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    Carne Adovada

    If you love big flavors, you’ve found them! Carne Adovada is a stewed pork dish from New Mexico, and it is not to be missed.

    Melt in your mouth tender pork shoulder braises for hours in a chili pepper based sauce. Don’t worry! This one isn’t too spicy. Though, if you want, I’ll teach you how to turn it spicy!

    Carne Adovada is a delightfully flavorful stewed pork dish from New Mexico, where dried chili peppers are the star attraction.

    Dried chili peppers are one of the things that sets Mexican and Southwest-style cuisines apart. They can range from mild to fiery, and always bring their own unique flavor profiles.

    Chilis shine in my Birria Stew, and it’s counterpart, Birria Tacos. And let’s not forget Camarones a la Diabola, the shrimp dish so spicy it will make your eyelids bulge.

    Today’s recipe isn’t heavy on the heat, relying on the relatively mild New Mexico and Ancho chilis, but it sure brings on the flavor!

    Bowl of New Mexican stewed pork on a platter along with rice, tortillas and avocado.

    What is Carne Adovada?

    Carne Adovada is a beloved New Mexican dish featuring tender, slow-cooked pork braised in a rich, red chili sauce.

    Similar to Chile Colorado, except swapping the beef for pork, this stew combines the deep, smoky flavors of dried chilis with aromatic spices.

    Ingredients Needed

    • Dried Chili Peppers – I have found a mix of New Mexico and ancho chilis give a well balanced flavor profile. That being said, feel free to experiment with ratios, or add in other varieties like guajillo. For a spicy version, add some árbol chilis into the mix.
    • Garlic – Garlic is pretty essential, but in a pinch, you could use a small amount of garlic powder as a substitute.
    • White Vinegar – Apple cider vinegar could be a good alternative.
    • Honey – If you prefer not to use honey, maple syrup or agave nectar can be used.
    • Mexican Oregano – Regular oregano can be used, though it lacks the same intensity.
    • Cumin Powder – Another Mexican spice staple.
    • Cayenne Powder – For a little kick (but not as much as adding árbol).
    • Ground Cloves – Adds another layer of flavor. If you don’t have ground, simply place whole cloves between paper towels and crush them with a pestle or similar object.
    • Cooking Oil – Almost any neutral oil, like vegetable or canola oil, can be used for browning the meat.
    • Pork Shoulder – A well marbled cut is ideal. This can be in the form of Boston butt, picnic roast, or shoulder cut country style ribs. For a leaner option, you could use pork loin, but keep in mind it won’t be as tender.
    • White Onion – Yellow onions can be used in place of white onions.

    Carne Adovada Recipe

    1. Prep the chilis: I remove the stems and seeds from the chilis, then briefly toast them in a dry skillet for 1-2 minutes. I transfer them to a small pot and add enough water to completely submerge them. I bring the water to a boil, remove the pot from heat, and let the chilis soak for 10 minutes. Do not discard soaking water.

    Dried chili peppers.

    2. Make chili paste: I transfer the chilis into a blender along with one cup of the soaking water, garlic, vinegar, honey, and spices. Then, I blend until smooth.

    Chili pepper sauce in a blender.

    3. Brown the pork: I give the pork a quick sear in an oiled skillet until it’s browned. Then, I plate it out.

    Browned pork on a plate.

    4. Sauté onion: I add onion and sauté until it starts to soften up.

    5. Cook the adovada: I add the sauce into the pan along with 1 additional cup of the chili soaking water and stir well. Later I add in the pork chunks.

    Adding the pork chunks into the pot.

    I bring the pot to a simmer, reduce heat to low, cover and cook until pork is super tender, about 2-2.5 hours.

    Final product in a large skillet.

    Can I Cook It in a Slow Cooker?

    Absolutely, it is a stew after all!

    I simply follow the same steps above through sautéing the onions. Then, I place the onions, sauce, and pork in my crock pot.

    For the best flavors, I recommend using the additional cup of soaking liquid to deglaze the searing pan, then pouring it into the crock. I don’t want to waste all those browned bits I created searing the meat.

    I place the lid on, then cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.

    Serving Suggestions

    Carne adovada is typically garnished with cilantro and served with rice and/or tortillas, along with lime wedges.

    I also love to shred the pork and use it as a filling for tacos or burritos, or as a topping for nachos, bowl meals, or even baked potatoes.

    For a low carb option, I serve it with cauliflower rice.

    Hmm… how about adovada ramen? Hey, it works with Birria!

    Bowl of New Mexican stewed pork on a platter along with rice, tortillas and avocado.

