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CARNE ADOBADA

(Pork with Red Chile Sauce)

This is one of the best, if not the very best-tasting, pork creations from northern New Mexico. Traceable back to Conquistador days, this dish has somehow never gained favor outside of New Mexico. I think it is because crushed caribe chiles are hard to find outside the area. I always make a full five-pound recipe because I like to have lots available for burritos, tacos, and enchiladas, or to serve over rice, beans or eggs.

Yield: 10-12 servings

1/2 cup crushed caribe chile

1/4 cup ground mild chile

1/4 cup ground hot chile

3 garlic cloves

2 tablespoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons dried leaf Mexican oregano

2 teaspoons salt

4 cups water

5-1/2 pounds bone-in pork shoulder, cut into ½ inch thick chops (trimmed so as to keep a narrow layer of fat around the edges)

  1. 1. Process all the ingredients except pork in a blender or food processor. Pour into a flat-bottomed glass baking dish. Dip each pork chop into the marinade and lay to one side of the baking dish as you coat the rest. Let marinate 30 minutes at room temperature, periodically spooning chile mixture over the top and turning chops over. Then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. (The pork can be frozen for up to 3 months at this point.)

  1. 2. In the morning, stir and coat each pork chop with chile sauce. Stir and coat again. Preheat oven to 325F (165C). Cover pan with lid or foil; bake chops, covered for the first 45 minutes. Remove cover and bake 1 to 1-1/2 hours longer, spooning the sauce over chops every 30 minutes. Let cool.

  1. 3. Using a sharp knife, remove bones and pull meat apart with your fingers to shred the pork. Place shredded meat back in the baking dish. Bake 30 minutes to allow the sauce to cook into pork. When done, the meat should be a bright rosy red color and very tender.

Reprinted with permission from Jane Butel’s Southwestern Kitchen.

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