Carne adovada. New Mexican red pork chili. Next time you feel like winning a chili competition think of this one.
Pork isn’t common for chili. I get that a good beef chili is hard to beat. But this carne adovada gives it a run for its money.
And that’s up against a really good beef chili. It will beat your average beef chili. No contest.
Pork chunks make for great chili
I am a huge fan of chunks of meat when I make chili. I’m not such a big fan of ground meat versions. They can be OK if you dress them up enough. But there’s a fundamental problem.
It’s hard to get decent browning using ground meat. Beef or pork. Doesn’t matter. It works in burgers. Because the surface doesn’t move. So you get a crust on the outside.
Try that with ground beef or pork. It’s almost impossible. There’s too much surface area to work with.
Either you get grey meat with bits of brown. Or you get brown, dry meat. No happy medium here.
Chunks are different. There’s less surface area to deal with. So you can take the time to get a nice crust. Without drying everything out.
This approach is killer no matter what kind of chili you are making. Chile verde is a wonderful poblano, tomatillo pork chili. And if you are making a beef chili it is really hard to beat a chile colorado. Unless you go the distance and make birria de rez. Can you tell I like chili dishes?
Carne adovada is all about layering flavours
If you’ve never been here before this may be new to you. For everyone else it should come as no surprise. I like layering flavours. A lot.
Deeply browned pork. That’s the foundation. A ton of Maillard action going on. Don’t know what I’m talking about?
Every time you brown meat you are creating millions of novel flavour compounds. That’s the Maillard reaction. It is one of your best friends in the kitchen.
Dry roasted onions and garlic. A little charred even. Layer number two. More Maillard. More better. I know full well that’s grammatically incorrect. No need to point that out. I’m not so big on grammar.
Frying out the chili puree. Layer number three. A big one. Tames the jarring edges. Smooths everything out. Brings it all together. Flavour magic.
Pork. Yes. Pork. Layer number four. Braised pork. The juices the pork throws as it cooks. Pure magic.
All chili powders are not created equal
There’s chili powder. And then there’s chili powder. And they are not the same.
The stuff you get in the grocery store that says chili powder? That you just chuck into your ground beef based chili and hope it works? That’s not what I’m talking about.
Commercial “chili powder” is a blend of spices. Garlic powder. Onion powder. Cumin. Cayenne. Paprika. Who knows what else.
This recipe is about pure chili powder. Just a ground spice from a single variety of chili pepper.
I like New Mexican chili powder for this recipe. That’s my favourite. But it isn’t always easy to get.
Ancho makes a good stand in. It has a little bit deeper, darker flavour profile. Pushes it to more of a Mexican flavour profile. Still delicious. Just a little different.
Just don’t think you can throw any pure chili powder at this one. Hotter chili powders like cayenne, morita or de arbor will blow a small hole in the back of your head. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Pork shoulder is right for carne adovada
Make carne adovada with pork shoulder. Please make carne adovada with pork shoulder. Or country-style ribs. Those work well too.
This is a braise. Braises are about low and slow. So you need connective tissue. That’s critical.
Take a pork loin chop. Cook it for an hour or two. That is a recipe for making shoe leather.
Take pork shoulder. Cook it over high heat for 8 minutes. You guessed it. Another recipe for shoe leather.
Take that same pork shoulder. Cook it low and slow. You get tender. Juicy. Delicious. That’s the magic of braising the right cut.
There’s food science here. Connective tissue has collagen. Braising turns collagen into gelatin. Gelatin has great mouthfeel. Same magic that makes good barbecue brisket the miracle that it is.
You don’t need to understand it. You don’t need to understand the Maillard reaction either. They just happen. If you let them.
Fry the chili puree for best results
This one is a little different. But it’s one I do every time I make something based on a chili puree. Fry it.
I learned this one from an old book by Mark Miller. About a million years ago. It was an aha moment for me. A little culinary epiphany.
I don’t even know why it works. My guess is blooming spices. Even though there’s a whole lot of liquid in the mix. Not quite the same. But I can’t come up with another explanation.
It is messy. The puree bumps. Sends droplets frying everywhere. But I don’t care. I wear old clothes. I clean up after. It’s a small price to pay.
It’s hard to describe. The raw puree is rough. Has all these jangly edges. A bit harsh. Frying it smooths things out. Rounds the flavours.
I know I’m not making a lot of sense here. But it matters.
So I’m asking for a leap of faith. Taste the puree before it hits the pan. And taste it after. It will all make sense once you do that.
Carne adovada makes excellent tacos
Serve carne adovada like you would any chili. A few tortillas or some good bread. Some pinto beans on the side. Maybe a salad. That’s good eating.
Or make tacos. Really good tacos. I like flour tortillas for this particular taco. Bit unusual for me. I’m always pushing corn. But in this case it works.
A bit of red onion. Some cilantro. A squeeze of lime. Maybe even a bit of avocado if you like. That’s one tasty taco.
Or go your own way. Do what you like. Prefer corn? That works. A little queso? Absolutely.
