Southwestern Pork Stir Fry

A quick and easy stir fry dish with spicy pork and a variety of vegetables


“MMMMM, this is good!” is the common response to this meal.  It’s a response like this that ensures that I make again and again. 🙂  This Southwestern Pork Stir Fry can’t be any easier to make.  One can literally be ready to start eating in 30 minutes, making it a perfect weekday meal.  It’s got everything – protein, several vegetables, spice, and lots and lots of flavor.  For a really hearty meal, you can serve it with a carbohydrate of your choice.  I’ve served it with tortillas (flour or corn), cornbread, rice, and our favorite – creamy polenta (recipe below).

The following recipe serves two with a nice serving leftover for lunch the next day. To serve 4 to 5, just double the recipe and use a bigger skillet.  The cook times should remain pretty much the same. It’s that easy!

A quick and easy stir fry dish with spicy pork and a variety of vegetables #pork #hatchchile #chile @mjskitchen



Southwestern Pork Stir Fry Recipe

Serves: 2 to 3 servings depending on the side
Prep and Cook time: 30 minutes

Recipe Author: MJ of MJ’s Kitchen


1 pound pork loin or lean pork, cut into ½” cubes
½ tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. red chile powder (your favorite)
¼ tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. olive oil
½ large bell pepper (any color), chopped
1 cup corn (frozen, fresh or canned)* or ½ pound summer squash, cut into ½” cubes.
½ medium onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
½ cup chopped roasted, green chile (or roasted, chopped poblano)
¼ cup coarsely chopped green olives
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 Tbsp. cilantro or parsley, chopped
Juice from ½ lime

*If using canned corn, add at the end, after the pork


Use a skillet large enough to spread all of the ingredients out in one layer.

  1. Combine the cumin, red chile powder, oregano, salt, and garlic powder in bowl. Whisk to mix the spices together.  Add the pork and coat all of the pieces with the spice mix. Set aside or in the refrigerator until ready to cook.  (This step could also be done the night before or in the morning before you leave for work.)
  2. Chop and prepare all of your vegetables.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the bell pepper, corn, onion, and garlic. Saute’ for 3 minutes.
  4. Turn the heat to medium high. Add the pork and spread it out across the pan. Cook for 3 minutes, flip the pieces over and cook for 2 more minutes or until pork is just undercooked. (See Kitchen Notes)
  5. Add the green chile, olives, tomato, and fresh herb.  Cook for another 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  6. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice.
  7. Serve with your choice of side.

Suggested sides: Polenta, rice, cornbread, or flour tortilla



Kitchen Notes

The Pork – From having tried a couple of different cuts of pork, I would highly recommended pork loin or tenderloin.  The cooking time for the pork is quite short so you want a very lean and tender cut.

The Cooking Time for the Pork – Cook the pork for as short a period of time as possible, so it will be tender and juicy, not dry and tough.  Therefore, have the cooking heat medium high, you should only need to cook it for only 5 minutes (turning once) before adding the remaining ingredients.  If you want to check it, then after 5 minutes, pick out the thickest piece of pork in the skillet and test it.  It should be a little undercooked in the middle.  If so, then add the rest of the ingredients, cook for 1 more minute and remove from the heat. The pork will continue to cook as long as it’s in the hot skillet.  If the meat is already cooked through, remove from the heat, add the remaining ingredients and toss for 1 minute to extract some of the liquid from the tomatoes.

The Vegetables – This dish can be made with a variety of vegetables.  I usually use corn or yellow squash, mainly for the color. However, broccoli, zucchini, sweet potato, butternut or other vegetables can be used.  Just adjust the initial cook time (the time before you add the pork) accordingly for the vegetables you are using.  Some vegetables will take longer to cook than others.

The Green Chile – Any roasted pepper can be use here – New Mexico green or red, poblano, or even a roasted sweet red pepper.  The addition of the roasted pepper is more for the “roasted” flavor than the “heat” from the chile.

Doubling the Recipe – If you want to double the recipe, then just double each of the ingredients.  The only ingredients you might need to adjust to taste are the chiles (chile powder and green chile).  Test the heat factors before increasing.  You’ll also need to use a bigger skillet, one in which you can spread the ingredients out in 1 to 2 layers at the most.  If you have a big enough skillet, you should be able to leave the cook times the same.  You if don’t have a big enough skillet to spread all of the ingredients out, then you should increase the cook times by a bit and stir more often to ensure everything gets cooked evenly.

