Pork Stew Stacked in Corn Tortillas

6 servings


1 hour

total time


3 pounds pork loin (fat on, cut into 3/4” cubes)

2 bay leaves

2 peeled garlic cloves

10 whole allspice

1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt

4 ancho chiles (stemmed and seeded)

4 guajillo chiles (stemmed and seeded)

1 pound ripe Roma tomatoes

2 unpeeled garlic cloves

1 thick slice of a white onion (about 2 ounces)

1 jalapeño or serrano chile

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt (or to taste)

Rind of an orange

Corn tortillas

Frijoles con Veneno (to taste)


To make the asado de puerco:

Place the meat in a large, heavy casserole. In a piece of cheesecloth, wrap the bay leaves, 2 peeled garlic cloves, and the whole allspice. Tie with a piece of kitchen twine and place over the pork. Cover the pork with water and add 1 teaspoon salt. Give it a stir. Set over high heat and let it come to a boil. Remove any foam that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat to medium high and continue cooking until water has completely cooked off, about 45 minutes.

To make the chile sauce:

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. On a preheated comal or medium skillet set over medium heat, toast the ancho and guajillo chiles for about a minute per side. Until they toast, change color and begin to fume, but don't let them burn. Transfer them to a small saucepan and cover them generously with water. Place over medium-high heat and let cook for about 10 minutes, until they plump up and rehydrate. Turn off the heat and set aside.

On the same comal, place the tomatoes, 2 unpeeled garlic cloves, onion and jalapeño. Let them cook for about 8 to 10 minutes, and flip every 2 to 3 minutes as they char (alternatively you roast or char them under the broiler or on a grill for a similar amount of time). Once the skin is completely charred, and the tomatoes are very mushy and the onion and jalapeño are very soft, transfer them all to the jar of a blender, making sure to remove the skin of the charred garlic cloves. Add the rehydrated ancho and guajillo chiles along with 1 cup of their simmering liquid, an additional cup of water, the oregano, cumin seeds, and 1 teaspoon salt. Purée until completely smooth.

Once the water has completely cooked off from the pork, remove the cheesecloth packet and let the meat cook in its own fat for about 3 to 4 minutes, until it has browned on all sides. You may add a bit of lard or oil if the pork didn't have much fat to begin with.

Reduce the heat to medium low and add the chile sauce. Stir well and incorporate the orange rind. Let it cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and seasoned and the pork is completely tender. The stew should be very saucy.

To make the empalmes:

For crunchy empalmes - In a skillet or comal preheated over medium heat, place a couple of corn tortillas and spread a tablespoon of Frijoles con Veneno on each tortilla. Top them generously with asado de puerco and cover with another corn tortilla on top. Let the tortillas gently brown on the bottom for about a minute or two. Gently flip and let them brown on the other side for a minute or two. You have a single-stack empalme. If you want a double-stack empalme, add one tortilla, frijoles, asado, another tortilla, frijoles, asado, and another tortilla on top.

For a soft empalme platter - Serve a hot corn tortilla on a plate, spread Frijoles con Veneno onto the tortilla, and add a generous amount of asado de puerco on top. Then add 3 to 4 more warm corn tortillas on top of the asado.

6 servings


1 hour

total time
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