Once you try this Carne Adovada Recipe, you’ll understand why its one of New Mexico’s most celebrated dishes. If you love New Mexico cuisine, you must learn to make this at home. Amazing in flavor, and one of the easiest braised pork recipes you’ll find.
About This Recipe – Why It Works
It happened sometime between the Cochinita Pibil Enchladas at Bella’s restaurant in Taos and the Carne Adovada Plate at The Shed in Santa Fe, that I knew I had fallen head over heels in love with New Mexico Red Chile Sauce. Red Chile Pork to be exact.
Pieces of lean pork, slow-roasted in a sauce of red chile, garlic and oregano are possibly the most delicious food I’ve ever eaten. Enter my obsession with Carne Adovada.
I’ve had this dish in New Mexico about a dozen times. It’s actually about the only thing I’ll order when traveling there.
Unless I’m at The Shed, then I simply can’t resist their Blue Corn Tortilla Cheese Enchiladas…which, by the way comes served with Carne Adovada.
What is Carne Adovada? A signature dish of New Mexico, that combines the rich deep Southwestern flavors of red chile sauce with the savory tender pork.
This spicy and richly flavored chile-braised pork dish is perfect on its own, or a crazy good filling for tacos, burritos or enchiladas.
What Goes Into This Recipe – Ingredients
Carne Adovada marinade and sauce is a beautiful robust deeply red gravy flavored so that melts around your tongue with such an earthy definitive Southwestern blast that you can’t wait to take your next bite.
It’s kind of a “hot but it’s not” experience. It’s divine. And the secret to a good a good Carne Adovada recipe is using New Mexico ground red chile powder. I find this easier and more flavorful than using dried chiles.
This recipe is modeled after The Shed’s Carne Adovada Recipe.
I have an arsenal of different varities, and I’ve made this pork dish with most of them. But the king of chile powders is New Mexico Chimayo, from red chiles from the village of Chimayo.
- Onions: Yellow or sweet onions for this recipe.
- Molasses: Use regular molasses rather than black strap. Black strap molasses will impart a slightly stronger and bitter flavor to the sauce.
- Chile Powder: New Mexico Chile Powder is a must to make this an authentic Carne Adovada recipe. The heat level is of that chile powder is up to you. I use a medium heat powder.
- Coriander and Cumin: Go hand in hand in so many New Mexican, Southwestern Recipes.
- Oregano: I highly recommend you use Mexican Oregano if you can find it. It carries a more pungent and citrus flavor than regular oregano.
- Flour, Fat and Chicken Broth: to form that beautiful roux for the red chile gravy.
- Pork Loin Roast: Using a pork loin roast, gives us a leaner option, one where the meat will stay in more of a chunk form, nice and tender as it soaks up all of the beautiful flavor from this rich red chile sauce.
Recipe Ingredient Swaps
- This recipe calls for thick rich molasses. If you don’t have molasses on hand, use 1 Tablespoon brown sugar. Dark and light will work. Honey is also a good replacement for molasses.
- What if I can’t find New Mexico Chile Powder? I prefer Chimayo Chile Powder. If you simply can’t get your hands on any type of New Mexico Chile Powder, I’d use a very good quality Ancho Chile Powder.
- If you don’t have Mexican Oregano, marjoram.
- If you don’t have cider vinegar, use sherry vinegar, red wine vinegar, white vinegar, or white wine vinegar. Balsamic vinegar is discouraged as it would change the flavor profile of Carne Adovada.
- Olive Oil: Use either a mild flavored olive oil or neutral oil such as canola.
Mexican Oregano is preferred for this recipe. It’s peppery, grassy, earthy flavor is a good compliment for Mexican Food. If you don’t have Mexican Oregano, substitute Marjoram. Known for its aroma and delicate flavor, its related to oregano and will bring a sweet undertone to any recipe.
