Carne Adovada (New Mexican Red Chile Pork)
Getting away for a bit is a great way to create relaxation and experience a change of scenery… But, honestly, my favorite part of traveling is eating new and exciting foods!
On our recent trip to New Mexico, we ate so many wonderful regional dishes, such as “Christmas” red and green chile, blue corn pancakes, Navajo tacos, and deliciously savory and boldly spiced Carne Adovada.
What’s the difference between Carne Asada and Carne Adovada?
Both of these tasty dishes are made with meat, but that’s about all they have in common.
Carne asada is a popular Central and South American recipe made with thinly-sliced skirt steak or flank steak. The beef is marinated and quick-seared to give it a wonderful charred taste that pairs well with bright flavors like lime and chimichurri.
Carne Adovada, on the other hand, is slow-cooked, intensely spiced, and a slightly sweet pork dish. Chunks of pork are simmered in a vibrant red chile sauce that is smoky without being too spicy. It is served with rice to soak up all of the saucy goodness.
Classic Carne Adovada Recipe
Don’t be scared off by the spices here! The bold flavor in Carne Adovada isn’t necessarily spicy heat. Based on the chiles you use, the New Mexican red chile pork can be bold and mild with a deep, smoky essence.
And that hint of sweetness comes from a surprise ingredient… raisins! They are a lovely balance to the savory flavors in the Adovada recipe.
While it does take nearly 3 hours to make traditional New Mexico Carne Adovada, the steps required are not at all complicated, and trust me, patience really pays off here. Plus, the recipe can easily be made in a slow cooker so you can be hands-off for most of the day.
Give this fantastic flavorful dish a try for a relaxing and comforting weekend dinner! If you somehow manage to not eat it all in one night (and I totally wouldn’t blame you if you couldn’t help yourself), leftovers are great to enjoy for satisfying lunches or as a quick weeknight dinner repeat.
Ingredients You Need
- New Mexico dried chiles – or a mix of Ancho, Guajillo, and/or Pasilla chiles
- Raisins – dark raisins are traditional
- Olive oil – or preferred neutral-tasting cooking oil
- Boneless pork roast – cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
- Onion – peeled and chopped
- Garlic – minced
- Spices – ground cumin, dried oregano, bay leaves
- Apple cider vinegar – to tenderize the meat and mellow out the spicy chiles
- Beef base – or bouillon
How to Make New Mexican Red Chile Pork (Carne Adovada)
First, set a large 6-8 quart saucepot over high heat. Add the water and bring to a boil. Tear the stems off the red chiles and remove the seeds, and then rip the chiles into large pieces. Pro Tip: Use rubber gloves whenever handling hot chiles.
Once the water is boiling, stir in the dried chiles pieces and raisins. Turn off the heat and let the chiles steep for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, prep the remaining ingredients: Cut the pork roast into large 1 ½ inch chunks and season well with salt and pepper. Chop the onion and garlic.
Once the chiles are soft and well-hydrated, pour the chiles, raisins, and liquid into the blender. Cover the blender and open the vent to let the steam out. Turn the blender on low and blend for 15 seconds. Add the vinegar and beef base. Then turn the blender on high and puree until smooth.
Note: Check to make sure your blender can handle high heat. If not, you need to let everything cool before blending.
Set the same saucepot over medium heat. Add the olive oil. Once hot, add the pork chunks, onions, and garlic. Stir and sear the pork for 10-15 minutes, until brown on all sides.
Pour the red chile sauce back into the pot. Add the cumin, oregano, and bay leaves.
Get the Complete (Printable) Carne Adovada Recipe + VIDEO Below. Enjoy!
Cover and simmer on medium to medium-low heat for approximately 2 hours, until the pork is fork-tender and the sauce is very thick.
Be sure to stir the pork, scraping the bottom of the pot, every 20-30 minutes, to make sure the pork doesn’t stick to the bottom. Be sure to keep the pot covered after stirring.
