This exciting recipe from Milk Street uses Mexico chilies that provide a mild earthiness and subtle sweetness. The recipe also incorporates guajillos, which add a fruity quality and hints of smoke. The combination of the two chilies gives this stew a deep, complex flavor. Make sure to seed the chilies as the seeds won’t break down in the blender and may add unwanted spiciness. Also, don’t use blackstrap molasses, which has a very potent bittersweet flavor.

Carne Adovada


  • 3 ounces New Mexico chilies, stemmed, seeded and torn into pieces
  • 3 ounces guajillo chilies, stemmed, seeded and torn into pieces
  • 4 cups boiling water, plus 1 cup water
  • 5 pounds boneless pork butt, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lard or grapeseed oil
  • 2 medium white onions, chopped
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 teaspoons cumin seed
  • 4 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon molasses Lime wedges, to serve
  • Sour cream, to serve
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, to serve


Place the chilies in a large bowl, pour in the boiling water and stir. Let sit, stirring occasionally, until the chilies have softened, about 30 minutes. Transfer half of the mixture to a blender and blend until smooth, about one minute. Add the remaining chilies and water and blend until smooth, scraping down the blender as needed. Measure 1/2 cup of the chili puree into a small bowl, cover and refrigerate until needed. Pour the remaining puree into a medium bowl and set aside; do not scrape out the blender jar. Pour 1/2 cup of the remaining water into the blender, cover tightly and shake to release all of the puree.

Place the pork in a large bowl. Add 2 teaspoons salt and the chili-water mixture in the blender. Stir to coat, then cover and refrigerate for one hour.

Heat the oven to 325°F with a rack in the lower-middle position. In a large Dutch oven over medium, heat the lard until shimmering. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, eight to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cumin, coriander, oregano and cayenne, then cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup water and the chili puree. Add the pork and any liquid in the bowl. Stir to combine, then cover the pot, place in the oven and cook for two hours.

Remove the pot from the oven. Uncover, stir and return, uncovered, to the oven. Continue to cook until the pork is tender, another 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. Remove from the oven and set on the stove over medium heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened slightly, eight to 10 minutes. Stir in the reserved 1/2 cup chili puree and the molasses. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve with lime wedges, sour cream and cilantro leaves.