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Time to Heat It UP!

By Jane Butel  October 14, 2020

As fall is definitely approaching, nothing seems better than chile laden dishes to warm us from the inside out.  One of my all time favorites is Carne Adobado and for some reason--probably the lack of wide knowledge or availability of the caribe chile, it is kind of a best kept secret of New Mexican culinary.  (We are discounting our caribe chile 25%  until this Saturday.) The recipe that I like the best calls for 5 1/2 pounds of pork shoulder.  Making a lesser amount never seems to taste as well.  And no problem--it freezes beautifully, having so much red chile marinated and simmered into it.

The history of Carne Adobado is actually quite interesting.  After the Spanish came into Northern New Mexico and brought hogs with them, bringing a dependable supply of meat, the next dilemna was "how to keep the meat" without refrigeration or freezing.  The Native Americans or Pueblo Indians taught them how to make jerky and from that the two cultures somehow developed the concept resulting in Carne Adobado .  Sometimes you will see it spelled with a "v" instead of the "b".  Historically, I am  not sure which spelling came first.  In New Mexico, almost always you will see Adobado spelled with the "b".

Anyhow,  the Indians, knowing how great the anti-oxidative properties of red chile were, shared this knowledge with the early Spanish settlers.    The other ingredients were widely available--wild garlic and onion and Mexican oregano.  So the method evolved.  They found that if they generously rubbed the red chile mixture into all of the pork and closed it into the hide of the butchered animal and buried it, the meat would not spoil.  (It is kind of the same principal that dogs use with their bones.)

The red chile they used was one they had brought with them--the caribe chile.  The caribe chiles were developed by the Caribe Indians and given to them when they wintered over in what most think was the Caribbean island of Santo Domingo.

What has now evolved is this super yummy recipe that really has to be made as I am giving it to you.  The one thing you can shortcut is the overnight marination.  A rule of thumb is that 2 hours of room temperature yields the same marination benefits as overnight in the refrigerator.  By the way, you can apply that to any recipe requiring overnight marination.

Also to make it a bit better on  your pocket book, we are discounting the caribe chile 25% off until Saturday midnight on October 17, 2020.  

And,  if you would like to come to a  cooking class where we will be making the Carne Adobado,  we will make it in the Red Chile on November 19 at 5 PM--also in each  weekend and week long class.  The next weekend class is October 23-25 and the next week long class is March 15-19, 2021.  

Also,  my Southwestern Kitchen cookbook gives a very comprehensive assortment of favorite Southwestern recipes.  I am discounting it to only $15.00 and I will autograph it as you like.  The special will be on until Saturday, midnight October 17.


(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 and one half pound recipe because I like to have lots available for burritos, tacos, and enchiladas, or to serve over or under  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 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. 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. 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. Using a sharp knife, remove bones and pull meat apart with your fingers to shred the pork into about 25 cent size pieces—do not finely 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.





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