This is the best carne adovada recipe out there. This recipe is the purest and most true to its roots as any recipe out there. By keeping the process, and the ingredients, simple, the chiles truly get to shine in this dish. Which is the most important part.
Table of contents
What is carne adovada?
In its most simplest form, carne adovada consists of chunks of pork braised in a thick chile sauce flavored with garlic, Mexican oregano, cumin, and honey. This tender pork, coated in a thick red sauce, can be served in tortillas or over rice.
Other than the pork, the most important ingredient in carne adovada is the dried chiles. The type of chile used in carne adovada is dried New Mexican chiles. Dried New Mexican chiles are fruity, slightly sweet and a bit acidic in flavor, they’re more mild that hot, are medium in size and have a deep, shiny red appearance. Can’t find new dried Mexican chiles? You can use dried California chiles as a substitute.
Ingredients in Carne Adovada
- Pork Butt, sometimes labeled Boston Butt at the grocery store.
- Dried New Mexican Chiles, dried California chiles or dried Guajillo chiles will also work.
- Honey, or sugar, to balance out the savory and smoky flavors.
- White vinegar, also used to balance flavors.
- Garlic, you’ll need 5 large cloves.
- Dried Mexican Oregano, marjoram can also be substituted.
- Spices: ground cumin, cayenne and ground cloves add depth of flavor.
How to make carne adovada
The beautiful thing about this recipe is that most of the cooking is totally hands off! Most of the heavy lifting in this recipe is done in the oven, the most hands-on part is blending up the chile sauce! Here’s the process:
- Trim and cut pork into bite-sized pieces; season with salt and let stand 1 hour.
- Seed and stem dried chiles, tear into pieces then soak in hot water for 30 minutes.
- Drain chiles, reserving 2 cups liquid, and transfer chiles to a blender with honey, vinegar, garlic and spices.
- Process dried chile mixture until mostly smooth; stream reserved liquid in until a smooth sauce is formed.
- Combine chile sauce and pork in a Dutch oven; bring to a boil.
- Cover Dutch oven and transfer to oven; cook 2–2½ hours until tender.
How to serve carne adovada
- Carne Adovada over crispy roasted potatoes
- Serve over rice with cilantro and scallions
- Carne Adovada burrito filled with rice, tomatoes, lettuce and avocado, and rolled in a large flour tortilla
- Make tacos! Serve carne adovada in flour or corn tortillas with lettuce, avocado and cilantro
“Why this recipe works,” from America’s Test Kitchen
This recipe is from America’s Test Kitchen’s Vegetables Illustrated cookbook. ATK sent me this book a few months ago, and gave me the green light to share one of my favorite recipes from their book!
If you’re trying to incorporate more veggies into your diet, or simply want to explore using them in new and creative ways, then you’ll love this book! You know how much I love ATK, and this book is a perfect example of why. If you think this is a vegetarian book, think again. This book is filled with delicious and unique ways of cooking with vegetables and it’s sure to spark some creativity in your kitchen!
A clip from Vegetables Illustrated, “Carne Adovada is a classic New Mexican dish made from chunks of pork stewed in a thick red chile sauce. It’s saucy enough to be served over rice or in a bowl with some accompanying toasted corn tortillas, but the meat can also be used as a filling for tacos and burritos.
Although it takes a little while in the oven, it’s a very easy dish to prepare, and it will give you the basis for several delicious meals. If you can’t find New Mexican chiles, you can substitute dried California chiles. We suggest using Mexican oregano if you have it, though Mediterranean oregano is a suitable substitute. Boneless pork butt roast is often labeled Boston butt in the supermarket.
Serve this with rice and beans, crispy roasted potatoes, or flour tortillas with shredded lettuce, chopped tomato, and sliced avocado.”
More Mexican recipes you may like…
- Mexican Coleslaw
- Sopa de Fideo (Mexican Noodle Soup)
- Mexican Chicken Soup
- Chipotle Tempeh Tacos
- Chicken Barbacoa
- Cilantro Lime Brown Rice
- 1 3 ½-to 4-pound boneless pork butt roast, trimmed and cut into 1 ½-inch pieces
- 4 ounces 14–16 dried New Mexican chiles, stemmed, seeded, and torn into 1-inch pieces 3 cups)
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- Cooked rice or cilantro lime rice
- Lime wedges
- Toss pork and 1 ½ teaspoons salt together in a bowl; refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Combine New Mexican chiles and 4 cups boiling water in medium bowl. Cover and let sit until chiles are softened, about 30 minutes. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325ºF (162ºC) degrees.
- Drain chiles, reserving 2 cups soaking liquid. Process chiles, honey, vinegar, garlic, oregano, cumin, cayenne, cloves, and ½ teaspoon salt in a blender to a thick paste, about 30 seconds.
- With blender running, slowly add reserved soaking liquid and blend until smooth, about 3 minutes.
- Combine pork and chile sauce in Dutch oven, stirring to coat, then bring to a boil over high heat. Cover pot, transfer to oven, and cook until pork is tender and fork inserted into pork meets little resistance, 2 to 2½ hours.
- Using wooden spoon or rubber spatula, scrape any browned bits from sides of pot and stir into pork until sauce is smooth and homogenous. Let stand, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Season with salt to taste. Serve with lime wedges.