Chilies ‘n’ Heat

Cooking is not always about everything being perfect and only reporting on the positive.  Sometimes cooking is about admitting defeat and reporting mistakes.  This recipe is positively delicious if made using the correct ingredients.  In fact, if you adore spicy food that is around six stars, then you would love the accidental addition I made to this flavorful dish.

First, do not ever replace New Mexico chilies with Arbol Pepper Pods.  After making this heat-inducing meal, I did further research and realized that Arbol peppers rate 10 times hotter than New Mexico chilies.  Ouch!

Nonetheless, the heat is rather addictive.  The capsaicin and chili oils swell in your mouth.  You want to stop eating, but the spicy heat engulfs you, making you take one bite after another.  I topped my small tacos with jalapeno cilantro slaw.  The spice from the carne adobada, mixed with the tangy spiciness of the slaw, with the creaminess of a dollop of sour cream was a perfect combination.  It left my forehead sweating slightly and my taste buds on fire and craving more.

Carne Adobada (Red Chile and Pork Stew)

by Saveur

5 oz. dried New Mexico chiles, stemmed (I used ½ oz. arbol de pepper pods)
2 tbsp. New Mexico chile powder
2 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
Juice of 1/2 lime
5 tbsp. olive oil
3 lb. boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1 1/2″ chunks
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

(I added one chopped sautéed onion and approximately 1 cup hominy)

Warm corn tortillas, for serving

Heat chiles in a 6-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat, and cook, turning once, until toasted, about 5 minutes; transfer to a large bowl, cover with 8 cups boiling water, and let sit for 20 minutes. Drain chiles, reserving 1 1/2 cups soaking liquid, and transfer chiles to a blender along with reserved soaking liquid, chile powder, honey, vinegar, cumin, cloves, cayenne, and lime juice. Puree until smooth and set sauce aside.

Return pot to medium-high heat and add oil; season pork with salt and pepper, and working in batches, add pork to pot and cook until browned on all sides, about 12 minutes. Add sauce and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is thickened and pork is tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Serve with warm corn tortillas.


2 responses to this post.

  1. You know, one time we made this sweet potato soup with chipotle in it (tons of recipes out there if you just google “chipotle sweet potato”). Anyway, I must have misread the instructions — either that or the chipotle we got was supernatural — but our mouths were on fire and tears were streaming down our faces. But it was so good that neither one of us could stop eating it. The next day, I added a whole container of sour cream to the soup, to temper the heat a bit. It might have helped, I’m not sure. I still have the rest of the jar of chipotle in adobo sauce in the freezer. A little too scared to try it again. 🙂

    Anyway, your recipe looks delicious here. I’ll make sure to stick to the New Mexico chilies!


    • I’m glad to know I’m not the only one out there who has made a chile recipe mistake and ended up with a mouth on fire.:) I published a Green Chile Cheeseburger recipe this morning and commented how delicious it turned out and I actually used the correct chilies this time around.:o I love the combination of chipotle sweet potato though, so I plan on googling the recipe … I’ll just be careful about the amount I add. Thanks for reading and happy cooking!


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