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November 10, 2010 at 6:00 AM

Carne adovada: make it at home for the holidays

Today in The Seattle Times, you’ll find our annual Holiday Cuisine section, offering turkey tips, wine ideas and a wide world of recipes, including some of my time-honored favorites (like the cranberry sauce with rum and sour cherries I make every Thanksgiving) as well as Savory Chicken and Bacon “Cupcakes” with Tabasco Cream Cheese Frosting (a Kathy Casey newbie I’m hoping to try this year).

You’ll also find a seafood gumbo recipe from that sassy New Orleanian Poppy Tooker, and my latest “favorite”: a recipe for carne adovada — the dried chiles-fueled pork stew I couldn’t get enough of when I visited New Mexico this summer. Like the gumbo we serve at home each Christmas Day, that adovado (full recipe here) is one of those great one-pot dishes perfect for holiday parties and potlucks. Never tried it? Why wait?

Ready to make carne adovada? How do you say “mise en place” in Spanish?

My adovada recipe comes courtesy of Rocky Durham, culinary director at The Santa Fe School of Cooking, who knows his way around chiles — fresh and dried. The first time I made it, I was so impressed with the results, I knew I had to share the love here on All You Can Eat.

The first time I prepared Rocky’s recipe, I sliced, trimmed and cubed a pork shoulder roast (which is a pain because you never know exactly how much meat-to-fat ratio you’ll end up with), so to save time and trouble, I’ve since talked my butcher into doing the slicing and dicing. Did you know you can do that? It’s a wonderful thing! Alternately, you might use country ribs rather than shoulder roast, or keep your eyes open for pork “stew meat.” Either/or, the end result is delicious. Here’s a look at the cooking process:

After browning 3 1/2 pounds of pork in batches and setting the meat aside, I sauteed diced onions, added garlic, then deglazed the pan with a cup of chicken stock.

While the onions were doing their thing, I mixed the spices (ground coriander, dried Mexican oregano, crushed red pepper, a heaping helping of ground red chile) with a little honey and some sherry vinegar in my (28-year-old!) Cuisinart. Then I added the sauteed onion mixture and more chicken stock, and gave it all a good whirl.

Next, I married the browned pork with the bright red spice mixture, splashed in another cup of chicken stock, put a lid on my Dutch oven and baked the adovada at 350-degrees until the pork was tender, about an hour and a half, give or take.

When it’s done just right, the “juice” will have reduced, the hue will have deepened and the stew will look like this.

Now all you’ve got to do is grab a bowl, a spoon and some tortillas and have at it!

Carne adovada at Rancho de Chimayo (left) and at The Shed, on the plaza in Santa Fe. You’ll forgive me for my immodesty, but I think the homemade version was even better.

Comments | More in Holidays, Recipes

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