My in-laws live in Mexico near the city of Durango, we often visit and have the pleasure of cooking a whole pig in an underground pit. One of my favorites preparations is carne adobada. It’s so tasty and by the time you take it out of the pit the meat is almost falling off the bone
- 16 dried red chile pods
- 3 tsps salt
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 tsps oregano
- 5 lbs. pork
- The directions said to bake the chile pods for a few minutes and warned against breathing in the fumes. No kidding! I ran the exhaust fan just to be safe. And just the voice of experience here… it helps to wear gloves when handling the chiles unless you want to wash your hands repeatedly and then scratch your nostril and then experience the sensation of Burning Nostril for the next hour.
- Carne adovada is a spicy dish. I guess the spiciness depends on how spicy your chiles are. Now, I love spicy, as in “mouth on fire” spicy (I’m Chinese, what can I say!). This spicy isn’t that hot as opposed to full of spice – it tastes like chiles. Does that make sense? I love how the flavor infiltrates every bite of tender pork.
- I used pork loin because the recipe said to use a tender cut. My brain was on vacay, because if you bake any cut for 4 hours, it’s going to become tender whether it was to begin with or not. If you like white meat, go for the pork loin. Me – I prefer the juicy dark meat. I love a hunk of pork shoulder cooked for hours on end, rendered “fall apart” tender. It has so much more flavor, in my opinion. I’ll make a note to do that in the future. The recipe actually takes 2 days because the pork marinates in the chile purée for 24 hours. Don’t skimp on the time – it’s worth it to let it go for 24 hours.
- When the pork came out of the oven, I shredded it with two forks. Can’t help it, it’s the Southerner in me. Jeremy would like to mention that you can also cut it into chunks. Shred. I like the shred.
- I’m actually reserving most of the carne adovada for tamales, to be blogged at a later date. However, we couldn’t resist having some for lunch today with warm tortillas, cheddar, and avocado. Typically it should be smothered with red sauce, but I didn’t make any and the carne adovada was amazing without it anyway.
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Remove stems from the chile pods. Place pods in a pan and bake for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chiles are lightly roasted. Leave oven door open (I didn’t do this). Don’t breathe the fumes! I shook the seeds out of the pods and discarded them. Place pods in a medium bowl and cover them with boiling water. Let them sit for 30 minutes. Drain the water from the chile pods, but reserve about 2 cups for the purée. Place pods in a food processor or blender. Add the salt, garlic, and oregano. Cover the mixture with the chile water. Blend well for 2 minutes or until the skins disappear. Cut the pork into 2×4 inch strips. Place the pork in a ziploc bag and add the sauce. Thoroughly coat the pork. Refrigerate for 24 hours. Preheat oven to 325°F. Place pork and sauce in a baking dish. Cover and bake for 4 hours or until meat is tender. Shred or chop meat.