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bobag87

Celebrating New Mexico: traditions surrounding a fall green chile roast

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Here are the ingredients for our first preparation for next Saturday.  We make blue corn tamales with red chile and pork shoulder.  We make them the week ahead and freeze them.  On chile roast day, we re-steam and serve them, especially to all of those that are manning the grills roasting chiles.

Tamale Prep.jpg

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The first step in making the tamales is prepping the meat. Pork shoulder is cubed and simmered with spices until tender.  We prepped 45 pounds.  

 

 

Boiling meat.jpg

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Finally, we mix masa harrina, roasted blue corn meal, red chile powder and water to hydrate the masa base for the tamales.  We let this sit for at least 24 hours before mixing our masa for the tamales.  Here are photos of the masa base and the meat and red chile mixture.  This was the end of Friday night.  On Sunday we actually made the tamales.  Happy to keep documenting this year's chile roast if there is interest, but also do not want to over do it.   Let me know if this is of any interest.

 

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Tamale Meat.jpg

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Please do go on, bobag87. This is very interesting, and as close as I'm likely to get to making tamales. ;-)

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Oh, I am loving this bobag87.  You can't over-post.  I want to see tons of pictures.  I love all of your simmering pots.  

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Ok, with the tamale ingredients prepped, on Sunday it was time to actually make and steam the tamales. Corn husks are boiled in a large pot outside. The hydrated masa base is mixed with lard, pork stock (reserved from the prep of the meat), and spices until is is like a thick cake batter. This is then spread in the softened corn husks. The meat and chile filing is put in the middle and the tamale is wrapped up and tied. They are then steamed.

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Photos of the mixed masa and meat and chile filling (with my helper) and the finished product.

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That finished off Sunday. Monday night was spent sorting corn and pinto beans. We make a green chile stew with a rare product native to Northern New Mexico called chicos. It is a dried corn that is roasted in the outdoor bread ovens and very few producers are left that make it the traditional way. The stew is made with green chile and beef short rib. We also make traditional New Mexico style posole. This year we are using a mixture of blue and white posole in the stew which will have pork and red chile. Finally we make a traditional pot of pinto beans with lots of green chile in it. We get all of these ingredients from a Native American farm at Ohkay'Owingeh Pueblo in New Mexico. The owner is in her late 80s and produces her products traditionally. It is called Cassados Farms and she will ship, but reluctantly and you have to send a check in advance. I was lucky to get by there in August and took an extra suitcase to fill with her products. I had to pay extra to check it as it was over the 50 lb limit! This is also where the roasted blue corn meal for the tamales originated. Here is a photo of the chicos, posole and pintos.image.jpg

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Catching up, we are now at Tuesday night of chile roast week. On Saturday, it will be a team effort to get the nearly 300 lbs of chile roasted and bagged. While we have a ton of people come to the roast, very few have the patience and desire to man grills roasting chile for any length of time. Those that do need to be rewarded. While certain beverages will be awarded, the best rewards are homemade tortillas wrapped around a freshly roasted chile with a dab of butter and salt. I am not crazy enough to hand make enough tortillas for the whole party. I am crazy enough to make a bunch for those that actually lend a helping hand roasting chiles. Tonight was flour tortilla making night.

Here are the ingredients (absent shortening which is definitely needed).

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The dough in the mixer.

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Dough resting.

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Dough ready to be rolled.

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Finished product.

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Edited by bobag87 (log)
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No comments allowed on the lack of symmetry in the tortillas!  I am always fascinated by those that can always make them perfectly round.  At least this way you know they were home made.  Hopefully, this is of some interest.  Shopping night is tomorrow and then I will pick back up with some of the process Thursday night when we actually get cooking. 

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Bobag87, I wish I was part of your circle.  Those tamales look amazing and your tortillas!  I LIKE that they aren't perfectly round.

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I haven't yet tried making my own tortillas.  Advocates of making them oneself swear it's easy, but I bet there's a learning curve. (Isn't there always?)

Questions:

"White Lily" flour?  Is that a break with tradition?  :laugh:  I think of it as southern, yes, but from farther east and a rather damper climate. 

You mention shortening; I'd have guessed lard.  Can either be used?

