Pork in Veracruz Sauce (Puntas a la Veracruzana) | Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street

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A tangy sauce of tomatoes, capers and onions punches up pork fajitas
Milk Street Bowtie Pork in Veracruz Sauce (Puntas a la Veracruzana)

Pork in Veracruz Sauce (Puntas a la Veracruzana)

Appears in March-April 2021

50 minutes

Pork in Veracruz Sauce (Puntas a la Veracruzana)

Free

Adriana Luna, who runs La Cocina de mi Mamá in Mexico City, showed us how to make puntas a la Veracruzana, a dish of sliced pork in garlicky tomato sauce that, to us, tasted both new and familiar. The term “puntas,” which translates from the Spanish as “tips,” refers to small pieces of meat; “a la Veracruzana” means in the style of Veracruz—that is, prepared with tomato, garlic, olives and capers. The sauce reflects the culinary influence of the Spanish, who arrived in 1519 in what is now the coastal state of Veracruz, on Mexican cuisine. Whereas “a la Veracruzana” typically is applied to fish, Luna used thin slices of pork loin to a delicious result—the mild, lean meat finds a perfect partner in the punchy, tangy-sweet sauce. We adapted her recipe, making it a simpler one-pan affair, but in the spirit of her dish, we use chopped fresh tomatoes, a healthy amount of garlic and finish the puntas with a good dose of parsley. Serve with charred tortillas or with rice and beans, and, if you like, offer pickled jalapeños on the side.

4

Servings

Tip

Don’t slice the pork thicker than ¼ inch or the pieces will be quite chewy when cooked. If you like, for easier slicing, freeze the chops until partially frozen so the knife blade glides through the meat. Also, when cooking the tomato sauce, simmer it down to a very thick consistency, as the accumulated juices from the pork will thin it out.

50 minutes

1 pound boneless pork loin chops (about 1 inch thick), sliced no thicker than ¼ inch on the diagonal
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
3 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil
12 medium garlic cloves, peeled and chopped (about ¼ cup)
½ medium white onion, finely chopped
1½ pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and chopped
3 bay leaves
2 jalapeño chilies, stemmed, seeded and chopped
⅓ cup pimento-stuffed green olives, chopped
2 tablespoons drained capers
1 cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Ingredients
  • 1

    pound boneless pork loin chops (about 1 inch thick), sliced no thicker than ¼ inch on the diagonal

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 3

    tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil

  • 12

    medium garlic cloves, peeled and chopped (about ¼ cup)

  • ½

    medium white onion, finely chopped

  • pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and chopped

  • 3

    bay leaves

  • 2

    jalapeño chilies, stemmed, seeded and chopped

  • cup pimento-stuffed green olives, chopped

  • 2

    tablespoons drained capers

  • 1

    cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Directions
  1. 01
    Toss the pork with salt and pepper. In a 12-inch skillet over high, heat the oil until barely smoking. Add the pork in an even layer and cook without stirring until well browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the pork to a plate and set aside.
  2. 02
    To the fat remaining in the skillet, add the garlic and stir off heat. Set the pan over medium and cook, stirring often, until the garlic is lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes; adjust the heat as needed if the garlic sizzles too vigorously. Add the onion, ¼ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper, then cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, bay and jalapeños. Increase to medium-high and bring to a boil, then cover, reduce to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are fully softened, about 8 minutes.
  3. 03
    Uncover, increase to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the moisture has evaporated and the sauce is thick, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the olives and the pork with accumulated juices. Cook, stirring often, until the pork is no longer pink at the center, 1 to 3 minutes.
  4. 04
    Off heat, remove and discard the bay, then stir in the capers and parsley. Taste and season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a serving dish.
Tip: Don’t slice the pork thicker than ¼ inch or the pieces will be quite chewy when cooked. If you like, for easier slicing, freeze the chops until partially frozen so the knife blade glides through the meat. Also, when cooking the tomato sauce, simmer it down to a very thick consistency, as the accumulated juices from the pork will thin it out.
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Pork in Veracruz Sauce (Puntas a la Veracruzana)

Get Ready to Cook

4

Servings

50 minutes

Tip

Don’t slice the pork thicker than ¼ inch or the pieces will be quite chewy when cooked. If you like, for easier slicing, freeze the chops until partially frozen so the knife blade glides through the meat. Also, when cooking the tomato sauce, simmer it down to a very thick consistency, as the accumulated juices from the pork will thin it out.

Ingredients
  • 1

    pound boneless pork loin chops (about 1 inch thick), sliced no thicker than ¼ inch on the diagonal

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 3

    tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil

  • 12

    medium garlic cloves, peeled and chopped (about ¼ cup)

  • ½

    medium white onion, finely chopped

  • pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and chopped

  • 3

    bay leaves

  • 2

    jalapeño chilies, stemmed, seeded and chopped

  • cup pimento-stuffed green olives, chopped

  • 2

    tablespoons drained capers

  • 1

    cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Step 1 of 4

Cook Pork

1
pound boneless pork loin chops (about 1 inch thick), sliced no thicker than ¼ inch on the diagonal
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
3
tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil

Toss the pork with salt and pepper. In a 12-inch skillet over high, heat the oil until barely smoking. Add the pork in an even layer and cook without stirring until well browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the pork to a plate and set aside.

Step 2 of 4

Combine Ingredients In Skillet

12
medium garlic cloves, peeled and chopped (about ¼ cup)
½
medium white onion, finely chopped
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and chopped
3
bay leaves
2
jalapeño chilies, stemmed, seeded and chopped

To the fat remaining in the skillet, add the garlic and stir off heat. Set the pan over medium and cook, stirring often, until the garlic is lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes; adjust the heat as needed if the garlic sizzles too vigorously.


Add the onion, ¼ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper, then cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, 5 to 6 minutes.


Stir in the tomatoes, bay and jalapeños. Increase to medium-high and bring to a boil, then cover, reduce to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are fully softened, about 8 minutes.

Step 3 of 4

Add Olives

cup pimento-stuffed green olives, chopped

Uncover, increase to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the moisture has evaporated and the sauce is thick, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the olives and the pork with accumulated juices. Cook, stirring often, until the pork is no longer pink at the center, 1 to 3 minutes.

Step 4 of 4

Taste, Season and Serve

2
tablespoons drained capers
1
cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Off heat, remove and discard the bay, then stir in the capers and parsley. Taste and season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a serving dish.

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