I'm home for the holidays and was trying to think of something festive to make over the weekend. There were the usual suspects like turkey or ribroast, but I wanted to go for something a little less traditional but equally as memorable. Pork generally is not one of those dishes but for me the all-mighty pork is up there on the list of celebratory foods, so when I came across this recipe I knew I had to make it. This dish is simple and straightforward but complex and comforting, in essence– home. It takes a couple hours to make but once it's in the oven you can forget about it and let it fill your house with incredible smells.
Carne adovada originated from Mexican and found popularity in New Mexico where it's a staple and is truly some of the best pork I've ever had. The red sweet chiles and mix of spices like cinnamon creates a rich flavorful sauce, perfect to soak up with some corn tortillas or hominy. The pork is cooked until fork-tender and shredded directly in the sauce. Topped with some creamy avocados and it's absolutely amazing.
- 3 pounds of boneless pork shoulder (I used 2 1.5 pound pieces)
- 6 New Mexico dried chiles or any combination of chiles you prefer
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 5-7 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon of whole cumin
- 1 teaspoon of whole coriander
- 1 stick of cinnamon
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Sea salt or kosher salt
- Vegetable oil
In a cast iron skillet, toast the chiles for a few minutes on medium heat until fragrant and pliable. Remove the stems and seeds. Place in a small pot with some about two large cups of water and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 5 minutes.
Then toast the cumin and corinader in the pan for a few minutes until fragrant, but be careful not to burn them. Transfer them into a spice grinder and grind to a powder.
Add the chiles and about a cup full of the liquid into a blender and blend until smooth.
Heat a couple tablespoons of oil over medium heat in the pan and sautee the onions and garlic until translucent but not caramelized. Add a hefty pinch of salt and some pepper over the onions and after about 5 minutes cooking add the chile puree, spices and cinnamon stick. Simmer for another 5 minutes.
Place the pork shoulders into a Dutch oven or a roasting pan. Liberally salt and pepper the shoulders and then pour the chile marinade over the shoulders. Cover tightly with foil and place the lid on top. Place in a 350 degree oven for about 1.5 to 2 hours until tender and falling apart.
Pull the pork apart and ladle into bowls with spoonfuls of the sauce. Pair with some cooked hominy, corn tortillas, rice…. or just eat it straight out of the pot like I did.
Happy Holidays everyone!
(Adapted from Heart of the Artichoke)