Say that three times fast…
With an impending trip west, I really wanted to make some adobo. Then, I looked up how to make adobo and realized that’s not what I wanted. I wanted adovado, aka Chili, New Mexico style. (But the recipe does use chipotle chiles in adobo sauce so gimme a break.) I just love the deep earthiness of ancho chiles. It can be an acquired taste so if it seems bitter, add more cheese or a little bit of sugar.
This is definitely not a weeknight dinner, but it makes a ton so you can eat it throughout the week, repurpose it for tacos, or freeze some for a busier time. However, while there are a lot of steps the prep time isn’t quite as bad as you think it is. You can start the process of browning the meat while you’re boiling the chiles so it all comes together a little more quickly.
I like to start by toasting the chiles to give a deeper flavor. They can really sit on the stove a long time without burning, but do flip them occasionally. You know they’re done when you stick your nose in the pot and it smells like New Mexico. You’ll know it when you smell it. You can use any combination of dried chilies here – I used a mixture of ancho, pasilla and guajillo.
Most people use pork shoulder for this recipe. We (obviously) used wild hog. I found a vac-sealed hunk in our freezer from last year labeled “hog trimmings.” Yep, no idea what part of the hog it came from, but it sure did braise nicely.
One final note – chipotle peppers in adobo are exceedingly spicy, and I can take a lot more heat than most people. If you’re sensitive to heat be sure to remove any seeds (wear gloves) or, you can just throw a tablespoon of the sauce in. I used two and the whole stew was walking the line of being too spicy.
- 8 dried chiles ancho and/or pasilla
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 pounds wild hog shoulder or ham chopped into stew-sized chunks
- 2 onions chopped
- 4-6 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 tbsp cumin heaping
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- 2-3 whole chipotle peppers in adobo or to taste
- corn tortillas for serving
- queso fresco for garnish
- cilantro for garnish
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the chiles to the dry pan and toast until fragrant, 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and take out the stems and seeds. In another smaller pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Simmer until softened, about 10 minutes. Blend with about half-cup of the cooking liquid. If the mixture is too pasty, add a little more of the liquid. The consistency should be a purée. Set aside.
Heat the oil in the Dutch oven. Add the pork in one layer and let brown on one side, about 10 minutes. If too much liquid is being released, turn the heat up a notch. Remove and set aside for later use.
Add the onions to the Dutch oven with salt and pepper to taste and the cumin and oregano. Once the onions are soft (after about 6-8 minutes), add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
Deglaze the pan with the chile purée and scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Add the bay leaves, chipotle peppers and pork shoulder. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook partly covered until the meat is tender and falling apart - about 2 hours.
Garnish with cilantro and queso fresco and serve with corn tortillas.