Carne Adovada (New Mexico Red Chile Pork Stew)

Carne Adovada. Photo © Molly Watson
  • 3 hrs
  • Prep: 60 mins,
  • Cook: 2 hrs
  • Yield: Makes about 6 servings
Ratings (26)

Carne adovada is pork stewed in a sauce of ground dried chiles. Don't be alarmed by the full cup of ground red chile powder; New Mexican red chiles are relatively mild. The stew is warming but never gets too spicy. In New Mexico, you can find carne adovada on breakfast menus, which may well be one of the best things about New Mexico. It makes a delicious meal any time of day. No matter when you eat it, serve carne adovada with corn tortillas.

Note that you want to use a fatty, "tough" cut like butt/shoulder for this stew since the meat will become more tender from the long, slow cooking. Learn more about pork cuts here.

Dried ground New Mexican red chile powder is available at Chimayo To Go.

What You'll Need

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 pounds pork butt or pork shoulder, well-trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon flour or masa harisa
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) ground dried New Mexican red chile powder

How to Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Once the pot is hot, add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the pork pieces to brown them. Add only enough pork so the pieces are in a single layer and don't touch each other; you will likely need to do this in batches. The pork should sizzle the second it touches the pot; if it doesn't, remove it and wait for the pot to heat up. Cook the pork, undisturbed, until each piece is well-browned on one side, about 3 minutes. Turn and brown on all sides. Transfer the pork to a large bowl or plate and repeat with remaining batches as needed.
  1. When all the pork is browned and set aside, add the onions, garlic, and salt to the pot. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle the onions with masa or flour and pepper and cook, stirring, until the raw flavor of the masa or flour cooks off (if you use flour it will smell a bit like pie crust), about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the ground chile and stir to combine. Add 4 cups of water and bring to a boil.
  3. In a blender, whirl the chile mixture until smooth. You may want to do this in batches, depending on the size of your blender. Be sure to hold a kitchen towels over the top to protect yourself (and your walls) from any potential splatters. Return the chile mixture to the pot. If you have a hand-held immersion blender, this is a good time to use it.
  4. Once the sauce is blended, add another 1 cup of water and the browned pork. Bring everything to a boil, cover, transfer to the oven, and bake for 1 hour.
  5. Take the pot out of the oven and stir the stew after the first hour. Add an additional 1 cup of water to the pot if the stew seems dry. Recover the pot and return it to the oven to bake until the pork falls apart when you try to cut it with a fork and the sauce is thick, about 1 more hour. Serve the carne adovada hot.