Carne adovada is a braised pork dish made with a puree of coffee, raisins, and chili powder. Make this New Mexican recipe for dinner tonight!
What is carne adovada?
This dish, also spelled carne adobada, is named after the cooking process. In Spanish, it translates to “marinated meat,” and traditionally that’s exactly how this meal is prepared.
Even though the pork in this carne adovada recipe isn’t marinated first, it still comes out just as tender and delicious.
That’s because the ingredients are browned and caramelized first, which brings out their flavors. Also, the meat is cooked in the sauce itself to achieve that perfect fall-apart texture.
INGREDIENTS & SUBSTITUTIONS
- Boneless pork shoulder – or pork loin roast, but the meat won’t be as tender
- Strong brewed coffee – use a medium or dark roast
- Onion, chopped
- Garlic – or pre-minced garlic
- Chipotle chile in adobo sauce – usually sold in a can from the Mexican aisle of the store
- Chicken broth – or use chicken or vegetable stock
- Flour – regular all-purpose
- Chili powder – for a more authentic flavor, use Chimayo ground red chile
- Mexican oregano – if you can’t find this, use regular oregano instead
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Lime wedges
- Pico de gallo
- Chopped cilantro
What is the difference between Mexican oregano and regular oregano?
The variety commonly found in spice racks and grocery stores is actually Mediterranean oregano. It’s a member of the mint family is most often used in Greek and Italian recipes.
Mexican oregano, however, is a relative of Lemon Verbena and is native to Mexico. It is also very pungent and has notes of mild licorice and citrus.
You can use regular oregano in Mexican dishes if that’s all you have on hand, but you won’t get that true authentic flavor.
How to make carne adovada
Prep the ingredients
- First, brew the coffee, then steep the raisins in it until they are plump.
- Whisk together the flour, chili powder, and Mexican oregano in a small bowl.
- Measure out and chop the remaining ingredients. Set aside with the coffee-soaked raisins and flour mixture.
Brown the meat
- Next, cut up the pork and pat dry before seasoning.
- Cook in a Dutch oven in batches until all the meat has been browned.
Make the puree
- Sauté the onion, then the garlic and chipotle chile.
- Stir in the flour mixture and cook for about a minute to remove the raw flour taste. Then add the liquids and raisins and bring to a boil.
- Remove from heat and puree everything until smooth. You will need to do this in 2-3 batches, depending on the size of your blender or food processor.
Cook the pork
- Place the browned pork in the Dutch oven and pour the puree over the top, stirring to combine.
- Bake, covered, for 2 hours and serve straight out of the oven over rice.
- Leftover carne adobada can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
This recipe first appeared on Kevin Is Cooking August 2018 and has updated photos and a video.
Watch how to make this carne adovada recipe below!
- 1 cup strong coffee (See Note 1)
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/3 cup chili powder (See Note 2)
- 1 tsp Mexican oregano (See Note 3)
- 5 lb boneless pork shoulder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cups white onion chopped
- 6 garlic cloves minced
- 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce minced
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 6 limes
- pico de gallo (optional for topping)
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Add raisins to cup of hot coffee and allow to plump, 5 minutes. Set aside. In a small bowl whisk together the chili powder, flour and oregano. Set aside.
- Cut pork into 1 1/2-inch chunks and season with salt and pepper.
- Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown half of the pork, about 10 minutes. Transfer to plate and repeat with remaining pork.
- Add onion to the Dutch oven and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and chipotle, stirring for 2 minutes, scraping up browned bits on bottom of pan.
- Add chili flour mixture and cook for about 1 minute. Add broth and coffee raisin mixture, scraping up any browned bits, and bring to boil.
- Puree using a hand blender (immersion blender) OR work in 2 batches and carefully transfer mixture to blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Return pork to pot and pour sauce on top. Stir and cover with lid. Bake for 2 hours.
- Season to taste and serve over rice with lime wedges and pico de gallo (optional) or chopped cilantro.
- I've used 1/2 cup of espresso, 1/2 cup coffee before too. Feel free to substitute.
- Feel free to use Chimayo ground red chile for the chili powder for a more authentic flavor.
- Feel free to use regular oregano if you like or can't find Mexican oregano. Mexican oregano is a relative of Lemon Verbena and is native to Mexico. Similar in that it’s pungent like Mediterranean oregano, Mexican oregano has notes of mild licorice and citrus. Mediterranean oregano is a member of the mint family and most often is used in Greek and Italian recipes. Mediterranean oregano is the one most found in spice racks and supermarkets.