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bobag87

Traditional New Mexico Cooking

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I am new to eGullet and started posting beacuse of a recent trip to Spain. One of my passions is traditional New Mexico cooking and I thought I would see if there are other fans out there. While I don't live in the State, I make frequent trips and my parents were from there. This leads to fall chile roasts with chile shipped in to Texas (the chile available in Dallas, even at Central Market, is a dumbed down version that is far too mild -- perhaps I will have to add to the chile threads on this point). Every Christmas eve, New Years eve and at various family gatherings throughout the year, our family gathers around a pot of traditional posole. To me, the most fascinating thing about New Mexican cooking is the blend of traditional Native American elements with elements brought by the Spanish colonists. Thus, posole combines a true Native American product (the Posole) with local red chiles and imported pork. This recipe has been developed over the years but comes from watching posole prepared for various feast days in numerous New Mexico Pueblos. It also is modernized with a few touches and focuses on a heavier flavoring of red chile than is typical.

Step 1 -- Soak dried New Mexico posole. I frequently use a mixture of blue corn and white corn posole. The dried posole can be found at many farmers markets in New Mexico as well as on line. There is also a frozen Bueno product sold in New Mexico. I use 2 lbs of dried posole soaked over night.

Step 2 - Make chicken stock. I make homemade chicken stock because of the ease. 1 whole chicken, one onion split, 2 celery stalks, salt and a bay leaf. Simmer for 2 1/2 hours and then strain.

Step 3 -- Boil Posole. Cover posole with at least 3 inches of water and boil for 1 to 2 hours until it starts popping open. Add stock to the extent the water level drops too low.

Step 4 -- Pork, Onions and Garlic -- While posole is boiling, cube 4 pork tenderloins. Brown the pork cubes in oil and set aside. Saute 1 whole diced onion and 4 garlic cloves that have been minced until they start to turn color and set aside.

Step 5 -- Make Chile Sauce -- Roast 2 cookie trays full of New Mexico red chiles in a 400 degree oven for 1 minute 30 seconds to 2 minutes -- until fragrant. If you were fortunate to buy Bueno dried red chiles, they are already roasted so you can skip this step. Most New Mexico dried red chiles (which I have found are widely available) are not roasted and this step is crucial. Take the chiles out of the oven and in the sink, pull the stem off and wash each chile and place in a blender. I try to keep the seeds as I like it hot. It is up to you. Fill the blender with the cleaned chiles, packing somewhat tightly. Add 1 tbs salt, 2 tbs blue corn meal, 2 garlic cloves, 1 tbs corriander seed and a slight pinch of mexican oregano. Fill the blender with hot water and let sit for 5 minutes. Then pure until a smooth sauce is formed.

Step 6 -- Make Posole -- Once the posole has opened up, add 8 cups chicken stock. and bring to a boil. Add pork, onions and garlic and return to a boil. Add red chile sauce and thin with additional stock if necessary. Simmer for 1 hour 30 minutes more. Add salt to taste.

Serve with tortillas and margaritas.

I hope this helps and I can answer any questions on this dish. Hopefully there are some other New Mexico food fans out there.


Edited by bobag87 (log)

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Welcome and thanks. I know there are NM food fans here - especially chiles, so I think over time this will be a nice resource. I tend to modernize/hypermodernize all of my traditional dishes. HERE is the topic on NM chiles. HERE is my tuturial/memories of processing a sack of chiles. HERE is my posole.

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And here is my recipe for traditional New Mexico-style stacked green enchiladas.

Great topic.

Having lived many years in New Mexico, I'll agree that the food is one of the most enchanting things about the Land of Enchantment.


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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gfron1 -- We too look forward to the day the chiles arrive at our house. My family has always had a chile roast in September of each year where the supply of New Mexico green chiles for the year are roasted and bagged. However, being somewhat crazy, we have never had the store roast the chiles. Instead, we bring them home fresh and roast them ourselves on grills -- please, no questions as to our sanity. This is how my family has always done it. Now, living in Texas with several family members wanting their own stash, we roasted 200 lbs this last September in this fashion. It took 3 grills and 8 hours, but it is always a fun event accompanied by green chile stew, posole, home made tortillas with freshly roasted chiles rolled up inside and sangria. I would also note that we bag our roasted chiles with the skin on and peel when thawed later.

