Carne Adobada (Chile-Marinated Steak)

Carne Adobada (Chile-Marinated Steak)

Mexican adobada, a tangy marinade with guajillo chiles, is often reserved for large cuts of pork, but it’s also well-suited to any sturdy cut of steak, such as flank. The acid comes from lime juice in this formula, but vinegar or lemon juice works as well. An overnight marinade yields incredibly tender results, but a 30-minute steep is sufficient to infuse the meat with the fruity flavor of the chiles. Here, the steak is paired with a nice piquant roasted red pepper relish, which complements the deep flavors of the marinated meat. Side dishes like rice, beans and warm tortillas round this dish out for a wonderful weeknight meal.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 4 persons



  1. Step 1

    Place the dried guajillo chiles in a small bowl and add enough hot water to cover; soak until softened, about 10 minutes. Drain, stem and seed the chiles. Using a blender or a food processor, puree the guajillos, chipotle, onion, garlic, cumin, 2 tablespoons lime juice and 2 tablespoons water until smooth. If needed, add another tablespoon of water to help the mixture blend.
  2. Step 2

    Pat the steak dry with paper towels. Season generously on both sides with salt, then sprinkle and pat on the dried oregano to both sides as well. Place in a large bowl, dish or resealable plastic bag, pour the chile marinade over the top and turn to coat both sides. Marinate for at least 30 minutes at room temperature, or refrigerate, covered if needed, for up to 12 hours.
  3. Step 3

    In a small bowl, combine the roasted red peppers and shallots with the remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season to taste with salt, add the cilantro and stir to combine. Set aside.
  4. Step 4

    In a large heavy skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Scrape any excess marinade off the steak and discard the marinade. Place the steak in the hot oil and cook until seared and deep golden brown on the contact side, 4 to 5 minutes. Flip and continue to cook until seared and golden brown on the other side, 4 to 5 minutes for medium-rare. Cook for 1 additional minute on each side for thicker or larger cuts of steak or for medium doneness. You also can grill the steak on a hot charcoal or gas grill, turning once, until seared, about 6 minutes per side for medium-rare.
  5. Step 5

    Transfer the steak to a cutting board and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Slice the steak against the grain. Serve topped with the roasted pepper-shallot relish, alongside steamed rice or warm tortillas.