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23 October 2020

This carne adovada recipe is pure New Mexico in a bowl, with tender chunks of pork simmered in a rich and flavorful red chili gravy. Perfect for tacos and so much more!

Carne Adovada in the house, my friends! Ever hear of carne adovada? If not, you’re in for a flavor-blasting treat! Carne Adovada is straight out of New Mexico. The locals have been enjoying this amazing dish for years, and now you can too.

Hey, we can’t let the good people of New Mexico have all the great flavors, can we? If you’re a fan of juicy, tender chunks of pork that simmered in a thick sauce that is chili pepper heavy you may have just found your new favorite dish.

Let’s discuss!

Meaty Chunks of Carne Adovada with many garnish options

What is Carne Adovada?

Carne Adovada is a classic New Mexican dish of tender, juicy chunks of pork cooked low and slow in a mild red chili sauce that has the consistency of gravy. It is very much like a pork version of famous Texas chili or Chili Colorado, where pork is the star rather than beef. The key is the rich and flavorful sauce made with New Mexican chili peppers.

“Carne Adovada” is similar to Mexican “Carne Adobada”, which refers to meat cooked in adobo sauce, aromatics and vinegar. It is more of a general term for different types of dishes. This New Mexican dish is a more specific pork stew recipe.

My version makes the recipe incredibly easy with New Mexican chili powder for the pork braise, though you can use whole dried chiles as well. 

Let’s talk about how we make carne adovada, shall we?

Meaty Chunks of Carne Adovada in a bowl, ready to enjoy

Carne Adovada Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pounds pork shoulder (pork butt), cut into chunks – Or you can use pork loin
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • FOR THE RED CHILI GRAVY
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 poblano pepper, chopped
  • 2 small jalapeno peppers, chopped (optional, for more heat, or use a serrano pepper for hotter)
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • Juice from 1 orange
  • 3/4 cup New Mexico red chili powder, like Chimayo (or use dark red chili powder, or ancho, pasilla, or both)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey (or more to taste)

Chunks of Carne Adovada in a bowl, ready to enjoy

How to Make Carne Adovada – the Recipe Method

First, heat 2 tablespoon oil in a large pot to medium-high heat. I use my Dutch oven for this.

Pat the chopped pork dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper and lightly brown the pork a couple minutes per side.

Searing off the chunks of pork to make carne adovada

You may need to do this in batches. Don’t overcook the pork. Remove the pork and set it aside for now.

Heat 1 more tablespoon oil in the same pot and add the onion and peppers. Stir cook them down for 5 minutes to soften.

Add the garlic and cook another minute, stirring, until the garlic blooms and becomes fragrant.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoon olive oil and stir in the 2 tablespoons of flour. Cook, stirring constantly for 5 minutes to cook out the raw flour flavor. You can cook stirring longer if you’d like.

Add the chicken broth, orange juice, red chile powder, oregano, coriander, cumin and a bit more salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 5 minutes to thicken the gravy or red chile sauce and develop the flavors, stirring occasionally.

Got my spicy gravy ready in the pot for the seared chunks of pork

Return the browned pork to the pot bring to a boil.

Carne Adovada simmering in a pot

Reduce the heat, cover, then cook the entire pot of pork in the gravy for 2 hours, or until the pork is fall-apart tender. The sauce should be nice and thick, like a chili gravy. You can also do this in a slow cooker / Crockpot or InstantPot.

Stir in the vinegar and honey. Season with a bit of salt and pepper to taste.

Serve! 

Boom! Done! Time to enjoy your carne adovada. Pretty much one of the easiest pork chilies you can make, and I seriously love pork chili. This recipe does not mess around when it comes to flavor!

Chunks of Carne Adovada in a bowl

Slow Cooker Carne Adovada

You can easily make this recipe in your slow cooker, Crockpot or InstantPot. To do so, follow steps 1-5 in the recipe using a hot pan or in your hot InstantPot on saute mode. Basically, brown the seasoned pork in a hot pan or in your InstantPot, then cook down the peppers and onions, and make your quick roux. Then, add the remaining ingredients and cook on low for 4-5 hours or on high for 2-3 hours, or until the pork is fall apart tender.

Serving Carne Adovada

You can enjoy the recipe as is, but it is popularly served with corn tortillas as tacos and burritos with all manner of popular fixings. Make a great taco bowl out of it with rice and toppings. You can also serve it for breakfast as your meat component. 

About the Peppers

Carne Adovada is traditionally made with New Mexican chile peppers, of which there are many. They may be difficult for you to obtain locally, but you can order them online, or use New Mexican chili powder, which you can order online as well.

However, you can also make this dish with other Mexican peppers, which are often easier to find. Options include ancho peppers, guajillo peppersmulato pepperspasilla pepperschipotle peppers and others. Or, use California peppers as a good substitute, or a combination of all of these and their powder versions.

Chunky pieces of Carne Adovada on a spoon

Recipe Tips & Notes

  • Use Whole Dried Peppers. If you’d like to make this dish with whole peppers, seed and stem them first, lightly toast them, then simmer with all of your liquids. Pure the mix before  using it for your pork braise.
  • Spice Factor. Carne Adovada is not meant to be a hot and spicy dish, as New Mexican peppers are not traditionally hot. You can, however, heat things up like I enjoy with some jalapeno peppers, serrano peppers, or use hotter chile peppers.
  • Flavor Builder. One way to develop extra flavor, if you have the time, is to stop the cooking process once you’ve added the pork to the pot. Rather than simmering, cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight. Then, when you’re ready to cook, simmer the pot on low, covered, or bake it at 350 degrees F, until the pork is tender.

That’s it, my friends. I hope you enjoy my carne adovada recipe. Let me know if you make it. I’d love to hear how it turned out for you. Keep it spicy!

Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes

Carne Adovada on a fork

Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

Carne Adovada Recipe
Print Recipe
4.84 from 6 votes

Carne Adovada Recipe

This carne adovada recipe is pure New Mexico in a bowl, with tender chunks of pork simmered in a rich and flavorful red chili gravy. Perfect for tacos and so much more!
Prep Time20 mins
2 hrs 10 mins
Total Time2 hrs 30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chili peppers, chili powder, one pot, pork, pork loin, pork shoulder
Servings: 8
Calories: 311kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pounds pork shoulder pork butt, cut into chunks - Or you can use pork loin
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil

FOR THE RED CHILI GRAVY

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 poblano pepper chopped
  • 2 small jalapeno peppers chopped (optional, for more heat, or use a serrano pepper for hotter)
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • Juice from 1 orange
  • 3/4 cup New Mexico red chili powder like Chimayo (or use dark red chili powder, or ancho, pasilla, or both)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey or more to taste

Instructions

  • Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large pot to medium-high heat. I use my Dutch oven for this.
  • Pat the chopped pork dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper and brown the pork a couple minutes per side. You may need to do this in batches. Remove the pork and set it aside for now.
  • Heat 1 more tablespoon oil in the same pot and add the onion and peppers. Stir cook them down for 5 minutes to soften.
  • Add the garlic and cook another minute, stirring, until the garlic blooms and becomes fragrant.
  • Add the remaining 2 tablespoon olive oil and stir in the 2 tablespoons of flour. Cook, stirring constantly for 5 minutes to cook out the raw flour flavor. You can cook stirring longer if you'd like.
  • Add the chicken broth, orange juice, chili powder, oregano, coriander, cumin and a bit more salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 5 minutes to thicken the gravy and develop the flavors.
  • Return the browned pork to the pot bring the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, then cook the entire pot of pork in the gravy for 2 hours, or until the pork is fall-apart tender. The sauce should be nice and thick, like a chili gravy.
  • Stir in the vinegar and honey. Season with a bit of salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve!

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 311kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 458mg | Potassium: 864mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 6669IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 100mg | Iron: 5mg

NOTE: This recipe was updated on 10/23/20 to include new information and video. It was originally published on 5/4/20.

 
Carne Adovada

21 comments

  1. 5 stars
    An explosion of flavors! I followed the recipe exactly, except I didn’t have enough time, so I used the Instant Pot pressure cook. Great recipe, Mike! thank you, Sir!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Wonderful! Glad you enjoyed it, Jérémie! Great idea in the pressure cooker. Very nice.

  2. 5 stars
    Another super yummy recipe! For the chili powder, I used equal parts of ancho chile powder, guajillo powder, and store bought chili powder.

    A few notes –

    1. I used my Instant Pot (50 minutes at High pressure) and the pork was fall apart tender.

    2. Being keto, I did not add flour, and the recipe was still plenty thick (that’s assuming the flour is there for thickening, rather than some other reason).

    3. DEFINITELY add the vinegar and sweetener (at the end of the recipe). The addition elevates the flavor from good to outstanding.

    4. I increased the amount of cumin and coriander up to 1 Tablespoon each because I really like the flavor of these spices.

    5. I omitted the honey (too many carbs) and used fake brown sugar instead. Same amount used though.

  3. Caye Norwick

    Do you know what I could use in place of the flour, or what kind of flour that would work the same but make it gluten free? I hate this but am having some issues and have no idea how to substitute for it. Thanks, if anyone knows….

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Caye, you can use a gluten free flour like almond flour for thickening. Just be sure to check the best ratios for your chosen gluten free flour to flour. Let me know how it turns out for you.

      1. CAye Norwick

        Thanks, I know cornstarch will thicken and that should be gf. Having a hard time finding products right now…

  4. Do you think I could use pork tenderloin? I have one in the freezer I need to use soon. Also can I use regular old chili powder from the supermarket? They never say what kind of chilies are in it. 3/4 cup? That’s like the whole bottle?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Ellen, yes, you can use pork tenderloin, though it won’t shred like pork shoulder will. You’ll still get great flavor, though. You can use American chili powder blends with very good results. 3/4 cup is a lot, for big flavor, though you can dial it back to use 1/4 – 1/2 cup to try it and adjust moving forward. Let me know how it turns out for you.

  5. when it calls for 3/4 cup chili powder and i don’t have that kind, do i use what is on the store shelf? seems like a lot but you have never steered me wrong.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Hey, Chris. You can use an American chili powder blend from the store. I do use a lot of seasoning here. You can dial it back to 1/2 cup and see how you like the flavor. Let me know how that goes.

  6. 5 stars
    We made this last night . All i can say is wow. Cant wait to try another hreat tasting recipe

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Excellent! Glad you enjoy it, Eddie!

  7. 5 stars
    I also made this last night. All i can say is wow. Keep the delicious recipes coming

  8. Hi Mike, with all due respect, it’s not “adovada”, is “ADOBADA”.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Hi, Maritza. I appreciate the comment, but I did write about this in the post. ““Carne Adovada” is similar to Mexican “Carne Adobada”, which refers to meat cooked in adobo sauce, aromatics and vinegar. It is more of a general term for different types of dishes. This New Mexican dish is a more specific recipe.”

  9. Damien C.

    5 stars
    Nom Nom Nom. This was the perfect recipe for our Cinco de Mayo with the family. Everyone raved about it. The pork could not be more tender.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Damien! Yes, we love this one, too! SO good.

  10. jeff palmer

    4 stars
    Just made it for tonight – in the cool midwest right now it is the bomb:) So good! We have latino grocery stores that do the Adobada in for a chicken (thighs or legs) marinade and its good. But this is better

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Jeff! Glad you enjoyed it.

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