I should note for the Texans reading this, although most stores are now bringing in "Hatch" chiles every fall, we have found that they are bringing in an early crop that is devoid of flavor and heat. Thus, we still order in our chiles from a great company in New Mexico.

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From whom do you order your chiles? I ordered some last fall and found them a little watery. I used to eat Hatch hot, but now, since I've been out of the state for many years, I can't handle the heat. What's a good source of medium heat chiles? Actually, I'm guessing my idea of medium would be mild for someone who doesn't sweat into a bowl of Hatch green.

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From whom do you order your chiles? I ordered some last fall and found them a little watery. I used to eat Hatch hot, but now, since I've been out of the state for many years, I can't handle the heat. What's a good source of medium heat chiles? Actually, I'm guessing my idea of medium would be mild for someone who doesn't sweat into a bowl of Hatch green.

I use New Mexico catalog -- http://www.newmexicocatalog.com/html/fresh_green_chile.html. They have always shipped on time and provide great quality, although they are expensive compared to prices you can pay in New Mexico. I would order Big Jims if you want something on the milder side. These are large meaty peppers with a little heat, but not overwhelming. They have great flavor. It looks like NM Catalog also has a mild variety. My only thought on the mild chiles is they tend to also lack some flavor.

One note on ordering, once you get the chiles, you have just a few days to roast them prior to their wilting so plan accordingly. I time the arrival for the day before the chile roast so I have minimal wilt loss.

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Thanks, I will check it out next Sept. The Big Jims were the ones I thought were kinda watery, but they were from a different source. I like them best used in a cream of green chile soup.

And yeah, it's a splurge to order chile from NM. I've found a good source for poblanos that are very flavorful and have some heat at my local farmers' market, so I buy a lot of those when they are in season and freeze them, but sometimes I long for that NM flavor. It's different than anything else!

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Do you know of any good web resources for typical New Mexican food? What defines New Mexican food as seperate from other Southwestern cuisines? I think I know, but I want to read an experts definition! :)

I recall really enjoying Navajo goat stew when I was on the reservation near Gallup...I need to order some chilis myself!

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Do you know of any good web resources for typical New Mexican food? What defines New Mexican food as seperate from other Southwestern cuisines? I think I know, but I want to read an experts definition! :)

I recall really enjoying Navajo goat stew when I was on the reservation near Gallup...I need to order some chilis myself!

I think the key elements of traditional New Mexico food that distinguish it from Tex-Mex or other versions of Mexican food in the U.S. is two-fold. First, New Mexico food is strongly influenced by the Native American culture. Thus, ingredients such as blue corn and chicos as well as serving an ingredient like posole as a side to dishes not just as a stew, are traits that evidence this influence. Second, the chiles used, both red and green, are unique to New Mexican food. Also, they are aggressively used and not cut with other aggressive flavors (i.e. New Mexico Green chile sauce is not cut with tomatillos for example -- it is focused on the flavor of the green chiles). I am sure we could write a thesis on this, but to me, these are the key elements.

As for Navajo goat stew, I have not had it, but I have had many a bowl of mutton stew at ceremonies at both Hopi and Zuni. Sometimes it is quite good, sometimes it is a bit of a struggle, but it is always appreciated.

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Do you know of any good web resources for typical New Mexican food? What defines New Mexican food as seperate from other Southwestern cuisines? I think I know, but I want to read an experts definition! :)

I recall really enjoying Navajo goat stew when I was on the reservation near Gallup...I need to order some chilis myself!

I've been using the recipes on this site for several years.

I ordered the cookbook several years ago and loaned it to a friend who does not have internet access (a Luddite) and never asked for it back.

