These 4 Mexican Braises Will Jump-Start Your Fall


Welcome fall with a flavorful Mexican braised meat. [Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Let's take a quick test. I'll fill in my answers here, and you can answer for yourself as you read:

Q: Do you crave Mexican food?

A: Is there something wrong with me if I say ALWAYS?

Q: Do you crave braised dishes?

A: Have you noticed how cold it's getting outside? I'm not exactly craving sno-cones right now. (I wouldn't turn one down though...)

If you answered as I did, then you passed the test. Your reward? These four Mexican and New Mexican braised meat dishes from Kenji that I pulled from the Serious Eats archives. Here's a quick rundown on each one.

The Beefiest Barbacoa


To make this extra-beefy barbacoa, Kenji reaches for both beef chuck and also oxtails, and then layers in even more flavor with multiple chilies and a splash of fish sauce.

Killer Carnitas


Traditional carnitas are made by slowly cooking pork in a pool of lard. That's not practical for most home cooks, so Kenji devised a method of cooking pork shoulder in a small casserole dish—as the fat renders from the meat, it surrounds the pork in such a small vessel. After a quick trip under the broiler, it's ready for tacos!

Chile Verde Virtuosity

Chile Verde

Purists may cry foul, but this New Mexican-style chile verde isn't made with Hatch chilies. Instead, Kenji opted for more widely available peppers like poblanos and jalapeños. As for the pork, it's tender and delicious.

Carne Adovada Awesomeness

Carne Adovada (New Mexico-style Pork with Red Chilies)

Once again looking to New Mexico, this carne adovada recipe is made with pork shoulder (noticing a correlation here between delicious braises and pork shoulder?), and a handful of surprise characters, like raisins, orange juice from concentrate, and fish sauce.