This Carne Adovada (red chile-cured pork) takes overnight preparation, but it is worth the wait. First, you’ll make the red chile sauce, which you can use as a foundation for other New Mexican recipes like enchiladas or Chile Colorado (a similar dish to this one but made with beef). Once the sauce is made, cover uncooked and cubed pork with the sauce and let it marinate overnight. It can be served as a main dish, added to breakfast burritos, and more.
(Makes 4 Servings)
2.1 pounds of tender pork cut (shoulder butt was used in this recipe, but you can ask your local rancher for their recommendation)
24 dried red chile pods (New Mexico-grown)
1 qt boiling water
1 tbsp fat (lard, bacon grease, olive oil)
1 clove chopped garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
Make Chile Sauce (Yields about 4 cups of sauce)
1. Wash and dry chile pods, remove stems and seeds. Wear disposable gloves to avoid the sting from the capsaicin in the chile.
2. Place the chile pods in warm oven (around 170 degrees) for 10 minutes to blister the chile skin. Check often.
3. Remove chile pods, add to boiling water, and let soak until the pods are soft. With hands, peel the skin off the chile pods and place the pulp inside a blender. You can use some of the chile skin or leave it out.
4. Add chopped garlic and seasonings to the blender and blend until combined. (For other dishes, cook the sauce for five minutes before using and check the other recipe for instructions.) Now, set aside the sauce for curing the pork.
1. Remove fat from pork and cut meat into cubes.
2. Place the pork in a container with a lid and pour the chile to cover the pork. Leave in the refrigerator for 24 hours to cure.
1. Take out the meat from the fridge.
2. Using tongs to remove meat from the chile sauce, brown the meat in hot lard or oil in a skillet or pan. A lid is recommended to prevent red chile from flying everywhere.
3. Add chile sauce that it was cured in to taste. This will also prevent drying.
4. Cover, cook slowly, and turn the meat every so often until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
5. Serve with sides of your choice (try the Watercress Salad for a full Fabiola Cabeza de Baca Gilbert meal) and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Historic Cookery and The Good Life: New Mexico Traditions and Food by Fabiola Cabeza de Baca Gilbert. Adaptation and photos by Alison Penn.