Sunday, September 5, 2010

Experiments in the Kitchen - Carne Adovada

With the recent harvest of green chiles and New Mexico on our mind, hubby mentioned how he has been craving Carne Adovada since we left New Mexico.  He's had the dish at numerous reastaurants on the East Coast but they weren't the same as the kind you can find in Albuquerque.   I don't know what posessed me (maybe the crazy human currently habiting my womb), but I decided why not try to recreate it at home and bring the flavors to us?!

Pork marinating in a red chile liquid.

I visited the local Mexican market for a few key ingredients but I wasn't able to find the chimayo chile powder nor the chile caribe needed for the traditional version of the recipe I found here.  Chimayo and chile caribe are particular to New Mexico and it's not terribly surprising I couldn't find them locally.  I didn't let that stop me.  I perused the local Mexican market (consulting a market employee) and purchased some guajillo chile pods (for flavor) along with some arbol chiles (for heat).  When I got them home, I processed them as finely as I could along with the other marinade ingredients to create the ground red chile flavor found in the traditional recipe.

My improvised recipe went like this:

Ingredients:
6 lbs. pork butt, cut in 4  to 5 inch cubes and trimmed (leaving bone in during marination and cooking process)
4 c. diced onion
4 T. minced garlic
4 c. chicken broth
4 c. water
4 t. ground coriander seed
4 t. dried Mexican oregano
16 Guajillo Chile Pods
16 Arbol Chiles Pods (in retrospect I will use double the arbols for added heat)
4 T. honey
4 T. red wine vinegar
salt to taste

Place the coriander, oregano, chiles, honey, vinegar, onions, garlic and salt in the food processor. Add one cup of the chicken broth.  Mix thoroughly.  Once mixed and peppers are minced thoughly, add an additional 3 c. of chicken broth. Process until combined. (I tasted the sauce at this stage and worried that the pork would be too hot.  The final cooked pork turned out fine.  It could have even used more heat as hubby likes it crazy hot.)

Pour the marinade mix over the meat in a large pot, cover and refrigerate overnight. Pour the meat and the marinade into an ovenproof casserole or pot and bake, covered, for 2 to 2-1/2 hours, or until tender. (I slow cooked mine in a crock pot on high for 6 hours.)  Remove the meat and fork shred it.  Discard any fatty bits.  Pour some (a cup or two) of the remaining cooking liquid over the shredded pork to taste.  The more sauce, the more heat you will add back into the meat mixture.  Add salt to taste.  Discard any unused sauce.

Fork shredded pork.

The result for us, while not made completely traditionally, replicated the flavors we remembered.  We chose to serve ours as we had it in New Mexico.  Usually, the meat was served in a tortilla with red sauce and some shredded cheese on top and baked until the cheese was melted.  My husband routinely ordered his "Christmas" style using both green and red sauces. Green sauce is not a traditional choice, but a tasty one. 

The Final Product.

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