Creamy Polenta

A quick and easy pork stir fry with vegetables and lots of spice


Creamy Polenta Recipe

Serves 4
Prep and Cook Time: less than 30 minutes


3 cups water*
¼ tsp. salt
¾  cup coarsely ground cornmeal* (polenta style cornmeal)
¼ cup feta, crumbled (optional)


  1. In a medium size sauce pan, bring the water with the salt to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to low and SLOWLY whisk in cornmeal. Cover.
  3. For the first 5 minutes, stir at least once for during each minute to ensure it doesn’t clump or stick to the bottom of the pot.
  4. Continue cooking on low, covered, stirring frequently until polenta becomes thick, approximately 15 minutes.
  5. Add the feta.  Stir to combine.
  6. Remove from the heat and cover until ready to serve. Stir again before serving.

*Kitchen Notes

Ratio of water to polenta – You can increase or decrease the quantity of this dish by using the ratio of 1 cup water to 1/4 cup coarse cornmeal.

Polenta – Use a coarse ground cornmeal instead of a fine ground or corn flour.  Some products are even called “polenta-style” cornmeal.  You can buy a ready-made polenta, but I prefer to make my own because it’s so easy.

Leftover – If you have leftover polenta, pour it into a pan or glass, refrigerate and let set overnight.  Remove, slice and fry over medium-high heat in a non-stick pan with a touch of butter or oil.


This creamy polenta can be served with a variety of dishes:

Braised Red Chile Chicken and Vegetables

Sauteed Mushrooms with Onion and Spice

Grilled Flank Steak

Braised Italian Sausage with Vegetables

Southwestern Pork Stir Fry



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63 Responses to “Southwestern Pork Stir Fry”

  1. Sherri @The Well Floured Kitchen October 22, 2013 at 10:44 pm #

    It’s funny, I only ever think to make polenta with Italian dishes. Thanks for helping me think outside the box. Looks delish!!

    • mj October 24, 2013 at 8:14 am #

      Thanks Sherri! I’m such a polenta lover that sometimes I serve it as the main dish. 🙂

  2. Terra October 20, 2013 at 9:37 pm #

    Ummmmm……Yum! Sorry, that was me drooling for a moment! Love the idea of a sausage dish with creamy polenta, a perfect combo! It looks so delicious, Hugs, Terra

    • Terra October 20, 2013 at 9:39 pm #

      I said sausage, but meant to say pork LOL:-)

  3. Yi @ Yi Reservation October 20, 2013 at 6:57 pm #

    I thought I knew a thing or two about stir-fry until I saw this recipe! What a brilliant idea to use Southern spices in a stir-fry dish! This is definitely going to my to-make list. Thank for sharing!

  4. Abbe @ Abbe's Cooking Antics October 20, 2013 at 2:23 pm #

    This looks absolutely delicious, MJ – I love the vibrant colours! I quite like pork but I’m not very inventive with it. I’ll genuinely have to try this recipe – I’m sure my hubby would love it 🙂

  5. Zsuzsa October 20, 2013 at 9:06 am #

    Lovely! Peach Lady I am really excited to try your creamy polenta recipe. I love feta. 🙂

  6. Bill October 16, 2013 at 4:54 am #

    Wow! This stirfry looks amazing! You inspire me to use more southwestern flavors and what better way to use than in a dish like this! Polenta is the perfect accompaniment! Great post, MJ!

    • mj October 16, 2013 at 7:56 am #

      Thanks Bill! I’m so glad that I can inspired you with the flavors of the southwest. They are quite different than the flavors where you are, but I do believe you’d love them.

  7. Nancy/SpicieFoodie October 15, 2013 at 10:00 am #

    I know I would agree with Bobby, this looks fantastic! You have so much flavour packed into the dish, MJ. Thanks for sharing and making my mouth water.:)

    • mj October 16, 2013 at 7:48 am #

      You are most welcome Nancy! Any time! 🙂 Thanks!

  8. Swathi October 15, 2013 at 8:15 am #

    Delicious Stir fry MJ I love it.

    • mj October 16, 2013 at 7:47 am #

      Thanks Swathi!

