Carne Adovada is a New Mexico-style stewed pork dish that features a boldy spiced sauce made from dried chiles and perfectly tender pork. Pair it with a simple side of rice or warm homemade tortillas for a savory and satisfying dish!
If you love tender pieces of slowly simmered pork that are melt in your mouth good, then you’ve got to try this Carne Adovada recipe!
This New Mexican dish has become one of my favorites because the dried chile sauce that the pork is simmered in has an amazing and intense flavor that I can’t get enough of!
Is it Adovada or Adobada?
This specific New Mexican dish is spelled “adovada,” whereas “adobada” refers to the more general Mexican way of cooking meat in an adobo sauce.
What’s the difference between carne adovada and chile colorado?
I like to think of Carne Adovada as Chile Colorado’s more intense and complex cousin. While they may look similar, they’re actually quite different.
Carne Adovada features pork whereas Chile Colorado traditionally uses beef. Both are equally tender and delicious.
Both dishes also use a red chile sauce that highlights the taste and spice of dried chiles, however Carne Adovada is more complex in that it has a hint of sweetness from the sugar and tang from the soy sauce and vinegar to help deepen and intensify the spices and chiles.
Ingredients in Carne Adovada
- Dried chiles– For this recipe, I used 8 dried ancho chiles and 12 dried guajillo chiles. You can use any combination of ancho, guajillo, and New Mexico dried chiles you’d like. You can also use only New Mexico dried chiles. Totally up to you!
- Seasonings and spices– I used dried thyme, cumin, salt, Mexican oregano, kosher salt, and a special ingredient, sugar. It might sound odd, but sugar helps cut the spice and bold seasonings.
- White vinegar and soy sauce– These ingredients help give acidity and balance to the sauce and give a great and unexpected complex flavor.
- Olive oil– I used olive oil to sear the pork, but you can use whatever oil you have on hand.
- Onion and garlic-Perfect staple ingredients for most Mexican dishes.
- Pork shoulder– Pork shoulder (also known as pork butt) is very tender and great for this stew-style dish. I recommend cutting it into equal size chunks so they cook evenly.
- Optional ingredients- I topped my carne adovada with chopped cilantro and onions and serves with warm corn tortillas, or warm flour tortillas.
How to make Carne Adovada
- Toast the chiles: Toast your combination of chiles in a skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Don’t toast them for more than 2 minutes or they will get a bitter taste.
- Soften the chiles: Transfer your toasted chiles to a medium pot, add bay leaf, and cover them completely with water. Bring the water to a boil and then remove from the heat, cover, and let sit for about 10 minutes to soften the toasted chiles.
- Make the chile sauce: With a slotted spoon, transfer the softened chiles and bay leaf to a blender. Add 3 cups of the chile-soaked water, garlic, vinegar, soy sauce, oregano, thyme, sugar, cumin, and salt. Blend until smooth and set aside.
- Sear the pork: Cook the pork in 2 batches to make sure each piece is browned and has a great sear. Set aside on a plate.
- Cook the onion: Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, scraping any delicious crispy brown bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan.
- Simmer pork in chile sauce: Add the seared pork back into the pot and pour the blended chile sauce on top. Mix together to combine. Bring the pot to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 2 hours.
What to serve with Carne Adovada
STORING AND REHEATING INSTRUCTIONS
- To store in the fridge, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
- To store in the freezer, let it cool completely and transfer to a freezer safe storage container or bag. Freeze for up to 3 months.
- To reheat, place in a medium pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally until warmed, or heat in the microwave for 1-4 minutes until hot.