Taste the New Mexican red chile pork, then salt and pepper as needed. If you like, add some chopped cilantro to the pot just before serving.
How to Make Carne Adovada (New Mexican Red Chile Pork) in the Slow Cooker
While the preparation for the slow cooker Carne Adovada recipe is similar to the stovetop method, it does allow you to “set it and forget it” once the components are all in the crock.
First, make the sauce and sear the pork on the stovetop as directed. Then move all the ingredients to a large slow cooker. Cover and set on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.
This saucy, spiced, stew-like dish is best served over fluffy white rice.
Garnish with limes, cilantro, and avocado, or serve on the side to let everyone add their own toppings!
Pork Carne Adovada is also delicious to use in tacos, taco salads, burritos, and/or burrito bowls!
Frequently Asked Questions
The strength of the heat will be determined by the red chiles you use. Ancho chiles are the mildest in flavor, Pasilla chiles tend to be moderately spicy, and Guajillo and New Mexico Hatch chile can be quite hot. All of these red chiles have a great smoky flavor you want in Carne Adovada, so just use whatever combination fits your tastes… And of course, what is available to you. New Mexico chiles can be hard to find in some parts of the country.
What we often call New Mexico or Hatch chiles are actually the same chile pepper variety also known as a California or Anaheim chile. They are long and green, and dry into a deep red color with a robust flavor. However, the chiles grown in New Mexico, and most specifically the town of Hatch, are much hotter than Anaheims due to the climate in which they are grown. The dryer the climate, the hotter the chile. That is what makes Hatch chiles so special.
The deliciously spiced stewed meat is great to include in tacos, and much more! Use it to make burritos, taco salads, stuffed omelets or baked potatoes, or just about any dishes you like.
This is a great recipe to make ahead! Leftover Carne Adovada will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, and in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let the stew cool completely before transferring to an airtight container to store in the fridge or freezer.
Looking for More Delicious Southwestern Recipes?
- Steak Fajita Stuffed Avocado
- Pork Green Chili (New Mexico Chile Verde)
- Beef Nachos with Slow Cooker Chili Con Carne
- Carne Guisada Recipe (Con Papas)
- Green Chile Steak Tacos
Carne Adovada (New Mexican Red Chile Pork) Recipe + VIDEO
- 4 cups water
- 15 New Mexico dried red chiles or a mix of Ancho, Guajillo, and/or Pasilla chiles
- ½ cup raisins
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 pounds boneless pork roast cut into 1 ½ inch cubes
- 1 large onion peeled and chopped
- 4-6 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 4 teaspoons beef base or bouillon
- Set a large 6-8 quart saucepot over high heat. Add the water and bring to a boil. Tear the stems off the chiles and remove the seeds. Then rip the chiles into large pieces. Once the water is boiling, stir in the dried chiles pieces and raisins. Turn off the heat and let the chiles steep for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cut the pork roast into large 1 ½ inch chunks. Season well with salt and pepper. Chop the onion and garlic.
- Once the chiles are soft and well-hydrated, pour the chiles, raisins, and liquid into the blender. Cover the blender and open the vent to let the steam out. Turn the blender on low and blend for 15 seconds. Add the vinegar and beef base. Then turn the blender on high and puree until smooth.
- Set the same saucepot over medium heat. Add the olive oil. Once hot, add the pork chunks, onions, and garlic. Stir and sear the pork for 10-15 minutes, until brown on all sides.
- Pour the red chile sauce back into the pot. Add the cumin, oregano, and bay leaves. Cover and simmer on medium to medium-low for approximately 2 hours, until the pork in fork-tender and the sauce is very thick. Be sure to stir the pork scraping the bottom, every 20-30 minutes, so make sure the pork doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Be sure to keep covered after stirring.
- Taste, then salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm with rice, limes, avocadoes, and cilantro. Or serve with tortillas for Adovada tacos!
Making this recipe? Follow us on Instagram and tag @ASpicyPerspective so we can share what you’re cooking!