    Alpana’s Tips

    • Toast Chilis Carefully: When I’m toasting the chilis, I do it over medium heat and keep a close eye on them. They should become fragrant but not burnt, as burnt chilis will give a bitter taste to my sauce.
    • Browning the Pork:I don’t rush browning the pork. This step adds depth to the flavor. I make sure the pork is dry before I add it to the pan, and I don’t overcrowd the pan to ensure a good sear.
    • Skimming the Fat: After the cooking process, there might be excess fat on the surface. I skim this off so my dish isn’t greasy.
    Close up overhead shot of Southwest pork stew in a bowl.

    Give your pork a Southwest makeover tonight! Trust me, once you take your first succulent, tender and flavorful bite, you’ll be hooked!

    Pin or bookmark this delicious recipe so you always know where to find it. And be sure to subscribe to GypsyPlate, we’re always cooking up new recipes for you.

    Carne Adovada, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!

    Bowl of carne adovada atop the Gypsy Plate.

    More great pork recipes:
    Cuban Mojo Pork
    Filipino Pork Adobo
    Italian Pork Steaks
    Crockpot Kalua Pork
    Pork Vindaloo
    Chile Verde

    Featured image for carne adovada recipe post.

    Carne Adovada (New Mexican Stewed Pork)

    Yield: 4-6 servings
    Prep Time: 20 minutes
    Cook Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
    Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes

    Carne Adovada is a delightfully flavorful stewed pork dish from New Mexico, where dried chili peppers are the star attraction.


    • 6 New Mexico chilis
    • 4 ancho chilis
    • 6 cloves garlic
    • 3 Tbsp white vinegar
    • 1 Tbsp honey
    • 1½ tsp Mexican oregano
    • 1½ tsp cumin powder
    • 1 tsp salt + more to season pork
    • ½ tsp cayenne powder
    • ⅛ tsp ground cloves
    • 2 Tbsp cooking oil
    • 2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into bite sized chunks
    • pepper, to taste
    • 1 medium white onion, diced
    • cilantro, for garnish
    • lime wedges, for serving


    1. Cut the stems off and make a slit along the side to open them and discard the seeds. Dry toast them in hot pan for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant (don’t burn them, as they can turn bitter).
    2. Add the chilis into a small pot and add water until they are completely submerged. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, and allow to soak for 10 minutes. Do not discard soaking water.
    3. Transfer soaked chilis, 1 cup of the soaking water, garlic, vinegar, honey, oregano, cumin salt, cayenne and cloves to a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.
    4. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed skillet over medium high heat. Season pork chunks with salt and pepper, and brown on all sides. Work in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding the pan. Remove to a plate.
    5. Add onion to the skillet and sauté until translucent.
    6. Add sauce into the pan along with 1 additional cup of the chili soaking water. Stir well. Add in the pork chunks.
    7. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 2-2.5 hours, until the pork is fork tender.
    8. Before serving, skim the accumulated grease off of the top of the stew and discard.
    9. Serve with your choice of rice and/or tortillas, along with cilantro and lime wedges for garnish.


    1. Feel free to change up the chili pepper ratios, or add in some other varieties such as guajillo. For a spicy version, add 2-4 árbol chilis.
    2. To cook this in a slow cooker, follow steps 1-5 above. Transfer pork, onions and sauce into the slow cooker. Use 1 cup of chili soaking water to deglaze the browning pan, then pour it into the crockpot. Stir well, cover, and cook for 6-8 hours on low, or 3-4 hours on high.
    3. For best flavors, let the dish rest for a bit after cooking. This allows the flavors to settle and the sauce to thicken slightly.
    4. Leftovers: Like all chilis and stews, carne adovada just seems to get better after a day or so, as the flavors mingle together. You can refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Just reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop over medium heat with a splash of additional water.
    5. It also freezes very well. Store it in an airtight container and freeze, using within 2-3 months for best quality.

    Nutrition Information
    Yield 6 Serving Size 1
    Amount Per Serving Calories 510Total Fat 37gSaturated Fat 12gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 22gCholesterol 136mgSodium 493mgCarbohydrates 6gFiber 1gSugar 4gProtein 36g

    Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

    Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

    Picture of Alpana, blogger and recipe developer at GypsyPlate

    Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.

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      6 thoughts on “Carne Adovada”

      • I made this for the first time… it was so good… flavors are intense but not really super hot and spicy… but there is a bit of a kick afterwards.

      • cooking this in my crock pot now… I’m sure it will be delicious! but I found a typo/omission in the recipe instructions… step 3 says “Transfer soaked chilis, 1 cup of the soaking water, vinegar, honey, oregano, cumin salt, cayenne and cloves to a blender…”
        You may notice these one missing word – garlic! it’s listed in the ingredients and highlighted as essential in the text, but somehow it is missing in the text of the recipe instructions! I noticed it a bit late and just added to the crock pot.

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