Calabacitas con puerco, is a traditional comfort dish perfect to serve for any weekday meal with warm tortillas or dinner rolls. A scrumptious stew made with Mexican squash and pork ribs simmered in a simple tomato sauce.
What is calabacitas con puerco?
Pork with zucchini, or calabacitas con puerco, is a typical Mexican dish prepared with vegetables such as Mexican squash (calabacitas), tomatoes, poblano peppers and corn, in addition to pork chunks.
This dish is undoubtedly a favorite in Mexico, and everyone loves it. It is also very easy to prepare and with ingredients that can be easily found almost anywhere in the world. Keep reading because I am telling you how to sub some of the ingredients and still enjoy a delicious and traditional Mexican dish.
Mexican Squash Substitutions
For this recipe you’ll need calabacitas, which are a type of summer squash native to Mexico. If you can’t find this type of squash where you live, you can use Italian zucchini instead or any other type of summer squash such as round zucchini, yellow squash, tromboncino, crookneck, etc.
About the peppers
Traditional calabacitas con puerco is made using poblano peppers, but as you can guess, they’re not so easy to find outside Mexico. So, my suggestion is to use any green sweet pepper you can find where you live. Some options are green bell peppers, Italian peppers (friggitelli, like the ones I show in the video), Anaheim, etc.
Related article: Cooking 101: Sweet Pepper Guide.
Step by step recipe + VIDEO
Place pork meat in a pot and cover with water. Add salt and the bay leaf, cover and cook until meat will become very tender (add more water if necessary).
While the meat is cooking, roast green peppers (poblano, bell peppers, or any other kind you want to add). Once roasted, place peppers in a bag, and then wrap them with a kitchen towel. Allow peppers to rest while preparing the other ingredients.
If using corn in the cob, with a sharp knife, remove the kernels. Cut from the base downward with a gentle sawing motion. Set aside.
Dice Mexican squash (or zucchini) and set aside. You can also cut it into half moons.
Make the sauce: Place tomatoes, onions and garlic in a blender. Add 1 cup of water and blend until you’ll have a smooth sauce. Set aside.
Peel peppers, then cut them longwise, discard the stem, veins, and seeds. Cut them into strips and set aside.
Now is time to make calabacitas con carne de puerco, so, heat 1 tablespoon of lard or olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add pork and fry, stirring constantly until meat browns lightly. Add corn and sauté for one minute.
Now, pour in the tomato sauce and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 2 minutes then add calabacitas (zucchini). Mix well and allow to cook for 5 minutes.
Add the strips of roasted pepper, mix and allow to gently simmer until the sauce is reduced and Mexican squash is fully cooked.
How To Serve
Calabacitas con carne de puerco can be served with arroz blanco (Mexican white rice) or arroz rojo (red rice), refried beans or frijoles de la olla. Corn tortillas or flour tortillas, but also bolillo (Mexican rolls) are all good accompaniments.
How To Store
- Either you want to make ahead this recipe or you end with some leftovers, place them into an air-tight container and store in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- You can also double the recipe and divide it in single portions, then freeze them for up to 3 months. This is a wonderful meal prep that saves you lots of time in the kitchen.
- To reheat, place the stew on a pot and add a splash of water or stock. Heat at medium-low on the stove for 3-4 minutes.
- If you freeze it, just thaw it overnight in the fridge (or in the kitchen counter) and reheat as suggested.
Watch How To Make It
Mexican Squash With Pork (calabacitas con puerco)
- 1 ½ lb pork ribs (cut into small pieces)
- 1 garlic clove (skin on)
- 1 bay leaf
For the stew
- 3 cups Mexican squash (diced)
- 2 large tomatoes (cut into quarters)
- 1 small white onion (cut into quarters)
- 1 ¼ cup corn kernels
- 1 large poblano pepper (or 1 large green bell pepper)
- 1 garlic clove (minced)
- ¼ tsp ground cumin
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or any oil you prefer )
- salt and pepper
- Place pork meat in a pot and cover with water.
- Add salt and the bay leaf, cover and cook until meat will become very tender, adding more water if necessary.
- While the meat is cooking, roast poblano peppers. Place them in a bag, and wrap them with a kitchen towel. Allow peppers to rest for 10 minutes.
- Peel peppers, then cut them longwise, discard the stem, veins, and seeds. Cut them into strips and set aside.
- Place tomatoes, onions and garlic in a blender. Add 1 cup of water and blend until you’ll have a smooth sauce. Set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add pork and fry, stirring constantly until meat browns lightly.
- Add corn and sauté for one minute.
- Pour in the tomato sauce and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 2 minutes.
- Add Mexican squash and 1 cup of cooking water, mix well and allow to cook for 5 minutes.
- Add roasted pepper, mix and allow to gently simmer until the sauce is reduced and Mexican squash is cooked through.