This hearty New Mexico dish is a traditional favorite, served on its own, stuffed inside enchiladas or sopaipillas, or wrapped up in a burrito. It’s a classic dish that originated more than a century ago as a way for pork to be preserved. This recipe comes from Atrisco Cafe & Bar, in Santa Fe. Atrisco owner George Gundrey’s family history spans more than 75 years in the New Mexico restaurant business: His grandmother operated the now-shuttered Central Café in Albuquerque’s Atrisco neighborhood; his aunt and uncle opened Tia Sophia’s in Santa Fe; and his mother ran Tomasita’s, with the help of famed chef Tomasita Leyba, for decades before Gundrey took over. The family’s Albuquerque roots helped inspire Atrisco Cafe, which opened in 2009 and quickly became a locals’ favorite.

Olive oil

2 pounds pork butt, cut into 1-inch cubes

20 ounces New Mexico red chile sauce (made with dried pods or red chile powder, or with frozen Bueno brand red chile puree)

1 tablespoon oregano

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon granulated garlic

1 tablespoon salt

Serves 4 to 6

  1. Heat oil in a frying pan and sear pork, turning constantly. Cook until some pieces are seared brown.
  2. Mix all other ingredients separately, adding water if necessary, so that mix is a little thicker than pasta sauce.
  3. Combine seasoned chile mixture with seared pork cubes. Bake in oven at 350° until pork is nearly falling apart. Add more salt to taste if necessary.


“New Mexico cuisine has come basically from the Native Americans, who first domesticated the essential plants. They are simple combinations of chile, beans, corn, squash, and meat. Years ago the meat was wild game, especially rabbit and deer. Chickens, sheep, and cattle came from Europe later … What we eat today is a woven blend of many cultures, prepared with pride. They are a symbol of the past and the present, and provide a link in the chain of our Southwest heritage.” 

Adela Amador, from her introduction to Southwest Flavor: Adela Amador’s Tales from the Kitchen—Recipes and Stories from New Mexico Magazine (2000)

In this landmark cookbook from America's oldest state magazine, fifty recipes showcase classics from the archives and groundbreaking creations of contemporary chefs. Purchase the New Mexico Magazine Centennial Cookbook today!