New Mexican Carne Adovada

New Mexican Carne Adovada

New Mexican Carne Adovada is a dish that is quintessentially New Mexican although versions have traveled Northward into Colorado where I lived for many years. When cravings for the deep red chili flavor comes on, New Mexican Carne Adovada is how I satisfy it.

New Mexican Carne Adovada

New Mexican Carne Adovada


New Mexican Carne Adovada is little spiciness balanced by a lot of earthy soul; a touch of vinegar accents those flavors beautifully and rounds it out nicely. Traditionally, Adovada is very simple home cooking, but don’t let that lull you into thinking it’s not one of the best Mexican/Southwestern dishes you’ll ever eat.

About New Mexican Carne Adovada:

There’s a complexity here from the long marination in the sauce, which is basically an Adobo. If you follow me (and if you don’t, I’d love it if you would – see the right-hand sidebar) you’ve heard me talk about Adobo before, in my post about my Adobo seasoning You might also know adobo because of its use in canned Chipotles in Adobo sauce. The difference is, this Adobo tastes so very good and has the signature adobe flavorings of chile spiked with vinegar and the faintest hint of sweet/sour flavors.

And there’s that the long, slow braise that leaves this pork succulent and coated with a caramelized exterior from that Adobo sauce. When your New Mexican Carne Adovada is finished, you’ll have gorgeous chunks of meat that will be all but fall apart tender when gently pressed with your fork. It’s the perfect thing to load into tacos or burritos!

If you’re a lover of Mexican food, you might look at this recipe and think, “Wow, she spelled it wrong!” But no, I didn’t. Typically in New Mexico (which used to be a part of Mexico long ago, right, and only became a state in 1912!) the dish is called Adovada. In Mexico, the dish is similar but there it is usually called Carne Adobada.


New Mexican Carne Adovada

New Mexican Carne Adovada

Making New Mexican Carne Adovada:

This  New Mexican Carne Adovada follows a pretty typical method of toasting the chiles, then deseeding them before adding them to a blender with the other aromatics and spices to form a sauce. And that’s where this takes a left turn from many Mexican dishes. The sauce is poured over the pork and marinated overnight, so plan accordingly.

Then the braise starts, with the Carne Adovada covered at first, then uncovered so that sauce bakes into the meat and caramelizes into just a beautiful thing. Your Adovada recipe should never be complicated. It should be simple and rely on those simple techniques to really drive those flavors home.

I normally serve Adovado with tortillas, either corn or flour and maybe beans and rice and the normal “fixings” but hominy is another time-honored traditional side. If you want to serve my Spicy Pintos, or Doctor up a can of Refrieds that tastes like they came from a restaurant, both would be ideal. I have several Mexican type rice dishes on my side, but I’d go with the Restaurant Style Mexican Rice or even better, a rice cooked with broth so it won’t compete with the flavor of the Adovada.

I really like to use a dry Mexican cheese in these rather than the normal cheddar or cheddar/jack blends you so often see in Southwestern dishes. That shredded cheese just kills the flavor of the Adovada. If you can’t find a Queso Fresco, try a little Feta, just for a bit of an accent.

Saving Money on New Mexican Carne Adovada:

Pork shoulders go on sale so regularly and are one of the most inexpensive proteins. Watch for them to be lowest in the fall or a month or two before any big holiday when ham is served. Hey, they need to do something with everything else on those pigs that give their lives for our Easter, Thanksgiving or Christmas ham!

If you have access to a Mexican market, you’ll often find chiles at a lower price than at the basic grocery store.

New Mexican Carne Adovada

New Mexican Carne Adovada

New Mexican Carne Adovada

  • Servings: 6 - 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 3 to 3 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, fat trimmed and meat cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
  • 8 ounces, about 24 whole, dried New Mexican chiles, rinsed
  • 2 cups chicken or beef stock
  • 2 large onions, chunked
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste

In a large, dry skillet over medium heat, toast chiles, turning often until they begin to expand and soften. Watch carefully and remove immediately if they begin to burn, which will make them bitter.

Let cool, break apart and remove stems and seeds. Add the chiles to blender along with a cup of the stock and puree. Add the remaining ingredients (except pork) and blend until a thick, smooth liquid is formed.

Place pork in a baking dish, pour the sauce over, stirring to coat all the pork, cover and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to cook, preheat oven to 300 degrees and bake, covered, until meat is nearly tender, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. At this point, taste the sauce and add more sugar, salt or vinegar if needed.

Place the dish, uncovered, back into the oven and continue to bake another 30 minutes until sauce is thickened and noticeably darker and the chunks of meat nearly fall apart when gently pressed.

Leftovers are outstanding but reheat gently so as not to toughen meat (defrost setting on a microwave works well.)


You know I’ll be bringing this to our Throwback Thursday #39 Link Party, hosted by Quinn of Dad What’s for Dinner, Meaghan of 4 Sons are Us, Alli of Tornadough, Carlee from Cooking with Carlee and Moi! That’s right – me!

Click over to our latest Throwback Thursday post for links to their blogs and social media, rules and more info or just click on the blue leapfrog, below, to view all the Throwback Thursday Posts or enter your own!

I’ll also bring this to Angie’s Fiesta Friday, hosted this week by two of my favorite bloggers:  Loretta @ Safari of the Mind and Linda @ Fabulous Fare Sisters.

I’m happy to say this dish was featured on Fiesta Friday.

34 thoughts on “New Mexican Carne Adovada

  1. OH WOW, that looks so good. My sis lives in NM I am going to ask her to send me some chilies so I can give this a go. You can tell just by looking at it just how flavorful and delicious it is. Beautiful!!

  2. Yay, I’ve learned something new today. I don’t believe I’ve heard of this dish that originated in New Mexico? Although it is new to me, some of your spices used are very familiar. Love the sweet and sour flavors coming through. Thanks so much for bringing this to the Fiesta, enjoy your weekend Mollie 🙂

    • As I wrote this post I thought about so many of the different bloggers throughout the world that use methods kind of like this is one way or another.

      This sauce would work really well with eggplant (lol) as we call it – since it wouldn’t need to cook as long you could use another time honored technique. Toast your chiles, then blend them up with less liquid (water is fine for the liquid) then put it in a deep pan that you’ve heated a bit of oil in and let it sputter and “fry” to take the edge off the chiles. Stir it often so it doesn’t scorch and let it reach desired thickness then spoon over the eggplant and bake.

  3. kat

    I love love love adobe sauce! What an awesome recipe! I’m always looking for more ways to incorporate it into dishes! I can’t wait to try this!

    • Kat, I bet you will LOVE this!! I always tinker just a little at the end and add a teensy splash of vinegar and maybe, depending on the chile a touch more sugar. I love the slight sweet/sour kick that adobo has!

Hearing from you makes my day! Comment below.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.