  9. easyfoodsmith October 15, 2013 at 1:33 am #

    I love such meals that are not just tasty but also quick to fix. Reading the ingredient list, I can imagine how delicious meal this must have been 😀

    • mj October 16, 2013 at 7:47 am #

      Thanks Darlin! I love them too. I guess that’s why the husband calls me the queen of quick and easy. 🙂

  10. Carole October 14, 2013 at 6:49 pm #

    I must give southwestern a go – is that a bit like Tex Mex? Cheers

    • mj October 14, 2013 at 8:11 pm #

      Yes, it’s a bit like Tex Mex. Some of the ingredients crossover, but the green chile and red chile powder is more of a New Mexico thing.

  11. Raymund October 14, 2013 at 2:30 pm #

    My choice of carbs for that one is got to be tortillas

    • mj October 14, 2013 at 8:10 pm #

      That’s my choice about half of the time as well Raymund. 🙂

  12. Chaya October 14, 2013 at 10:53 am #

    I always find something here that I want to make. I can’t eat pork but I would guess chicken would work, as well, and I love the creamy polenta as a side.

    • mj October 14, 2013 at 8:10 pm #

      Thanks so much Chaya! Yes, this would be great with either chicken or beef.

  13. Carolyn Jung October 13, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

    Mmm, I bet this would be great with a sunny-side egg on it for brunch, too. Fabulous dish.

    • mj October 14, 2013 at 8:09 pm #

      Oh the egg sounds good! Thanks Carolyn!

  14. Gomo | cHow Divine October 13, 2013 at 12:05 pm #

    I think I would have the same response as Bobby. I love all of the flavors! And I’m sure it went perfectly with polenta. As much as I love it, I don’t make polenta at home that often. Reading this is reminding me that I must make it soon. Lovely dish MJ!

    • mj October 14, 2013 at 8:08 pm #

      Thanks so much Gomo! This does go great with polenta, but it’s also great with rice and tortilla and probably would be good with noodles. 🙂

  15. cquek October 13, 2013 at 10:43 am #

    Sounds like a really lovely dinner for me.

    • mj October 14, 2013 at 8:06 pm #

      Thanks Cquek!

  16. Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen October 13, 2013 at 8:17 am #

    I want to try Polenta! I’m a pork person and I would probably say mmmm tooo!!!

    • mj October 14, 2013 at 8:05 pm #

      Thanks so much Peachy!

  17. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles October 12, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

    Heheh, I love getting feedback like that too from my hubby. It’s funny, often the dishes I work the hardest on getting the quietest responses 🙁 and the throw-togethers (happily my usual technique ;-)) get the most enthusiastic greetings (go figure!). This is a delightful looking meal MJ full of color and lip-smacking delicious ingredients. We tend to serve stir fries of all varieties on cabbage (cole slaw) but I’m thinking the polenta would be a lovely change, especially this time of year when even in California ;o) the temps are dipping a bit and we are craving slightly warmer foods…great idea!

    • mj October 14, 2013 at 8:05 pm #

      Thanks Kelly! Totally agree about the response to meals. I threw together a quick meal tonight and got the same response, where last night, it took and hour of cooking. About halfway through his meal, Bobby goes “This is pretty good.” 🙂 Stir fry over cole slaw – that sounds interesting. I’ve never done that. I’ll have to give it a try.

  18. Liz October 12, 2013 at 11:51 am #

    Oh, this looks like one quick and amazing meal…from the stir fry to the polenta! Super!

    • mj October 14, 2013 at 8:02 pm #

      Thanks so much Liz!

  19. ChgoJohn October 12, 2013 at 8:13 am #

    A great stir-fry, Tanya. I especially like the inclusion of corn. Those little kernels sure do brighten up a dish and a great taste to the mix. Serving this over polenta is a great idea, too.

    • mj October 14, 2013 at 8:02 pm #

      Thanks John! The corn not only adds color, but it also a different texture and taste as well.

  20. Debra October 12, 2013 at 7:55 am #

    Love this, especially the feta in the polenta!

    • mj October 14, 2013 at 8:01 pm #

      Thanks Debra! I use feta a lot in polenta and even grits, but then I love feta. 🙂

  21. Renee @ Tortillas and Honey October 11, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    Yum! This dish looks so good! I love all the flavors you’ve used here. I’ll have to give this a try!

    • mj October 14, 2013 at 8:00 pm #

      Thanks Renee! If you do make it, I hope you enjoy it.

  22. Asmita October 11, 2013 at 8:04 am #

    Hi Mj,
    This looks so delicious! I somehow cook very little pork at home, we do enjoy it though. Will have to give this a shot.

    • mj October 14, 2013 at 7:59 pm #

      Thanks Asmita! We don’t eat a lot of pork either but when we do, I do enjoy it.

