In the 1700s, chiles were readily available in New Mexico when there wasn’t much else. They became the building blocks of New Mexican cuisine and still very much are.
We hear about Hatch chiles in reference to New Mexican chiles, but Hatch is a region and a brand, not a specific chile type. I want to make sure you don’t feel pinned down to finding one type of chile when there are so many that will do the job.
Red chiles are the same peppers as the green chiles, but they’ve been allowed to ripen longer. Red chiles have a sharper flavor and are found most often in the form of dried pods, flakes or ground into powder. With knowledge comes power.
Red chile sauce is the base of traditional New Mexican dishes, such as stacked red chile enchiladas and carne adovada, as well as the topping for huevos rancheros and chile rellenos.
Carne adovada may be the ultimate New Mexican dish — pork is marinated overnight in red chili-based sauce and then cooked low and slow. Wrapped in a tortilla, spooned over eggs or eaten on its own, carne adovada tastes like New Mexico.
On the sweeter side, biscochitos have everything you need. They’re a shortbreadlike cookie — crisp, crumbly and dusted with cinnamon and sugar. Lard and anise set them apart from your standard cookie but in the very best way.
New Mexico is only a 12-hour drive away. It’s calling me. Until then, join me in making these recipes for a taste of New Mexico.
Green chile chicken stew
- 1 pound chicken breast meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 quart chicken broth
- 3 cups red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 (16-ounce) jar green chile sauce
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 cups whole kernel corn
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
Pre-cook potatoes in boiling water for 10 minutes, then cool.
Heat oil in large pot. Add chicken and stir until completely cooked. Add flour and stir well. Add chicken broth and stir well. Bring to a boil.
Add garlic, corn, green chile sauce and potatoes. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.
Recipe adapted from www.visitalbuquerque.org.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 teaspoons crushed anise seed
- Zest of 1 orange
- 1 1/4 cups lard
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the topping:
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk in the crushed anise and orange zest.
In a separate large bowl, combine the sugar and lard. Then, using an electric mixer, beat the lard and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat to combine.
Gradually beat in the flour mixture and stop as soon as mixture is combined. Dough will be crumbly. Using your hands, work the dough into a ball and then wrap in plastic and refrigerate dough for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon for topping.
Separate chilled dough into 3 balls. Knead each ball until soft and smooth.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out cookies into desired shapes and place on lined baking sheet. Bake until just barely golden and set, about 10 minutes.
While they are still on the pan, sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar. When they've cooled for 10 minutes, you can then carefully dunk them into the sugar mixture. Place on cookie rack until completely cooled.
Recipe adapted from www.somethewiser.com.