Sunday, April 27, 2008

Carne Adovada

We are now spending about two months each year down in sunny Scottsdale, Arizona. We really enjoy Southwestern cuisine for the bold flavors and great use of spice and chilies. Amongst our favorite restaurants is Richardson's and Carlsbad Tavern, both serve their version of this traditional dish. While the traditional Carne Adovada was meat actually cured in a red chili paste, this version tenderizes the cubes of pork through a long cooking process with the sauce. This is a delicious New Mexican specialty of slow braised pork in a red chili sauce. Serve it with warm tortillas, rice and a southwestern cabbage slaw. Top with chopped fresh cilantro or green onion. Carne Adovada is also great in burritos.

Serves 4 to 6

4 pounds boneless pork shoulder butt or country rib meat,
trimmed of fat and cut into 1 to 2-inch cubes
3 tablespoons cooking oil
salt and pepper to taste
Chili Sauce
3 cups warm water
15 to 20 large dried New Mexico chilies (de-stemmed and seeded)
1 medium onion, diced
2 tablespoons vinegar (cider or wine)
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoons dried cumin
2 teaspoons salt

To make the chili sauce: Stem, seed, and rinse the chilies, then place them in a pot with the 3 cups of warm water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, until tender. Allow to slightly cool. Puree the chilies in a blender with about 2 cups of the cooking liquid, onions, honey, vinegar and the seasonings. Add the remaining pepper liquid and blend again until smooth.

To prepare the pork: Season meat with salt and pepper. Add the oil to the large pot and heat to medium high. Place the meat in the pot with and cook, uncovered, over medium-high heat until lightly browned on all surface. Turn pieces as needed. Turn off heat.

To finish the dish: Pour the freshly made chili sauce over the browned pork and adjust heat to bring to a slow simmer. Cover pot securely and simmer very low for 1 ½ to 2 hours. Skim off any fat that has risen to the surface. At this point the meat should be tender and delicious. This dish can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to two months.

Southwestern Cabbage Slaw
This cabbage slaw is a great side dish for a Carne Adovada plate or any grill or picnic meal. Enjoy.

1 Green Cabbage, medium/small size
2 Carrots, shredded
½ Red Onion, finely chopped
¼c Cilantro, chopped
¾c Mayonnaise
1tbs Cider Vinegar
1tbs Honey (or sugar)
2 tsp Chili Powder
½tsp Salt (to taste)
½tsp Black Pepper (to taste)

Add all ingredients to a large bowl and toss well. Keep chilled (up to 6 hours) before serving.

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