Costillas de puerco en salsa verde is a comforting Mexican dish made of tender and juicy pork ribs simmered in a delicious green tomatillo sauce. This meal is fulfilling, budget-friendly, and perfect for any day of the week.
About the recipe
The name comes from the type of meat used in the recipe and the sauce where those are simmered, that’s it, pork ribs in a green sauce which translates to Spanish into costillas de puerco en salsa verde.
This dish is widely appreciated in Mexico where is not only made regularly by many families but also served at small restaurants and local food markets.
There are two popular variations of this dish, one adding potatoes and the other is mixing in nopales (Mexican cactus), both of them are delicious and go perfect with this delicious stew.
Now, let me tell you a few reasons why you should make this recipe:
- It is comforting and delicious.
- Is authentic and traditional.
- Is naturally gluten-free.
- Is cheap and can feed a crowd.
- It is a prep meal and freezes wonderfully.
About the salsa verde
Without any doubt, the star of this recipe is the scrumptious and hearty green sauce. Let me break it for you:
- Is made with tomatillos, a type of green tomato native to Mexico. You can find it fresh at markets and Mexican food stores in some countries. Otherwise, the easiest option is to buy them canned, already cooked, at any Mexican online store or Amazon.
- The spices are simple, because you just need to notice a subtle aroma and taste of earthy spices such as pepper and cumin.
- To tone down the acidity from tomatillos, onions are a must. Don’t skip those!
- Cilantro adds a nice aroma and taste to the sauce, but since not everyone likes it, you can skip it.
- Green chiles are popular all over the world, making it easier for you to prepare this Mexican dish and still stay authentic. So add any type of green hot chilies you have locally available.
You can serve this dish for lunch or dinner, below I will leave you some options for sides and even drinks. So, let’s see how to make this authentic dish.
How To Make Costillas de Puerco en Salsa Verde
Place tomatillos and jalapeño chilies in a pot and cover with water. Place the pot over medium-high heat and boil until everything is soft. Allow to cool down.
Place cooked tomatillos and chilies in a blender, add cilantro, onion, cumin, and garlic. Add one cup of water and blend until you will have a smooth sauce. Set aside.
Place the meat in a deep pan and pour in water enough to slightly cover the meat. Add salt, 2 garlic cloves with the skin on, and a bay leaf.
Bring to a boil, cover, set heat to medium-low, and cook from 50 to 60 minutes or until ribs are tender but not falling from the bone.
Strain the cooking water and reserve 1 cup and a half.
Wipe the pan with paper towels to dry out the remaining moisture, add the oil, and heat over medium heat. Pour in the sauce and bring to a boil.
Return the ribs to the pan.
Next, add potatoes and the cooking water you reserved before. Season with salt and pepper, mix well, and bring to a simmer.
Cook over medium-low heat until potatoes are tender, the ribs are falling from the bone, and the sauce has thickened.
Adjust salt to taste, turn off the heat and serve your costillas de puerco en salsa verde as suggested below or store for eating later.
Serve these costillas en salsa verde with any of the following sides:
- Arroz blanco. Classic Mexican white rice with vegetables.
- Arroz rojo. Also know as Spanish rice, this classic side can’t go wrong with this recipe.
- Frijoles de la olla. Beans cooked in a pot, this is one of my favorite sides.
- Tortillas. I love blue corn tortillas or just regular tortillas too, warm and just off the griddle are just perfection.
- Drinks. Any agua fresca pairs nice with this stew and helps to refresh your mouth from the spiciness.
Store and Reheat Instructions
Costillas de puerco en salsa verde is the perfect prep meal, and it also freezes wonderfully. Let me tell you how to store it perfectly and have it ready to enjoy this authentic Mexican dish whenever you crave it:
- Allow the stew to cool down completely.
- Place it in a container or divide it into various containers, depending how much you have made. Better if containers have a tight lid to prevent the stew from leaking or absorbing other smells.
- Store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Or freeze for up to 3 months.
- Thaw overnight.
- Reheat your costillitas de puerco en salsa verde in a deep pan or pot over medium heat adding a splash of water.
Can I make it with store-bought salsa verde?
Of course! If you have a favorite brand for Mexican salsa verde, use it. This tweak will save you some time in the kitchen as well.
Is this recipe spicy
Yes, but the level of spiciness depends on you. Add as many chilies you want or can handle.
Is this recipe gluten-free?
Yes, costillas de puerco en salsa verde are 100% gluten-free.
Can I make tacos with this dish?
Absolutely. Remove the meat from the bones and shred it, return to the pot, stir, and use the mixture to make tacos topped with beans, and pickled onions. You won’t even need salsa because you have it already from the stew!
Can I make it with beef?
Yes, just take in mind that you will need more time to cook the meat, so adjust the water regularly until beef is cooked through.
Watch How To Make It
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Costillas de Puerco en Salsa Verde
- 2.2 lb pork ribs
- 1 lb potatoes (cut into half-inch cubes)
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 small garlic cloves (skin on)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper (to taste)
For salsa verde
- 10 oz tomatillos
- 4 jalapeno peppers (seeds and veins removed)
- 1 bunch cilantro
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- 1 small onion (cut into chunks)
- 1 garlic clove (peeled)
- Place tomatillos and jalapeño chilies in a pot and cover with water.
- Boil until everything is soft.
- Allow to cool down then place in a blender along with cilantro, onion, cumin seeds, garlic, and one cup of water.
- Blend until you’ll have a smooth sauce. Set aside.
- Place the meat in a deep pan and pour in water enough to slightly cover the meat. Add salt, garlic cloves, and the bay leaf.
- Bring to a boil, cover, and cook over medium-low from 50 to 60 minutes or until ribs are tender but not falling from the bone.
- Once ribs are done, strain the cooking water and reserve 1 cup and an half.
- Wipe the pan with paper towels, add the oil and heat over medium heat.
- Pour in the tomatillo sauce and bring to a boil.
- Return the ribs to the pan.
- Add potatoes and the cooking water yo reserved before.
- Season with salt and pepper, mix well and bring to a simmer.
- Cook over medium-low heat until potatoes are tender and the sauce has thickened.
- Adjust salt to taste, turn off the heat and serve.
Maricruz Avalos Flores is a Mexican cook and photographer living in Italy where she shares authentic Mexican & Italian recipes that can be easily made at home using easy-to-find ingredients.