit with my husband and I can't stop eating either. I can't wait to try more and give them all a 110%. =)

    1. Thanks for your kind comment, so glad to hear you also enjoyed this dish.


  7. Hi I was wondering if you could tell me what the avocado seed is or looks like. Thank you

    1. Hello,

      The pit of the avocado is what I mention as the seed. It is right at the center on the second picture.
      Happy cooking.

  8. Made sauce double batch came out very bitter .could it be pepper s ?

    1. Hello, Old peppers and over roasting the peppers, meaning burning the peppers, renders a bitter taste.

  9. Tried your recipe tonight. It came out delicious!

  10. I've tried a different recipe in the past and it was just okay. It called for 8 ancho peppers and seems they were to be soaked over night. I remember a bitterness also. Definitely going to give this one a try. A young girl from Hoobs New Mexico introduced me to this dish 15 years ago. I'm still searching for that flavor!

  11. can i make this stew in my slow cooker,what would i have to do different

    1. Hello Elaine,
      I think you can, just prepare the salsa first and the add it to the meat. Check the liquid content from time to time in your slow cooker. Happy cooking!

  12. this is the dish i usually order when i go out for mexican food (unless i get pozole) and, with not too much effort, this came out tasting just like i was an old pro at making it. i actually made about 1/2 batch, just so i would be comfortable with it before making a huge batch, but next time i make it there will definitely be a bunch going in the deep freezer.


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