Another New Mexico favorite, "Carne Adovada" gets remade today... woo!
First, a disclaimer: If you're a green-and-red-blooded native New Mexican food purist who cannot stand the idea of your region's precious and traditional recipe being vegan-ized, read no further... (and I do understand and apologise - heh).
However, if you're vegan, yet still want to enjoy the rich, colorful, spicy flavors of the Southwest - or you're just curious what the heck I'm yammering about, read on.
Carne Adovada is traditionally made from chunks of pork, marinated and cooked in a sauce of ground New Mexican red chiles and other flavors... it's either cooked in the oven or slow cooker until the flavors absorb and the pork literally falls apart and the sauce is very thick.
Well, since my darling Albuquerque friend, Shaun, sent me home from my last visit with every imaginable New Mexican goody, I've been cooking up a storm of yummy, spicy, mouth (and eye)-watering VEGAN hotness. One of the items I wanted to experiment with was this envelope of Carne Adovada Seasoning. I'd heard so many people sing the praises of this dish, I just had to try a vegan version, regardless if it was "authentic" or not...
At first I thought this dry mix was a commercial short-cut "tourist" version of the seasonings, but then I saw (Food Network) Bobby Flay do an episode about carne adovada and he said the best and most 'authentic' thing to use was a mix very similar to what I had. So I was inspired...
For those who feel obligated to point out discrepancies in my methods or results, yes, I know, I KNOW it's "not even close" to real dead-animal Carne Adovada, so, call it 'Red Chile Tempeh' or something less offensive to you. I had fun experimenting and the end result, whatever you choose to call it, is amazing and delicious...
1 1-or-2 oz. package dry Carne Adovada spice mix
a mixture of 1/2 water and 1/2 red wine, (as much liquid as is called for on the spice package)
2 packages Tempeh (I used flax-seed tempeh because I love the texture)
2 Tb. oil
1.) Put spice mix into a plastic or non-reactive metal bowl. Add amount of liquid per package instructions. (As noted above, I use 1/2 water and 1/2 red wine but all water is good too).
2.) Slice the tempeh into strips (a little less than 1/2 inch thick).
3.) Put strips into sauce and carefully stir.
4.) Marinate in fridge a couple hours. If it absorbs all the liquid, add more water. It shouldn't be "soupy" though.
5.) Heat oven to 300°. Put tempeh and sauce into glass baking dish. Drizzle with oil and stir.
6.) Bake tempeh until sauce is sticky and mostly evaporated or absorbed, stirring carefully every 1/2 hour or as needed to prevent it from totally sticking - It'll take at least an hour, probably longer; time will vary according to amount of liquid, how much tempeh absorbs, and type of tempeh.
If you stir the tempeh too hard, it'll crumble into mush. I use a wide, flat spatula and sorta lift it and move it around...
Serve with tortillas (or, sacrilege - my kids like it over rice!). Good stuff! Leftovers reheat wonderfully and make an awesome burrito filling!!
I think next time, I'd like to try it with TVP chunks in the crock pot though, to better imitate the "meat" texture. And of course, I need to let Shaun try it, since he's far more an "authority" on things New Mexican. Stay tuned.