Make carne adovada when you want a special chili
Carne adovada is not a run of the mill chili. It’s different. In a really good way. If you like pork. And you love a good chili. Then this one is worth thinking about.
Carne adovada. Big flavours. Unapologetically porky. Absolutely delicious.
new mexican red pork chili carne adovada
- 4 lbs pork stew – e.g. pork shoulder or riblets, cut into fairly large (one inch plus) chunks
- 1 large white onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 3/4 cup New Mexican red chili powder
- 2 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp mexican oregano (optional)
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 3 Tbsp rendered pork lard or vegetable oil
- salt to taste – start with one tsp and go from there
- Pre-heat your oven to 350F.
- Slice the onion into 3/4 inch slices.
- Peel the garlic.
- Place the onion and garlic in a dry comal or cast iron frying pan and cook until the garlic and onion brown. Watch the garlic closely.
- Coarsely chop the onion and combine it with the chili powder, cumin, mexican oregano if using and 2 1/2 cups chicken stock in a blender. Puree completely. Set aside.
- In a high sided pot large enough hold all the pork melt two Tbsp of lard or vegetable oil and brown the meat in batches. Brown it thoroughly. Take the time. It’s worth it.
- Remove meat from the pan and add a third Tbsp of lard or oil. Transfer the chili mixture to the pan and fry, stirring constantly for 5-7 minutes. The mix will bump so don't wear nice clothes when you make this.
- When the oil starts to separate (or after 7 minutes) return the pork to the pot and add enough chicken stock to cover the pork – about another 1 1/2 cups. Stir thoroughly.
- Add a tsp of salt and bring to a simmer on the stove.
- Cover and place the preheated oven.
- Start testing for tenderness after the first hour. It will likely take around 90 minutes but results vary. You are done when the pork is tender.
- Adjust salt.
- Serve with pinto beans, tortillas and garnishes of your choice.
37 thoughts on “new mexican red pork chili carne adovada”
Hi Romain, I have been putting off making this recipe because I haven’t been able to get hold of New Mexican chili powder. Today I gave up and made it with Ancho instead. And to increase the craziness, I served it with Parathas (I need the practice and it was more fun than making wheat tortillas), your yoghurt-mayo sauce and a sprinkle of cilantro and mint. Complete fusion. But it was great!! Soo incredible delicious!
I ran into two issues, though. The first was that I ended up with a lot of what you’d call gunk in the chili sauce. I solved it by pressing it through a strainer (clue from several of your other Mexican recipes). The second was that I ended up with too much fat in the sauce and had to remove the excess with a spoon. Other than that, this was just perfect! Thanks a million!!
Ancho chili powder would definitely work. Little different flavour profile (more Mexican) but just as good. Parathas are awesome with everything so I can totally see how that would work. FYI leftover parathas warmed in a toaster and slathered with peanut butter is in the breakfast of champions cookbook.
Too much fat it the sauce – that can only be because your pork is good. I want to make pulled pork with the pork shoulder you get:-)
I have this in oven now – do you thicken with a masa slurry? It smells delicious can’t wait to eat this
I don’t thicken it. It should come up just right.
FWIW I don’t usually do the masa slurry thing. I find it dulls the flavours.
3/4 of cup of chili powder? Same if you use the ancho?
Frying it makes it work. It’s a critical step.
Ancho will work – might be a bit spicier though.
Hi Romain. I made this after I received my order from Silk Road, ( much cheaper than Chili Chillies) and it was an absolute hit. I actually have a cast iron pot full in the oven right, but I have a kind of dumb question. Conventional veggies or salads don’t seem to pair to well with this. So my question….how dumb would it be to throw in a can of chick peas while the meat is cooking? BTW, I love your recipes!
Silk Road is a way better deal. I use so much of the stuff I try to bulk buy from people that supply restaurants. 1 kg tends to be an amazing deal.
Chickpeas would work well I think. Some brands are softer than others straight from the can. I’d want the softer ones for texture. And I’d serve a salad before or after if you’re after greens.
Try combining shredded cabbage, chopped cilantro, red onion and Serrano chilis, with the juice of a lime. Salt and pepper to taste. This is what they top tacos with in Mexico and it’s delicious as a side salad. My family loves it.
having made several succesful curries now (I’m an Indian food addict) I’m experimenting with some ‘Mexican’.
Biggest issue, I cannot readily buy New Mexican Chilli here in Spain, so I’ll have to find a workaround, (or wait two weeks while I import some).
My question however, do you think I couls achieve good result by completing the brais in our slow cooker? I think you guys might use the term crock pot.
Delighted to hear you are making the jump to Mexican cooking. It can be fantastic stuff. And two weeks is definitely worth the wait. As long as you are placing an order grab some whole dried ancho, guajillo and pasilla chilies along with some Mexican oregano and maybe some epazote.
I don’t use a slow cooker. I don’t even own a slow cooker. I find anything cooked in a slow cooker results in great sauce but flavourless meat. Just not a fan myself.
Great recipe, here in New Mexico it is spelled Chile. I really like this recipe.
