Thursday, September 30, 2010

Carne Adovada, a Traditional New Mexican Recipe

I love the state of New Mexico, "The Land of Enchantment". There's just something about the place that gets under my skin. Not the least of my personal enchantment with the place is the state's Motto: "Red or Green?" Don't you just love it? Of course, that refers to red and green chile peppers and gives you an idea of how seriously New Mexicans take their favorite food. At the end of summer you can smell the aroma of peppers roasting all over the state, and man oh man it just makes you drool!

Today's recipe for Carne Adovada comes straight from, as does the following explanation of their famous chiles:

New Mexico Chiles: The foundation of New Mexican cooking, long pungent pods can be picked in their green or red (more mature) form. In either color, our chiles become the key ingredient in cooked sauces served as an integral part of traditional dishes, rather than simply being served as a separate salsa-style accompaniment. Green chiles are typically roasted, and then chopped, to make a sauce flavored with stock, garlic, and onion. Red chiles are strung up to dry in the beautiful ristras (strings) typical to the state, then ground as needed before being cooked into sauce with similar flavorings. Perhaps surprisingly, the textures and flavors of the sauces are quite different. Neither is definitively hotter than the other. That depends on the growing conditions and the particular variety of chile. If you can’t decide between red or green chile sauce on a dish, ask for it “Christmas,” which will give you some of each. Farmers’ markets are great places to taste different kinds of chiles during their late summer and early fall harvest season.

Without further ado, I give you Carne Adovada traditional New Mexico pork dish in a chile caribe marinade. Pork, often shoulder (butt), is cut into chunks and baked slowly in a red chile sauce until tender enough to shred easily. One of the spiciest and most flavor-packed dishes you can sample, carne adovada may be served on its own, or as a burrito filling. Less commonly, it is found as a filling for enchiladas, empanadas, or other preparations.

  • 2.5 pounds pork loin
  • 16 ounces dried red chile pods
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon oregano


To make the chile caribe take the red chile pods and soak them for two hours to resuscitate. Place in a blender with two cups of hot water and "chop" till a paste is formed.

1. Trim all the fat from the meat and cut in bite-size cubes.
2. Mix the red chile caribe marinade with the onion, vinegar and oregano.
3. Place the meat in a glass baking dish and cover with the red chile caribe marinade mixture.
4. Stir to coat each piece of meat and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
5. The next day, bring the meat to room temperature. Put into a preheated 425-degree oven for 90 minutes.
6. Drain excess water from the baking dish and bake 60 minutes longer at 325 degrees.

Serve over rice, wrapped in flour tortillas or in tacos.

Yield: 10 servings

Buen provecho!

If you have a favorite recipe for a Mexican or Mexican-inspired dish, I'd love to add it to our recipe box! email (and put "recipe" in the subject box so I'll know what it's about)


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