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Javelina stew recipe, served in a stone bowl
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4.8 from 5 votes

Javelina Stew, Yucatan Style

While I like using javelina, an animal native to the Yucatan (as well as Arizona, Mew Mexico and Texas), pork, wild boar, turkey or even chicken also work. There are a few ingredients here that are easy to find where there are javelina, but might be tougher up north: plantains, chipotles in adobo, fresh rendered lard and recado rojo, or achiote paste. All are easily found in Latin markets, and many regular supermarkets have plantains, too. As for the achiote paste, it's pretty necessary for the dish, and if you can't find it in a market, you can buy it online. A tip on the onion and bell peppers for the sofrito: Pulse them in a food processor to really chop them small. You can then use the processor bowl to puree the charred tomatoes without an extra clean-up step. 
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 20 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: chiles, javelina, pork, stews
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 533kcal
Author: Hank Shaw


  • 4 to 6 heads of garlic (yes, whole heads)
  • 4 Roma or other paste tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
  • Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh rendered lard or 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 to 3 chipotles in adobo, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons achiote paste
  • 2 to 3 pounds javelina, pork or turkey meat, cut into about 2-inch pieces
  • 1 quart broth (chicken, pork, vegetable)
  • 1 baking potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 or 2 chayote squash, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 yellow plantain, peeled and cut into chunks
  • Salt to taste
  • Cilantro for garnish


  • Char the tomatoes. Set the halved tomatoes on a baking sheet and broil them until the tops are blackened. Keep an eye on them, but this should take about 8 to 10 minutes. Puree the tomatoes, char and all, in a blender or food processor and set aside.
  • Roast the garlic. Switch the oven to 375°F. It should preheat quickly, as it will already be warm from broiling. Slice the tops of the garlic heads off and set them in a nest of aluminum foil. Drizzle some olive oil over them, seal the foil and roast until aromatic and soft, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Make the sofrito. Meanwhile, heat the lard or oil in a soup pot and cook the onion and both bell peppers gently until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the 4 chopped garlic cloves and cook another minute or two.
  • Add the meat. Add the cumin, chipotles, achiote paste and the pureed tomatoes and mix well. Add the chunks of javelina or pork. Mix and pour in the broth.
  • Simmer. Add about 3 more cups of water and the diced potato. Add salt to taste. Simmer gently for 1 hour.
  • Add the roasted garlic. While the stew is simmering, the roasted garlic will be ready. Squeeze it out of the husks and mash and chop it into a paste. Add it all to the simmering stew.
  • Finish. After 1 hour or so, add the remaining vegetables and keep cooking until the meat is tender, probably another hour. Taste for salt and garnish with cilantro.


As I mentioned above, of all the stews I've made over the years, this one improves the best with age. It's better on day two than day one, and even better a couple days later. It should keep for a week or so in the fridge.


Calories: 533kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 59g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 185mg | Sodium: 303mg | Potassium: 1587mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 7707IU | Vitamin C: 51mg | Calcium: 82mg | Iron: 5mg