Carne Adovada (New Mexico-Style Pork With Red Chiles)

One of the things I dearly miss since moving back to Hawaii is our Moveable Feast group. Never have I laughed so much or eaten so much as the times I spent with my amazing friends. I loved (and hated) the challenge of finding a dish to fit the theme (read about some of them here). And there was the stress of whether or not the dish would actually turn out the way it should, or at least be edible. But being part of Moveable Feast challenged me to try new recipes that I might have overlooked. Over the years we ate many wonderful things and many of the recipes I prepared made their way into my repertoire. One of those recipes is Carne Adovada from J. Kenji López-Alt.

Carne adovada

Why I like this recipe

The theme for this particular Moveable Feast was the chiles of New Mexico - red vs green. Not having a preference of one over the other, I researched recipes and came across this one. There were a few reasons why I chose this recipe. The first is I've never gone wrong with a recipe from J. Kenji Lopez-Alt.

The second reason I like this recipe is, at the time he developed this recipe he was living in New York and made some modifications based on the dry, brittle chiles he typically found in his local grocery store (as opposed to freshly dried chiles found in New Mexico). Given that these older, drier chiles are what I had available to me in Boston (and now in Hawaii), this recipe was a great match. Some of the modifications that may not seem to be traditional are the additions of orange juice concentrate and fish sauce. Not being familiar with New Mexico cuisine, I think the recipe works - but to a purist, maybe these extra ingredients are sacrilege.

Thirdly, as much as I like easy recipes, there is something to be said about the time it takes to develop a rich, deeply-flavored stew from scratch. And on the scale of difficulty, this recipe really isn't bad, it just takes a little bit of time. I think it's worth it.

Carne adovada

How to serve carne adovada

My favorite way to eat carne adovada is as a soft taco with a little bit of cotija, cilantro, and pickled red onions.

I've also shredded the pork and rolled it in corn or flour tortillas with some cotija cheese to make enchiladas. The recipe makes enough sauce to provide a base and topping for the enchiladas. Top everything with a bit more cheese and bake it in the oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Carne adovada is also great over rice - plain white rice or a lime cilantro rice work. Serve it with pickled onions, maybe a simple green salad.

Carne adovada tacos