How To Make Red Chile Pork
- Step 1: Cut the pork loin roast into bite sized pieces. Heat a skillet over medium high heat, add oil and brown pork in batches as to not overcrowd. Overcrowding the chunks of pork will steam them as opposed to searing them. Make sure to get a good sear on the outside without cooking through. That sear adds flavor. Remove to a plate and set aside.
- Step 2: In the meantime make the rich red chile sauce.
How To Make The Red Chile Sauce
- Step 3: Saute the chopped onions in butter until tender, over medium heat. This should take about 5 – 7 minutes.
- Step 4: Then add the flour and stir well. Cook for a couple of minutes until flour is just starting to toast.
- Add the chicken broth and stir well. Cook for a few minutes to thicken the consistency of gravy.
- Add the Chile Powder, cumin, coriander and oregano. Stir to blend spices.
- Step 7 and 8: Add the molasses and stir to combine until blended.
- Step 9: Add the seared pork back into the sauce.
- Step 10: Stir the sauce and pork together, cover and marinate in the refrigerator overnight, or for a least 2 – 3 hours.
- Step 11:Bake covered at 350 degrees for 2 – 3 hours, or until pork is tender. Don’t over cook, pork can become dry.
I’ve made this red chile pork recipe about ten times trying to get it just as I remember from my experiences in New Mexico. I’ve studied many recipes to finally come up with a final method I found to be best.
Some recipes call for the king of braised pork cuts, a pork shoulder roast. A more flavorful cut of meat, and perfect for shredded pork dishes, I found it to return a more “shredded” version than what I was looking for. And being a fattier cut, the sauce was greasier, which meant taking time to strain off the fat before serving. That’s a pain. I suggest a pork loin roast for this recipe.
There’s a splash of vinegar in this recipe, but why? Vinegar is magic. And in my kitchen, it’s as important as salt and pepper. Plain and simple, a splash of vinegar can brighten, balance and sharpen your food.
Absolutely yes. Just place leftovers in an airtight container and freeze. Defrost at room temperature and re-heat stovetop.
Carne Adovada is made with pork and simmered in a New Mexico Red Chile Sauce. Carne Asada is made with steak. Flank steak is commonly used, marinated, and then grilled and served with fresh vegetables such as jalapeno pepper, avocado and lime.
New Mexico Carne Adovada Recipe
I hope you give this New Mexican specialty a try. It’s actually an easy fix for big return on flavor. The key to the unique balance end result flavor is adding vinegar and molasses at the end of the cooking time.
This red chile pork is beautiful as a stand alone dish, and absolutely amazing when used in tacos, enchiladas or burritos.
And if you love Mexican food as much as we do, don’t miss my Mexican Food Category. You’ll find lots of exciting dishes including the most popular on my site for Campechana, Mexican Shrimp Cocktail.
And don’t miss one of the most famous and most popular New Mexico Recipes on my site: New Mexico Hatch Green Chili with Pork
More New Mexico Recipes
And, don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter for more delicious recipes and cooking tips. Make it a delicious day … every day.
If you’ve tried this or any other recipe on my website, please leave a star rating in the recipe card below. And write a review in the comment section. I always appreciate your feedback.
New Mexico Carne Adovada
- 2 1/2 pounds Pork loin roast cubed
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- For the gravy
- 3 Tablespoons Butter
- 3 Tablespoons Flour
- 2 Tablespoons Chile Powder New Mexico Chimayo Red. Add more if you want more heat
- 2 1/2 cups Chicken Broth
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander ground, dried
- 1 teaspoon Oregano Preferably Mexican
- 1 Tablespoons Molasses Not Blackstrap
- 2 Tablespoon Cider Vinegar Sherry Vinegar is a good choice here.
- Cut pork loin roast into large bite sized pieces. Salt and pepper to taste.Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil. When oil is hot, add pork pieces and brown on two sides. Cook in batches as not to crowd the pork. The pork will brown better.
- Remove pork to a plate.
- Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add butter. Once butter bubbles and bubbles start to subside, add onions. Cook onions, stirring, until just starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute until fragrant. About 1 minute.
- Add flour and cook, stirring constantly for two minutes. Add chile powder, chicken broth and cook stirring, until gravy starts to thicken. Add cumin, coriander and oregano. Cook for 1 minutes for flavors to blend.
- Remove from heat and add browned pork.
- Stir well, cover and place in refrigerator to marinade overnight. Or for at least 2 – 3 hours before cooking.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cook 2 – 2 1/2 hours or until pork is tender.
- Remove pork from oven and stir in molasses and vinegar.
- Place the lid back on the pot and let it steep for about 15 minutes.
- Serve with lime wedges. Serve with rice, hominy or beans, flour tortillas or all. You can also top with a dollop of Sour Cream and some fresh diced sweet onions.
New Mexico Carne Adovada (pork in red chile sauce) … It’s What’s for Dinner
Katherine A Dietz says
Hi Lea Ann,
About 2 years ago I asked about the rice and beans recipes, have you found the brand name of the canned beans yet? Also in the comments you mention to add 2 tbsp tomato paste to the rice as it is cooking and further down in the comments you say to add 2 tbsp seasoning mix to the rice; is it 2 tbsp of each to the rice or do I use the whole seasoning pkt and just add the tomato paste?
Also can the Carne adovada be cooked in sauce in the crockpot?
Guy Auxer says
Loved this recipe. I unfortunately used less pork and thus the ratio of pepper to meat was a bit higher than my wife preferred. Modified that the second time. This is one of our go to taco fillings.
MARY TOGNAZZINI says
I LISTION TO BOOKS AND KEEP BUSY, WHO IS MAUD DIXON AND SING THEM HOME, I’LL CHECK OUT MARTIN MARTIN, SOUNDS GOOD. M
gregory anderson says
We enjoyed this in Nogales Mexico on our honeymoon decades ago. We’ve eaten and made it many times. The main thing we found in NM style is using bay leaf in the recipe/marinade. It truly sets it off.
Thanks for the recipe. I’m glad I found your site. Formerly of NM, now in Texas, a fan.
This is one of the best dishes we’ve made, simply delicious. It’s become a regular menu item.
The flavor was fabulous, thanks for sharing Lea Ann
After scouring the internet for a copycat adovada recipe from our favorite Mexican restaurant, I think I’ve finally found the one that is most authentic! Made it today in the crock pot – delicious!
Lynne Pettman says
Hi and thanks for the above recipe. Once I have had a chance to make it, I will offer my comments. I like the tip regarding vinegar, I finish almost all of my savory recipes with fresh lemon juice, similar effect. Can you direct me to a recipe for the rice you show on the plate with the prorogued? It looks delicious.
Lea Ann Brown says
Good Morning Lynne and thanks for your note.
That rice: I buy a package of Mexican rice seasoning from a local market. It’s the best ingredients I’ve found to make Spanish Rice. My goal one of these days is try to recreate it and post the recipe. And what makes it especially good is adding two tablespoons of tomato paste to the cooked rice along with the seasoning.
Please let me know how you like the Adovada and a review would be fabulous.
Let me know if you have any other questions.
Cooking On The Ranch
Spanish rice is very easy.
1/4cup white rice per person. (I usually make 4-6 servings
1- 8o.z. can tomato sauce
1 can chicken broth
1/2 frozen pea and carrots
1/2 onion diced
2 til so of butter.
Melt butter in skillet. I’m mid/high heat. Add onion and cook until onions are clear. Add dry rice and Brown. Once browned add chicken broth and tomato sauce. Add pea and carrots. Cook until rice absobs all the liquid.
Your recipes always inspire me to new levels! Love the layers of sweet, savory and spicy flavors in this dish, and it’s positively gorgeous!
Robin Daumit says
The spice profile in this dish is splendid! I love that you use molasses as the sweetener!