Thursday, October 6, 2022

Carne Adovada & Charro Beans

I don’t normally think of the Pacific Northwest as a hot bed for Hispanic food but both or these dishes came from Portland, OR and from the same source.  While I had made both of these dishes before I wanted to try the recipes for Carne Adovada & Charro Beans ala Pam from her “For The Love Of Cooking” blog.  By necessity, I made a couple of ingredient changes as noted in ().  The original recipes can be found by clicking on the above links. 

Carne Adovada - Adapted from For The Love Of Cooking


8 (3 oz) dried ancho chiles, rinsed (3/8+ cup ancho powder)

12 (2.5 oz) dried guajillo chiles, rinsed

1 dried bay leaf


½ cup white vinegar

¼ cup soy sauce

2 tsp. sugar

1½ tsp. dried Mexican oregano

1½ tsp. ground cumin

¾ tsp. dried thyme

3 tbsp. vegetable oil, divided

3 lbs. pork shoulder, cut into bite-sized chunks

1 medium yellow onion, chopped 

Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste

1 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped

For Serving:


Oaxaca cheese, shredded


Sour Cream

Pickled jalapeno slices 


1. Remove and discard the seeds and stems from the dried ancho and guajillo chiles. Tear the chiles into medium-sized pieces.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chiles and toast until fragrant, stirring often, for 1-2 minutes.  Side Note: More than 2 minutes can make the chiles bitter.

3. Transfer the toasted chiles to a medium pot along with the bay leaf; fill the pot with water until the chiles are completely covered.  Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then remove from the heat, cover, and let the chiles soak for 10 minutes.

4. Transfer the chiles and bay leaf to a large blender with a slotted spoon. Add 3 cups of the chile-soaked water along with the vinegar, soy sauce, garlic cloves, sugar, oregano, cumin, thyme, and sea salt, to taste; blend until very smooth. 

5. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 of the pork, season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste, and sear on all sides until browned, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

6. Add another tablespoon of oil to the Dutch oven and add the remaining pork, season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste, and sear on all sides until browned, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

7. Add the final tablespoon of oil to the Dutch oven and add the onion and season with a bit of sea salt & freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Cook for 4-5 minutes, scraping up bits from the pan.

8. Return the pork to the Dutch oven and pour the chile sauce on top; stir until evenly coated. Bring the pot to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cover and cook for 2-3 hours. Remove from the heat and taste the sauce. Season with additional salt, if needed.

9. Skim fat from top of sauce.

10. Ladle into a serving bowl and sprinkle the top with freshly chopped cilantro. Serve with flour tortillas, shredded cheese, guacamole, sour cream, and lots of lime wedges.

Charro Beans - Adapted from For The Love Of Cooking


½ lb dried pinto beans (2 cans pintos, drained and rinsed)

4 slices of bacon, diced

½ yellow onion, diced

1 jalapeno pepper, minced

2 large cloves of garlic, minced (2 tsp. minced)

½ tsp dried oregano

½ tsp dried cumin

14 oz. can of whole tomatoes, diced (diced fire-roasted)

1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, diced (1/4 tsp. chipotle powder)

3 cups of chicken broth (1 cup pork broth from scrapple) 

1 bay leaf

Sea (Kosher) salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste

For Serving:

Shredded Oaxaca cheese

Pickled jalapeno slices

Lime wedges


Place the dried beans in a large bowl and fill with water so the beans are completely submerged, cover with a lid and let them soak overnight. Drain and rinse.

1. Heat a large Dutch oven (sauce pan) oven over medium heat and add sliced bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and the bacon is starting to get crisp on the edges.

2. Add the onions and jalapenos and cook, stirring often, until the onions become soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano, and cumin and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.

3. Add the tomatoes and chipotle pepper (powder); cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to thicken and bubble.

4. Add the pinto beans, broth, bay leaves, and some sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Turn the heat to high, stir to combine, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer, until the beans are tender and flavors are married - about an hour.

Uncover the Dutch oven, turn the heat up to medium-high and continue to cook for 45-60 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender and fully cooked and the liquid has reduced and thickened.

5. Taste and season with sea salt and black pepper, if needed. 

6. Serve with shredded cheese, jalapeno slices, and lime wedges.

The Verdict:

Both dishes were a hit with our Friday crowd and I got the heat level just right in both of them.  The ancho powder worked fine in place of the dried peppers that I could not find - go to Mexican store next time.  It's hard to say without a head-to-head taste test, but I believe I liked both of these better than my previous versions.  Thanks Pam for a delicious meal.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them and the blue words are links.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


09/30/22 meal date


  1. I'm so happy you enjoyed the recipes! Your versions look super tasty & I'm glad the Friday crowd enjoyed the meal. Thanks for the shout out!

  2. I can see how this would be a hit any time of the week its easy and delicious looking!

  3. Larry, Great looking dinner! I would especially be ready for the pork with all its glorious spices and flavors. Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  4. Carne Adovada is one of my all time New Mexico recipes. This version looks just like I think it should look. Now I'm craving it.
    And with charro beans ... I'm in!


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