Peruvian Adobo Pulled Pork with Polenta
May 10, 2017
By Elizabeth Palmer Califano

Peruvian cuisine incorporates a variety of influences from Europe as well as the indigenous Inca population. One of the staples, corn, serves as a hearty gluten-free grain accompaniment in this recipe, perfect for soaking up all the delicious cooking liquid from the pork. Polenta has a low glycemic index, and is rich in vitamins A and C. Braising a pork shoulder slowly turns a cheap cut of meat into something worthy of company, and allows all the flavors from the chipotle peppers and adobo sauce to really permeate the meat. Pork provides ample amounts of protein, and also offers iron and potassium, while being leaner than red meat. This dish holds well overnight, so feel free to make it in advance. The pulled pork is also a great freezer meal option.

Serves: 6 with leftovers

Total Time: 4 hours (active time: 30 minutes)


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3-pound boneless pork shoulder or pork butt
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons adobo sauce
  • 1- 24 oz. can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ – ½ cup water
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar (optional)
  • Fresh chopped cilantro, to serve


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the pork, and season the top side with salt and pepper. Sear for 5-6 minutes until golden brown. Flip to the other side, and season again with salt and pepper.
  2. Add the onions, garlic, and ground cumin, and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Deglaze with the apple cider vinegar. Add the chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, chopped tomatoes, bay leaves, and water. Stir well to combine. Cover and put in the oven.
  3. Allow to cook for 1 hour, then flip the pork over and stir the liquid. If the liquid seems low (less that ½ way up the pork) add more water or vegetable stock as needed. Cook the pork for another hour, and flip it again. Cook the pork for a final 30 minutes to 1 hour, until it’s completely falling apart and shreds easily when pressed.
  4. Shred the pork using two forks and mix it into the sauce. Season to taste with a splash of apple cider vinegar and salt and pepper as needed.
  5. To cook the polenta, bring 3 cups of vegetable stock up to a boil in a large pan. Whisk in the polenta, and stir constantly for 5 minutes. It will soak up all the stock. Add the shredded cheddar, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  6. Serve the pulled pork alongside the polenta, garnished with the chopped fresh cilantro. Enjoy!

About the Author

Elizabeth Palmer Califano
Elizabeth is a graduate of Hamilton College and The French Culinary Institute, as well as an avid world traveler and dinner party hostess. For more information, visit her website: