Comfort Cuisine – Carne Adovada

When it comes to the word “chile” I am a bit of a snob (read bitch).  When it comes to the delectable fruit, “chile”, I am a real snob (read raving bitch).  I realize that there are two grammatically correct ways to spell this word:  chile and chili.  But I was born and raised the the state of New Mexico in the U.S.  For us there is only one correct spelling, “chile”; and one type of fruit, the Hatch Chile.  Chile is the heart and soul of New Mexican cuisine.


While living in New Mexico, I never much concerned myself with learning how to prepare my favorite New Mexican dishes.  But when I moved to the Pacific Northwest, I could no longer get my chile fix whenever I wanted.  I had to learn how to prepare the dishes I loved.  For some of the dishes I obtained recipes from friends or family, for some I actually found recipes on the internet, but for Carne Adovada I kinda created my own recipe.

A Brief History of Carne Adovada

Adovada is actually a variation of Adobada, the Spanish word for marinated.  For New Mexico Carne Adovada, pork is chopped, cubed or shredded, and slow cooked, or marinated, in a red chile sauce with salt and garlic.  It can be served soup like with tortillas, cheese, sour cream or other condiments; it can be served on a plate with rice, beans, and other condiments; or it can be the meat portion of a burrito.  The serving suggestions are quite up to the individual.

A Not So Brief History Of My Recipe

The first and most important hurdle I encountered was finding New Mexico Chile. It’s not something that is widely available outside the state.  I obtained both the chilies I wanted by asking family to send care packages.  I also stockpiled every time I went home to visit.  I now try to keep a supply of chile at all times.

The next hurdle was recreating the dish.  Thankfully, instructions for creating the red chile sauce were on the back of one package of red chile powder.  So, as long as I followed them I was good.

Getting the right cut of pork was the next step.  At first I simply used pork chops and while the flavor of the chile was what I wanted the texture and flavor of the meat was lacking.  I finally found that pork loin, first slow cooked, then shredded and put in the red chile sauce was the way to go.

One caveat regarding time of preparation.  This is a slow process.  Either start early in the day or divide it into two.

WARNING REGARDING HANDLING CHILE!  If your hands touch the chile, PLEASE for the love of everything sacred, DO NOT TOUCH YOUR EYES!  It is a pain like no other.  Use gloves if need be.

Okay, enough rambling, let’s get to the good stuff.

How To Prepare Carne Adovada

Take a 2 lb. (1 kg) pork loin and place in slow cooker
Add 1/2 cup (120 ml) water
Sprinkle 1/4 tsp (1.25 ml) salt, 1/8 tsp (.6 ml) pepper, 1 tsp (5 ml) minced garlic (or 1/8 tsp garlic powder), and 1/2 tbsp (7 1/2 ml) red chile powder over the top of the pork loin.
CA Photo 1

Place lid and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours or until internal temperature of the loin is at least 160F (72C).
CA Photo 2

Take pork loin out and let stand for at least an hour or until cool enough to work with.
CA Photo 3

Shred pork into 1 to 2 inch (2.5 to 5 cm) strips.
CA Photo 4

Set aside.
Pour off pork juices into measuring glass and add water to make 2 cups (236 ml)
Set aside
In a 3 qt (3 l) sauce pan heat 2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
Add 3 tbsp (44 ml) flour and whisk into a rue
Add 3 tbsp (44 ml) Red Chile Powder and mix
Add pork juice/water mixture
Stir until there are no lumps
CA Photo 5

Add 1/4 tsp (1.25 ml) salt and 1 tsp (5 ml) minced garlic.
Bring sauce to a slow boil so that it starts to thicken
Add shredded pork
CA Photo 6

Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for at least one hour
Remove from heat and serve
CA Photo 7

This is a very spicy but flavorful dish.  I usually prepare it in the winter and for special occasions, namely the holiday known as Thursday.

The red chile powder that I’m currently using is Chile Molido from Los Chileros de nuevo mexico.  Their website is  I have contacted them and they do ship internationally.


About princessdeloso

I do many things. I even write about some of them.
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4 Responses to Comfort Cuisine – Carne Adovada

  1. Oh this looks wonderful! I brought home a lot of chiles from my last trip to NM and need a recipe for tomorrow…

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