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 Recipe
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 pork dish.
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.
What's the Difference Between Carne Adovada and Carne Adobada?
"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 to make carne adovada, shall we?
Carne Adovada Ingredients
- Pork. Pork shoulder (pork butt) is ideal for this recipe, though you can use pork loin.
- Olive Oil. For cooking.
- FOR THE RED CHILI GRAVY
- Onion and Garlic.
- Fresh Chili Peppers. Poblano pepper, jalapeno pepper, and optional serrano pepper for a spicy version.
- Flour. For thickening.
- Chicken Broth.
- Fresh Orange Juice.
- Chili Powders. Use New Mexico red chili powder, like Chimayo (or use dark red chili powder, or ancho, pasilla, or both).
- Other Seasonings. Mexican oregano, coriander, ground cumin, and salt and black pepper.
- Vinegar. Apple cider vinegar or a good tasting white vinegar.
- Honey. For a slight touch of sweetness.
How to Make Carne Adovada - the Recipe Method
Prep Your Cooking Pot. First, heat 2 tablespoon oil in a large pot to medium-high heat. I use my Dutch oven for this.
Brown the Pork. Pat the chopped pork dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper and lightly brown the pork a couple minutes per side.
You may need to do this in batches. Don't overcook the pork. Remove the pork and set it aside for now.
Cook the Onion, Peppers, and Garlic. 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.
The Flour. 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 Liquids. 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.
Return the browned pork to the pot bring to a boil.
Simmer the Carne Adovada. 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.
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!
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 or flour tortillas as tacos and burritos with all manner of popular fixings. Make a great taco bowl out of it with toppings and rice, like Arroz Verde (Green Rice).
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 peppers, mulato peppers, pasilla peppers, chipotle peppers and others. Or, use California peppers as a good substitute, or a combination of all of these and their powder versions.
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.
- Refrigerate and Serve the Next Day for More Depth of Flavor. 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.
- Swap out the pork for flank steak or chuck roast for a beefy version!
Storage and Leftovers
You can store carne adovada in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To enjoy it again, simply reheat it over medium heat in a pot on the stovetop.
You can also freeze carne adovada in freezer proof containers for 3 months or longer.
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!
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
- 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
- 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.
NOTE: This recipe was updated on 10/23/20 to include new information and video. It was originally published on 5/4/20.