  23. Helene D'Souza October 11, 2013 at 7:52 am #

    Anther reason why I need to find somebody here who sells pork. So difficult to find MJ, you have no idea. I would make your stir fry every week once for dinner and I know we would be satisfied. =)

    • mj October 14, 2013 at 7:58 pm #

      Thanks Helene! I forgot about pork and where you live. I bet it is hard to find. You could easily substitute with chicken or beef.

  24. Minnie@thelady8home October 11, 2013 at 5:23 am #

    This is a great dish MJ, wholesome and colorful. Perfectly cooked too! I was wondering, can I sub feta with any other cheese in polenta? Better still, can I sub cheese with something else?

    • mj October 11, 2013 at 7:34 am #

      Thanks so much Minnie! Yes, you can substitute the feta with just about any cheese of your choice or just leave it out entirely. The cheese does provide some of the creaminess of the finished polenta, so to compensate for leaving it out, add a little more water, or some butter, or a little cream or milk/milk substitute.

  25. Sissi October 11, 2013 at 2:28 am #

    I love all the stir-fries (I think that stir-fried food with touches of different ethnic cuisines constitutes 80% of my meals!) and this one looks particularly luscious with the bright colours and the obligatory chile’s presence. I have started to use pork tenderloin in stir-fries some time ago and I find it better because it doesn’t dry as quickly as loin. I have never put corn into my stir-fries though I have canned corn constantly in my pantry (I put it into salads all year round). It sounds like an excellent idea!

    • mj October 11, 2013 at 7:31 am #

      Thanks Sissi! I agree that stir fries cross many cultures. It all depends on the seasonings. I usually don’t use corn in stir fries either, but it just works with this particular seasoning and the other ingredients in this dish. Yellow squash also works quite well, but I don’t think you get yellow squash where you are. Like you, I always have corn as well, but it’s usually in the freezer. Have a great weekend!

      • Sissi October 12, 2013 at 11:25 am #

        I do have yellow squash, but have never stir-fried it (usually used in stews). I must try it one day.

  26. Viviane Bauquet Farre - Food and Style October 11, 2013 at 1:28 am #

    Great stir-fry, MJ! Looks delicous.

    • mj October 11, 2013 at 7:25 am #

      Thanks so much Viviane!

  27. Giulietta | Alterkitchen October 11, 2013 at 12:56 am #

    I love this kind of dishes: quick to make and you have a single course that could save your dinner…
    I’ll try it 🙂

    • mj October 11, 2013 at 7:25 am #

      Thanks Giulia! This one has saved me many times. 🙂

  28. Nami | Just One Cookbook October 10, 2013 at 11:24 pm #

    I love using pork loin and tenderloin! Haha you are funny – I can relate about husband’s response which make me continue making the dish. I like making “guaranteed” dishes like that. It’s easy win!

    • mj October 11, 2013 at 7:24 am #

      Thanks Nami! Husbands know what they like and I’m thrilled when it’s so obvious. 🙂 Yep – easy win!

  29. wok with ray October 10, 2013 at 8:04 pm #

    Just looking at that bowl, I would definitely agree with Bobby — MMMMM! 🙂 Bobby is a lucky man to have you cooking these easy but mouthwatering dishes! Well, almost weekend my friend and I wish you both a very good one. 🙂

    • mj October 10, 2013 at 9:53 pm #

      Thanks so much Ray!! Hope you have a wonderful weekend as well!

  30. john@kitchenriffs October 10, 2013 at 11:14 am #

    Love the idea of taking stir-fry and using Southwestern flavors rather than Asian ones! Brilliant! Anything with pork gets my vote, too – this sounds so delish. Your polenta looks terrific, too. I make mine pretty much the same way as you do. In particular, I don’t stir constantly (as some recipes suggest). You can do that, but you can get away with less, and still have great texture. Really nice meal – thanks.

    • mj October 10, 2013 at 9:53 pm #

      Thanks John! Well, when your pantry is full of southwestern seasonings, you’re always looking for way to use them. 🙂 I use to have Bobby stand and stir the polenta constantly, then one night when he was here, I tried the intermittent stirring and it worked just fine. I’m with you – the texture works for me. 🙂 Have a great weekend!

  31. Ramona October 10, 2013 at 10:11 am #

    What a fantastic stir fry!! Only you can do such beautiful southwest cooking. 🙂

    • mj October 10, 2013 at 9:48 pm #

      Thanks so much Ramona!


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