Rancho de Chimayó was recognized in 2016 by the James Beard Association as one of America’s Classics. It has also been recognized by the state of New Mexico as one of the state’s culinary treasures. They specialize in wonderful New Mexican food, augmented by the red chile that Chimayo is famous for, but an additional element of the appeal is the inviting hacienda setting. It feels cozy and authentic, because it is. They have been serving up delicious New Mexican fare since 1965 with their restaurant becoming a fixture of the community; an intrinsic part of the heritage and history of Chimayo.
Classic Carne Adovada
Carne Adovada has several variations, but the flavor boils down to the red chile and texture is based on slow cooking until the pork is very tender. Depending on whether you cube or shred the pork, it can be used for numerous things from a burrito filling to an egg accessory. When shredding the pork, keep in mind that the acidity in the red chile starts to break down the pork. The recipe below can be prepared a day ahead of time, but I don’t suggest preparing carne adovada way ahead of time, because the red chile makes the pork pulpy within a few days.
Chile Sauce & Marinade
- 1 Tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 8 ounces (about 25) whole, dried New Mexican red chile pods
- 4 cups water
- 2 Tablespoons diced yellow onion
- 1 Tablespoon crushed chile pequin
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried Mexican oregano
- 3 pounds thick boneless shoulder pork chops or pork loin
- Warm the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the garlic and saute until the garlic begins to turn a golden hue. Immediately remove from heat.
- Break the stems off the chile pods and discard the seeds. Place the chiles in a sink or large bowl, rinse carefully and drain. Place the damp pods in one layer on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 5 minutes, watching carefully to avoid burning. The chiles can have a little remaining moisture. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool.
- Break each chile into 2-3 pieces. Puree half the pods in a blender with 2 cups of water. You will be able to see tiny pieces of chile pulp, but they should be bound in a smooth, thick liquid.
- Pour into the saucepan with the garlic. Repeat with remaining pods and water.
- Stir the remaining ingredients (onion, chile pequin, garlic salt, oregano) into the sauce and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce will thicken but should remain a little soupy. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
- Trim fat from pork and cut meat into 1- to 2-inch cubes (smaller if you plan to use it in burritos.) Stir pork into the chile sauce and refrigerate overnight.
- The next day, preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
- Oil a large baking dish that has a cover. Transfer the carne adovada and its sauce to the baking dish. Cover and bake until the meat is completely tender and sauce has cooked down, about 3 hours.
- Stir once about halfway through. If the sauce remains watery after 3 hours, stir well again and cook uncovered for about 15 minutes more.
Serve hot, garnished with chopped lettuce and tomato if desired.
Please leave your recipe modifications, or any questions that you may have, in the comments.
If you live in an area where red chile is hard to find, you can order from the Hatch Chile Store. They ship frozen red and green chile nationwide. They have mild to hot varieties available. Each package is 1 pound, which is approximately 2 cups.