Carne Adovada: New Mexico Red Chile Pork Stew

Carne adovada red chile pork stew in a black bowl with garnishes nearby

The Spruce Eats / Zorica Lakonic

Prep: 34 mins
Cook: 2 hrs 30 mins
Total: 3 hrs 4 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
714 Calories
48g Fat
16g Carbs
56g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 714
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 48g 62%
Saturated Fat 17g 83%
Cholesterol 195mg 65%
Sodium 1131mg 49%
Total Carbohydrate 16g 6%
Dietary Fiber 8g 29%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 56g
Vitamin C 4mg 22%
Calcium 155mg 12%
Iron 7mg 40%
Potassium 1240mg 26%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Carne adovada is pork stewed in a sauce of ground dried chiles. If you've never encountered it before, adovada (you may also see it as "adobada") is Spanish for “marinated." In general, this means to cook something in an adobo sauce, which is one made with chiles and flavored with spices.

Don't be alarmed by the full cup of ground red chile powder required; New Mexican red chiles are relatively mild. The stew is warming but never gets too spicy.

In New Mexico, you can find carne adovada on breakfast menus, which may well be one of the best things about New Mexico. However, it makes a delicious meal any time of day. No matter when you eat it, serve carne adovada with corn tortillas.

Note that for this stew, you want to use a tougher cut in with some fat, like the butt/shoulder. The meat will become more tender from the long, slow cooking.

Dried ground New Mexican red chile powder is available online, specialty spice retailers, and supermarkets with extensive spice selections. Keep in mind that it is different from chili powder, which often contains other ingredients such as onion powder and paprika, for example.


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 3 pounds pork butt or pork shoulder, well-trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 2 medium onions, chopped

  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt

  • 1 tablespoon flour, or masa harina

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

  • 1 cup (8 ounces) New Mexican red chile powder

  • 5 to 6 cups water, divided

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Adovada red chile pork stew ingredients gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Zorica Lakonic

  2. Preheat oven to 350 F.

  3. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Once the pot is hot, add the oil.

    Oil heating in a large pot on a burner

    The Spruce Eats / Zorica Lakonic

  4. When the oil is hot, add the pork pieces to brown them. Add only enough pork so the pieces are in a single layer and don't touch each other; you will likely need to do this in batches. The pork should sizzle the second it touches the pot; if it doesn't, remove it and wait for the pot to heat up.

    Pork pieces cooking in a pot with hot oil

    The Spruce Eats / Zorica Lakonic

  5. Cook the pork, undisturbed, until each piece is browned well on one side, about 3 minutes.

  6. Turn and brown on all sides.

    Pork pieces browning on all sides in a pot

    The Spruce Eats / Zorica Lakonic

  7. Transfer the pork to a large bowl or plate and repeat with remaining batches as needed.

    Pork pieces cooking in a hot pot with cooked pork on a plate nearby

    The Spruce Eats / Zorica Lakonic

  8. When all the pork is browned and set aside, add the onions, garlic, and salt to the pot. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft, about 3 minutes.

    Onions, garlic, and salt added to the pot without the pork

    The Spruce Eats / Zorica Lakonic

  9. Sprinkle the onions with flour or masa and pepper and cook, stirring, until the raw flavor of the masa or flour cooks off (if you use flour it will smell a bit like pie crust), about 3 minutes.

    Onions and garlic sprinkled with flour or masa

    The Spruce Eats / Zorica Lakonic

  10. Add the ground chile and stir to combine.

    Ground chile stirred into pot with onions and garlic with a wooden spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Zorica Lakonic

  11. Add 4 cups of water and bring to a boil.

    Water added to pot with onions and chile powder

    The Spruce Eats / Zorica Lakonic

  12. In a blender, whirl the chile mixture until smooth. You may want to do this in batches, depending on the size of your blender. Only fill the blender about 1/2 to 2/3 full and be sure to hold a kitchen towel over the top to protect yourself (and your walls) from any potential splatters.

    Chile powder sauce and onions blended in a blender

    The Spruce Eats / Zorica Lakonic

  13. Return the chile mixture to the pot. If you have a hand-held immersion blender, this is a good time to use it.

    Blended chile sauce added back to the pot

    The Spruce Eats / Zorica Lakonic

  14. Once the sauce is blended, add another 1 cup of water and the browned pork and bring everything to a boil.

    Water and pork added to pot with chile sauce

    The Spruce Eats / Zorica Lakonic

  15. Cover, transfer to the oven, and bake for 1 hour.

    Stockpot covered in the oven

    The Spruce Eats / Zorica Lakonic

  16. Take the pot out of the oven and stir the stew after the first hour. Add an additional 1 cup of water to the pot if the stew seems dry.

    Wooden spoon in pot of carne adovada

    The Spruce Eats / Zorica Lakonic

  17. Recover the pot and return it to the oven to bake until the pork falls apart when you try to cut it with a fork and the sauce is thick, about 1 more hour.

    Pork falling apart into pieces on a plate with two forks

    The Spruce Eats / Zorica Lakonic

  18. Serve the carne adovada hot.

    Cooked carne adovada in a black bowl with onions, peppers, and limes nearby

    The Spruce Eats / Zorica Lakonic 

    Use Caution When Blending Hot Ingredients

    Steam expands quickly in a blender, and can cause ingredients to splatter everywhere or cause burns. To prevent this, fill the blender only one-third of the way up, vent the top, and cover with a folded kitchen towel while blending.

    How to Store and Freeze Carne Adovada

    You can store leftovers in the fridge for 3 to 4 days, and freeze them in freezer-safe containers or zip-close freezer bags for up to 3 months.

    What Is the Difference Between Carne Asada and Carne Adovada?

    Carne adovada is pork that's cooked slowly in a red chile sauce. Carne asada is beef that marinated and usually grilled; it's typically made with flank steak or skirt steak.

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