My dad lives in New Mexico and I generally include a bit of shopping for local ingredients on every trip to visit him.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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Do you know of any good web resources for typical New Mexican food? What defines New Mexican food as seperate from other Southwestern cuisines? I think I know, but I want to read an experts definition! :)

I recall really enjoying Navajo goat stew when I was on the reservation near Gallup...I need to order some chilis myself!

I've been using the recipes on this site for several years.

I ordered the cookbook several years ago and loaned it to a friend who does not have internet access (a Luddite) and never asked for it back.

My dad lives in New Mexico and I generally include a bit of shopping for local ingredients on every trip to visit him.

Those are all good classic New Mexico recipes.

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I, too, am new to this board. I have never been a “joiner” before and may not know all the forum etiquette so, please, be patient with me if I am off course.

I am also a native New Mexican and food lover who, until, recently lived in Seattle. I always bought my Chile’s from the Wagner’s in Corrales. Or if feeling lazy (while in college) at Costco frozen in cryovac (Bueno). But Wagner’s was always better.

Anyway, a year and a half ago I drove through Hatch and bought dried *green* chile powder. They had samples out and it tasted good. I had never seen green chile powder before. They also had dried green chile …flakes?... I thought that if nothing else I would sprinkle it on my eggs. It is really good and still has decent flavor not to mention the convenience factor.

It certainly can’t replace fresh but I find it has been well worth the cupboard space. I even made a green sauce with the powder and a few cans of the hatch “hot” chile with some pork and potatoes in it. It was surprisingly good (or I was desperate for chile). I ate the left-overs cold as dip on tortilla chips.

I just moved to Scottsdale, Arizona so I am within shouting distance of Hatch. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get back…..yet.

Anyone been to Sadies lately? My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

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I, too, am new to this board.  I have never been a “joiner” before and may not know all the forum etiquette so, please, be patient with me if I am off course.

I am also a native New Mexican and food lover who, until, recently lived in Seattle.  I always bought my Chile’s from the Wagner’s in Corrales.  Or if feeling lazy (while in college)  at Costco frozen in cryovac (Bueno).  But Wagner’s was always better.

Anyway, a year and a half ago I drove through Hatch and bought dried *green* chile powder.  They had samples out and it tasted good.  I had never seen green chile powder before.  They also had dried green chile …flakes?... I thought that if nothing else I would sprinkle it on my eggs.  It is really good and still has decent flavor not to mention the convenience factor. 

It certainly can’t replace fresh but I find it has been well worth the cupboard space.  I even made a green sauce with the powder and a few cans of the hatch “hot” chile with some pork and potatoes in it.  It was surprisingly good (or I was desperate for chile).  I ate the left-overs cold as dip on tortilla chips.

I just moved to Scottsdale, Arizona so I am within shouting distance of Hatch.  Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get back…..yet. 

Anyone been to Sadies lately?  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Its been a while since I have been to Sadie's. I may have to go for lunch next month when in town.

Try mixing the green chile powder with sour cream, a squeze of lime, minced garlic and soy sauce or salt to make a great green chile dip.

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OK, anyone on here use chicos? One of my favorite NM ingredients. I took me a long time to find reliable sources for chicos, but now that we have, we make chicos with green chile several times a year. This is another New Mexico ingredient that is very typical Native American, but I believe is unknown by most everyone outside of the state.

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Time to bump this back up to the top as New Mexico green chiles are about to come into season. We are gearing up for our traditional family green chile roast in September. There is nothing quite like a freshly roasted chile right of the grill, peeled and rolled up in a homemade flour tortillia with a light brushing of butter and sprinkle of salt. This is the roaster's reward during the day for standing over the grill. [i know, we should get a barrell roaster, but where is the fun in that.] This is truly one of my family's favorite days of the year.

I will try to take some pictures this year of the food and the chiles (200 lbs) and see if we can't stir up some more New Mexico enthusiasts.

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Years ago I had an outdoor fireside meal in Albuquerque with some Navajo guys who did all the cooking and fixing. We ate rattlesnake on a stick, with green chilies, pine nuts and other stuff.

If that's traditional New Mexico Cooking then I'm a fan.


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

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