I’m Canadian eh:-)
Romain what a treat! Went with the recent indian -ish theme. Adovada in homemade Chapatis: yoghurt, cheddar, pickled jalapeño, lettuce, corriander. Living the dream. Good living.
You really are a legend. Thank you.
Delighted to hear you enjoyed it. I haven’t tried it with chapatis but I cannot see how that would be anything but absolutely awesome. And I love that you are coming up with more Indian-ish!!!
I get so excited when my email includes mail from you. I immediately have try the recipe, and they never fail to blow me away. The videos are concise and well done, a pleasure to watch.
Sherri, you have me grinning ear to ear. So happy to hear that. Thank you!
Another fantastic looking recipe. Thank you for sharing. A massive fan of your recipes.
2 tsp cumin. Is this seeds or powder? Assume it goes into the chilli powder and onion puree?
Delighted to hear you are enjoying glebekitchen. Yes, it is powder and yes it goes in with the onions. I’ve clarified/corrected the recipe. Thanks for the catch!
Thank you so much.
Ingredients ordered! Can’t wait to make this. Im ready for good living.
p.s. your hotel gravy is out of this world!
Awesome. Everyone needs good living:-)
Delighted you are enjoying the hotel curries as well!
I have another question. I’ve done some serious checking, and no where in Canada can I get New Mexico Chile powder. I have gone on line, and Amazon seems to be the only place to order from, however, the shipping is more expensive than the powder!!! Is there anything else I can use that may be available to me, or can you recommend somewhere I can buy it from other than Amazon? Thanks, again.
It so happens I am an expert on sourcing New Mexican red in Canada:-). You can get it from Chilly Chilies in Ottawa and Silk Road in Calgary. I have also just approached local specialty shops and asked them to source it for me. My last batch I actually ordered from the UK. Even with shipping a kilo was cheaper (I use a lot of it).
As I mentioned in the text ancho makes a reasonable stand in. Not the same but pretty good. Bulk Barn has ancho chili powder if you have one of those near you.
This recipe sounds awesome, but I have a question regarding the meat. When I braise beef, I cut away as much of the fat as I can before searing the meat. Would I do this with a pork shoulder? I know it sounds dumb, but wouldn’t it be awfully greasy otherwise? And I don’t imagine the pork tenderloin would work, would it?
It has to be pork shoulder. You can’t braise tenderloin like this. I cut away the big chunks of fat from the pork shoulder when I cube it. Every pork butt is different. If it throws a lot of fat during the braise you can defat it again at the end. I just let it cool a bit and then use a tablespoon to skim it off the surface. But a little fat tastes good IMO. Not too much. But a little.
As with all your recipes this i can imagine tastes as good as it looks and i can’t wait to try this just a couple of questions is this a hot recipe as some of our family don’t do hot and could i use Kashmiri mild chilli powder?
I’ve tried swapping Kashmiri chili powder for New Mexican or ancho to simplify my chili stocking requirements and unfortunately it just doesn’t work. Kashmiri has a distinct flavour profile that just doesn’t seem to work with Mexican. This isn’t crazy hot though. I would put this dish as somewhere between medium and hot (with medium being the baseline heat level for most curries on glebekitchen.
I’ve been a big fan of your Indian food for a while now. I also love chili and pork so I want to give this one a go at the weekend.
My wife’s not a great lover of really spicy hot dishes, the amount of chilli powder in this recipe kind of putting her off, so my question: is the New Mexican chilli powder quite mild or is this one that I cook another time when she’s away?
New Mexican is not a hot chili powder but there is a lot of it. As written (with New Mexican chili powder) I’d put this at a little spicier than the standard medium spiciness across most glebekitchen curries. Not the ones with naga obviously:-).
Hi, just to clarify… The New Mexican chile powder is powdered New Mexican chiles, not ancho or pasilla chile powder? Or would you recommend using a blend of dried powdered chiles? If so, what proportions would you use?
Many thanks, Alyssa
I use pure powdered New Mexican chilies. I stock ancho as well but I really do like the taste of the pure NM Red.
Buy chili powder and other ingredients from a place in New Mexico. Make this recipe often and my New Hampshire relatives and friends are forever begging me to make more. They all say they have never had Mexican food this good. Cooked it in a big old cast iron Dutch oven that seems to make the Carne Adobada even better.
Been making Chili Con Carne con frijoles using ground beef with this recipe. A chili cook-off winner!
Thanks for saying. I’ve slaughtered competition at a few chili cook-offs myself with this one and the chili Colorado recipe on the blog. Once you have the techniques down there’s not stopping you!
This was a fantastic recipe! I used boneless country style ribs and used my instant pot for 35 minutes. Perfect New Mexico style meal. This will be my go-to recipe from now on!
Thank you for saying. I’m so glad you liked it! I’ve never tried it in an Instant Pot so that’s great feedback.
This is a great recipe! Very authentic New Mexico red chili flavor. I used an instant pot and it was amazing. I cooked it in the instant pot for 30 min and next time would let it cook for 45 minute to increase the tenderness. Thanks for the great recipe!!
Great to hear that it worked in your instant pot. So glad you liked it!