How do you keep that beautiful stack of tortillas from drying out until eaten?

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Smithy, White Lilly is a break from tradition.  I used it basically as an experiment a few years back and find it creates a dough that is easier to roll.  There is not a ton of difference in the finished product vs. regular all purpose flour.  In fact, I only had enough White Lilly for three batches and made the fourth with all purpose.  As for the fat, you can use lard.  I do not like using the commercial lard products, instead using rendered lard bought at Mexican markets.  Since this product tends to be thinner than commercial lard or shortening, I do not think it would work well for tortillas (it is critical in the tamales though).  As such, I use Crisco which works fine.  

 

As for making your own, they are always the best, but here in Texas, and in New Mexico, there are any number of options for great tortillas that save you the time and effort.  They are fairly easy, but there is a learning curve.  The hardest part is finding a recipe that you are happy with and that all depends on what your preference is.  New Mexico flour tortillas tend to be a little heavier and have a bite to them.  This is what I grew up with and prefer, so the recipe that I have worked on is slanted that way.

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As for keeping the tortillas from dying out, they were covered with towels (just uncovered to photograph) while cooling and then placed in zip lock bags once cooled.

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Shelby, what do you use to thicken your sauce?

A bit of flour and homemade chicken stock.  

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Next up, we made New Mexico Modernist Queso. The recipe is based on the Modernist Cuisine recipe with Mexican white cheeses and New Mexico chile. Here are the ingredients.

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And here is the final product in the crock pot for easy reheating on Saturday.

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Next was another staple dip, New Mexico Green Chile Dip. Again, a before and after photo.

Ingredients.

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Final product.

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We also always make green chile sauce. While this is more of a staple for other times where we have enchiladas or burritos, I always feel like we need a pot of traditional sauce. Of course it typical gets eaten like salsa by most of our Texan guests using chips. Oh well. You will see our version is less refined than the beautiful sauce Shelby posted. I do not remove the seeds and roughly chop the chiles. We also add a few tomatoes and cilantro. In recent years, I have found xantham gum to be the perfect thickener and that is what us in the plastic dish.

Ingredients.

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Final product.

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We will smoke three pork shoulders (16lbs each) and two briskest (19lbs each) starting tomorrow evening. While I agree that good BBQ should not need sauce, this is Chile Roast and we need a chile forward BBQ sauce. Years ago I found a Grady Spears recipe for BBQ sauce using chipotles and other chiles. I have modified it over the years and use only the New Mexico red chile sauce as the chile component. It is a tangy, earthy sauce that is perfect for smoked meat.

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The sauce is simmered until the onions break down and then blended with a stick blender until smooth. The first picture shows the sauce before blended.image.jpg


Edited by bobag87 (log)
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Enough with food, it will be Saturday and a big game for my Texas Aggies. We need New Mexico Red Chile Bloody Mary's. We made the mix tonight. Too bad we were good and did not mix one.

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Finally, we also make infused tequila with Sangrita. The tequila is infused using an isi canister. We do repossado with habenero and silver with Serrano. The Sangrita is the perfect pairing, slightly sweet, slightly salty and spicy. We also have homemade sangria, but that is on the list for tomorrow night.

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Edited by bobag87 (log)
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bobag87, I love, love the looks of all those sauces! It's a pile of work, but what a payoff!

Did you calculate in advance the amount of xanthan gum you'd need as a thickener as a starting point, or just start adding until you found the right amount for the consistency you wanted? In my experience with things like salad dressings it doesn't take much. I hadn't thought to try it in something like this.

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Goodness, what a lot of GORGEOUS food going on up there.  Your sauces look delicious.  I'm stealing your recipe for the chile dip with the sour cream :)  And your bloody mary's!  My husband would go nuts for one of those.

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Smithy, I just sprinkle a little in until the sauce thickens to my liking.  Since I am unscientific on the base of the sauce, I don't ever have a ratio, but it is probably a teaspoon per 4 cups of sauce or even a little less.

 

Shelby, have at it, no real recipe other than the ingredients. I have made it for years so it is all on feel, but I don't think it is possible to mess it up.  The key, believe it or not is a decent amount of soy sauce.

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