I distinctly remember my first dish of carne adobada.
It was eons ago, maybe 15 years?
Armando and I had gone to Dallas to visit his family and we met his father at a Mexican restaurant in Oak Cliff; the hub of Mexican culture and the part of Dallas where Armando grew up.
His father ordered Carne Adobada and what came was a tangle of braised beef, onions, and peppers that made me regret whatever it was that I ordered.
I must’ve been looking at it longingly because before I knew it my father-in-law had made me a taco with the red-tinged meat and laid it on my plate.
It was rich, flavorful, but not spicy. And with the sautéed peppers and onions made for one stellar taco.
Mexican Carne Adobada vs New Mexican Carne Adovada
Turns out Carne Adobada is usually made with pork, not beef and has a very popular cousin in New Mexican cuisine.
The New Mexican version is spelled Adovada and is one of the most cherished dishes in the state.
It features, as you might guess, New Mexican chiles and pork. Depending on the cook can either have the consistency of a stew or a thicker braise.
Mexican Carne Adobada (confusingly enough also sometimes spelled Adovada) is pork, and sometimes beef, cooked in Adobo Sauce.
You might be familiar with Adobo sauce, as the sweet and sour sauce canned chipotles are usually packed in.
It is a popular condiment throughout Mexico but, just to make things confusing has nothing to do with Chicken Adobo made in Filipino cuisine.
Anyway, Mexican adobo can refer to either a dried chili spice rub for meats or along with tomatoes, a sauce with red chiles (usually guajillos and anchos) and a distinct tang from vinegar.
You can most certainly make your own adobo sauce, you go-getter you! But there are plenty of really tasty prepared adobo pastes out there so you don’t necessarily have to.
I like to use the Doña Maria brand because it is reliably good and pretty easy to find.
While not traditional, I added a few tomatillos to the braise.
They add a nice touch of sour so characteristic of a good adobada and also act as a tenderizer, making the meat ultra succulent even after a long simmer in the slow cooker.
Like I mentioned, most Adobada recipes are made with pork but I wanted to recreate the delicious dish I enjoyed with my Father-in-law in Dallas so this recipe used beef.
If you’d like, substitute the same amount of pork shoulder for the beef in this recipe.
Carne adobada makes exquisite tacos and this recipe makes a ton so you could create little taco bar here by just setting out the slow cooker and surrounding it with warm tortillas, sliced radish, some guacamole, and a nice crunchy slaw for your next party.
But we also like to eat it in rice bowl form, with black beans, avocado slices, some fresh cilantro, and even a few pieces of sweet pineapple, and if you can find some chili-lime cashews those are pretty great sprinkled over the top too!
Let me know how you like this Slow Cooker Carne Adobada recipe! I really do want to hear how it worked out for you. Snap a photo of your beautiful dish and maybe even a video of the beautiful people you share it with. Tag us on Instagram using @holajalapeno and #holajalapeno. Happy eating!
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Slow Cooker Carne Adobada Recipe
Luscious beef cooked low and slow with adobo paste, onions, and jalapeños until meltingly tender. Perfect for tacos, quesadillas, or rice bowls. Dairy free! This makes enough for a crowd which makes it a great option for entertaining or eat some now and freeze some for later. Cover beef with the cooking liquid and keep for up to a month in the freezer.
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Cook Time: 4 hours
- Total Time: 4 hours 30 mins
- Yield: 8-10 servings 1x
- Category: Main
- Method: slow cooker
- Cuisine: Mexican
- Diet: Gluten Free
- 1/2 cup packed adobo paste
- 3 large tomatillos, husks removed and quartered
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/3 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- 2 1/4 cups chicken broth, divided
- 4 1/2 pounds beef chuck roast
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 large onions, sliced
- 2 jalapeños, sliced
- Combine adobo paste, tomatillos, garlic, lime juice, salt, and 1/4 cup chicken broth in a blender. Blend on high until smooth.
- Generously season beef on all sides with salt and pepper.
- Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once shimmering add beef and brown about 4 minutes a side (you might need to do this in batches depending on the size of your pan).
- Meanwhile, place onions and jalapeños on the bottom of the slow cooker.
- Once beef is browned transfer to the slow cooker. Pour off any fat from the frying pan into a heatproof bowl. Return pan to heat and add 1 cup of the broth to the frying pan. Scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon then pour broth into the slow cooker.
- Add adobo mixture and remaining 1 cup of broth to the slow cooker, cover, and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4.
- Beef should be fall-apart tender when done. Shred meat and serve as tacos, enchilada filling, on top of a rice bowl, or straight from the pot with a fork. Add more salt as needed.
Keywords: Carne Adobada
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