Carne Adovada Sopaipillas Recipe

Braised pork and refried beans are sandwiched in a savory fried dough, ladled with red chile sauce, then topped with fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese.
carne-adovada-sopaipilla-recipe (1)
Photo by Farideh Sadeghin

Makes 6
Prep time: 1 ½ hours
Total time: 4 hours


for the carne adovada: 
3 pounds|1370 grams boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch cubes 
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder 
1 tablespoon plus 2 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt 
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 bay leaf 
6 garlic cloves, sliced  
¼ Spanish onion, sliced 
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano 
½ teaspoon chipotle powder 
4 cups|1 liter chicken stock 
2 cups|500 ml red chile sauce 
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey 

for the red chile sauce: 
¼ cup|60 ml vegetable oil 
30 New Mexican red chile pods (about 6 ounces|170 grams), stems and seeds removed 
6 garlic cloves, peeled
¼ large Spanish onion 
2 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt 
½ teaspoon Mexican oregano 


for the refried pinto beans: 
1 cup|180 grams dried pinto beans 
1 bay leaf 
1 garlic clove, smashed
1 ham hock
1 stem cilantro 
⅛ Spanish onion, sliced 
1 teaspoon granulated garlic 
¼ teaspoon Mexican oregano 
2 teaspoons kosher salt 
½ cup|125 ml vegetable oil 

for the sopaipilla dough: 
2 cups|270 grams all-purpose flour 
1 tablespoon plus ¾ teaspoon cornstarch 
1 tablespoon baking powder 
2 ¾ teaspoons granulated sugar 
1 ¾ teaspoons kosher salt 
2 tablespoons plant-based butter, shortening, or lard, softened 

to serve: 
8 ounces|225 grams|2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
4 ounces|115 grams green leaf lettuce, shredded 
1 pound|454 grams tomatoes, diced


  1. Carefully pat the pork dry. In a large bowl, add the pork, chili powder, garlic powder, and 1 tablespoon of kosher salt and mix to combine. Place in the refrigerator to marinate for 30 minutes while you make the chile sauce. 
  2. Make the red chile sauce: Heat the oil In a large saucepan over medium. Add the chilies and toast until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Cover with 4 cups|950 ml water along with the garlic, onion, salt and oregano. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the chilies are tender, about 20 minutes. Strain the mixture, then transfer the solids and 2 ½ cups|590 ml of the chile water to the bowl of a high-speed blender. Purée until smooth, then strain through a fine mesh sieve, discarding solids. Season to taste, then set aside until ready to use. 
  3. Make the carne adovada: Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high. Working in batches, add the pork and bay leaf and cook, turning as needed, until lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Return all of the pork to the pan, then add the garlic and onion and cook until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the oregano, chipotle powder, chicken stock, the 2 cups|485 ml of the reserved red chile sauce, vinegar, honey, and 2 ¼ teaspoons of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook, mostly covered and stirring occasionally, until the pork is juicy and tender and the sauce is thick, 2 to 2 ½ hours. 
  4. Make the refried beans: In a medium saucepan, cover the beans, bay leaf, garlic, ham hock, cilantro, onion, garlic powder, and oregano with 5 cups|1180 ml water and bring to a boil over high. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the beans are tender, about 1 ½ to 2 hours. You may need to add more water periodically to ensure the beans are always covered with water. Add the salt, then drain, reserving the cooking liquid. 
  5. Melt the oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the beans, then, using a whisk or potato masher, break down the beans. Stir with a spatula, and cook until excess liquid has been cooked off, about 5 minutes. (If the beans start to look dry add some of the bean cooking liquid, a couple of tablespoons at a time.) Beans should still pool but not look watery. Season with salt. 
  6. Make the dough: In a large bowl, add the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, and sugar and mix until combined. Using your fingers, cut in the fat. Add ½ cup|125 ml water, then knead until smooth and slightly elastic, 6 to 8 minutes. (If the dough feels dry add a little more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it comes together.)  Let the dough rest, covered at room temperature, for 30 minutes to 1 hour. 
  7. Heat 3-inches oil in a large saucepan until a deep-fry thermometer reads 375°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 9-inch circle about ⅛-inch thick. Cut into six squares, then, working in batches, fry the dough, flipping once, until golden and puffed, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and repeat with the remaining dough.
  8. To serve, slice the sopaipilla in half and layer with refried beans, carne adovada, and cheese. Top with the second half of sopaipilla and ladle red chile sauce over top. Top with lettuce and tomatoes and more cheese.

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