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Carne Adobada (Red Chile and Pork Stew)

This is definitely something Diana Kennedy would make or a dish that a Mexican grandmother would proudly serve to family and friends. I was equally proud when I served this and David and I agreed it would be a great dish to make for company. It can be made ahead of time and will dazzle the palates of your guests. Flan would be a terrific way to end the meal.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword pork
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 6 - 8
Author The Cowgirl Gourmet slightly adapted this recipe from the August 2011 issue of Saveur magazine


  • 5 oz. dried New Mexico chiles stems removed (I used 4 Ancho chiles and 4 guajillos)
  • 2 tablespoons New Mexico chile powder
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 lime juiced (1/2 in the sauce and then half at the end just before serving)
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 lbs. all-natural bone-in pork shoulder excess fat removed and cut into 1-1/2" chunks
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Warm corn tortillas for serving


  1. Fill a pot or a tea kettle with water and place over high heat until the water boils.
  2. Cut excess fat off of the all-natural pork shoulder and cut in 1 1/2-inch chunks.
  3. Heat chiles in a 6-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat, and cook, turning once or twice, until puffy and toasted, about 5 minutes. Do not burn them. Transfer to a large bowl and cover with 8 cups of boiling water. Let sit for 20 minutes.
  4. While the chiles soak, add chile powder, honey, white wine vinegar, cumin, cloves, cayenne pepper and juice of 1/2 a lime to the blender.
  5. Remove chiles from the water, transfer to a blender and add 1 1/2 cups of the colored water that the chiles soaked in. Puree until smooth and set sauce aside.
  6. Return Dutch oven to medium-high heat and add oil. Season pork chunks with salt and pepper and, working in batches, add the pork to the pot and cook until browned on all sides. This will take about 12 minutes.
  7. Once all of the pork has cooked, pour the red chile sauce over the pork and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally until the sauce is thickened and pork is tender, about 1 1/2 hours. (Note: Stay close to the Dutch oven for the first 15 minutes or so of cooking as you don't want it to cook too fast, but rather just barely percolate at a slow simmer...too much heat will create a big mess of splatters all over, and considering this chile sauce is definitely in the familia de manchamantel [stains the tablecloth], I don't recommend this.)
  8. At the end, squeeze the juice of the remaining 1/2 lime in the pot and stir well to combine. Cook another five minutes and then serve.
  9. Serve with rice, beans and warm, homemade corn tortillas.
  10. If there are any leftovers, which there may not be, serve for breakfast the next day with scrambled or fried eggs.