Chile-Marinated Pork Tacos

Last year, Eric and I went to New Mexico for a long weekend. This was at the end of summer, when the roadsides are lined with vendors selling long ristras of dried, red hatch chiles. At some point I’ll write about the awesomeness of New Mexico itself, but for now I’ll just tell you that New Mexico is famous for the hatch chile, so of course I had to have some. It was my only souvenir, which I ate long, long ago.
Pork Tacos

Fortunately, I was able to find dried, red chiles in my local grocery store, so now I can have them whenever I want.
New Mexico Dried Chiles

I had been using these chiles to make a gazillion different sauces, but this night I used the sauce as a marinade for some local, organically-raised ground pork. We have a great Mexican grocer about 4 blocks from my apartment where I can always pick up fresh, ripe avocados and a plethora of Mexican cheeses. If you don’t have the luxury of a local Mexican grocer, any other light, fresh cheese would taste nice also.

Chile-Marinated Pork

1 lb ground pork
6 dried, red New Mexico chiles
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp Mexican oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1 fresh jalapeno
salt and pepper

Boil the chiles in water until re-hydrated, about 5-10 minutes. When hydrated, de-seed them and place in a food processor with all the spices, the de-ribbed and de-seeded jalapeno, and some of the leftover water. Process to a fine puree. Combine the puree with the ground pork and let it marinate in the fridge for at least an hour – longer is better.


2 ripe avocados
1 head garlic
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
big bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped (or finely, if you prefer)
juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper

Roast the head of garlic. You can do this the regular way, or try pan-frying it like I did this time.
Roasted Garlic

This seemed to go faster than the traditional oven route, and it was easier to get the garlic out of the wrapper. From here, just mash all the ingredients together. If you make this ahead of time – which is great because it lets the flavors meld – be sure to place a layer of plastic wrap right on top of the guac to prevent it from browning.


Cotija cheese, to taste
guacamole, to taste
corn tortillas
chile-marinated pork
chopped spinach (I need to sneak my greens in somewhere!)

Cook the pork in a pan. This can be tricky since the chiles dye the pork bright red; thus, it is hard to tell when the pork is done. I basically added a cup of leftover chile water and simmered it until the water was gone. If you have a gas stove, turn on one of the flames and place the tortillas, one by one, over the flame. Fire each side for a few seconds, turning them using tongs. To assemble, layer the pork, guac, cotija cheese, and spinach on top of the corn tortilla.

Pork Tacos

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