Posted by: gbdub | February 25, 2010

Pork for the Patient… Carne Adovada

So I wanted to blog more this year. Honestly I did. Then my poor compy went kapooie (that’s a very technical term) for awhile, and I’ve been piecing it back together. Well, that’s finally done, so no more excuses. But because I’m mischievous, I’ll give you a recipe that makes you wait just a little longer – a dish with an aroma that will linger for a couple days before you get to tuck in, teasing you with wafts of earthy-hot red pepper and slow simmered pork. Don’t worry, it’s worth it. So, without any further ado (other than 48 hours of marinating) , I give you carne adovada.


Chop the stems off the peppers and pour/scoop the seeds out. This is impossible to accomplish completely, so don’t try too hard. Remember that kids.

Peel your garlic (yes, it’s a lot, and no, it’s not too much) and chop your onion.

Soak the chiles in hot water for 30 minutes, then add everything else. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 more minutes.

It should look good and smell better.

Process the chiles, onions, etc., adding some cooking liquid to keep things moving.

Strain. Squeeze. Process again. Strain again. It’s worth it.

Yum. You could chug it. You shouldn’t, but you could.

Pour the sauce over cubed pork, and add a few extras – crumbled dried chile, crushed red pepper flakes, and cinnamon. Marinate for TWO DAYS. That’s right, two days. I mean, you could get most of the way there overnight, but you’d feel ashamed about it. As you should.

Dump it in the crock pot and cook on low for 8 more hours. At this point you’re agonizing over eating this. Your house smells of chile and pork. You’re hungry – but there’s a bit more work to do. See all that extra liquid? Scoop it out. Or if you feel bad throwing away good flavor, boil everything on the stovetop till you get a nice, thick sauce.

At long, long last. Top with sour cream, guacamole, and cheese. Wrap in a warm flour tortilla. CONSUME. It’s worth it. You’re worth it. Wipe your mouth, pat yourself on the back, and take a well deserved, fully satiated nap.

Carne Adovada (from Kate in the Kitchen)

Red Chile Sauce

  1. 3/4 lb. dried chile peppers (I used New Mexico, but you could use ancho, guajillo, mulato…)
  2. 1 large white onion, chopped
  3. 8 cloves garlic
  4. 2 tsp. dried oregano (use Mexican if you’ve got it)
  5. 2 tsp. ground cumin
  6. 2 tsp. kosher salt

Chop the stems off the chiles and scoop out most of the seeds. Don’t worry if you can’t get all of them. In a large pot, soak the chiles in hot water for half an hour. Toss in remaining ingredients, then bring to a boil and simmer on low for another half hour. Strain out the chiles and other solid ingredients, saving the cooking liquid.

Note: occasionally the cooking liquid will come out unpleasantly bitter. Try a bit – it should taste a bit like a spicy, somewhat fruity black tea. If it’s overwhelmingly bitter, you can substitute chicken broth or water for all or part of the liquid in the following steps. Slow cooking the pork in the sauce also evens out a lot of harshness.

Working in batches, process the solid ingredients in a blender or food processor, adding just enough of the cooking liquid to keep things moving. For me, this was about 1/4 cup liquid per 4 cup batch of solids. Your mileage may vary. Err on the side of too little liquid as you can always add more.  Strain the processed sauce through a medium wire mesh sieve. You may need to press on the solids to fully extract the sauce (wear gloves). It also helps to scrape the strained sauce off the bottom of the sieve as you go (this will make sense when you try it). After I had strained everything, I ran the remaining solids through the processor one more time to extract a bit more sauce. You should get roughly one quart.

You should be left with a lovely red smooth sauce. In addition to its use in carne adovada, it is an excellent enchilada sauce. It could also be a fine base for a pot of chili.

Carne Adovada

  1. 3-4 pounds loin, shoulder, or butt, trimmed and cut into 3/4″ cubes
  2. 1 batch red chile sauce (~4 cups)
  3. 2 New Mexico dried chile peppers, destemmed, deseeded and crumbled
  4. 4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  5. 2 sticks Mexican cinnamon

Combine everything in a glass bowl (it may stain plastic, and will react unpleasantly with metal). Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours. Transfer to a crock pot and cook on low for 8 hours (can also be simmered on the stovetop for a couple hours). The cooking time is approximate – it’s done when the meat is tender and can be pulled apart with a fork.

You will be left with a fair amount of thin liquid in the pot. This can be scooped out and discarded (it helps to let the dish cool first so the solids settle). I felt bad about losing that extra flavor, so I transferred everything to a pot and boiled over medium high heat for about 45 minutes to significantly reduce the sauce (be sure to stir frequently to avoid burning anything to the side of the pot).

Eat as is, or serve with guacamole, Mexican crema, and cheese on fresh flour tortillas.

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  1. OH MY…this looks amazing. I must try it. What are you doing this weekend. I fly you home so you can make it for me…okay?

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