Mexican cuisine is based on native ingredients like corn, beans, squash
and chiles, and incorporates Mexican, Native American and Spanish
flavors - but chile, whether red or green, is always the most important element. In fact, our
official state question is "Red or green?" Both types of chile can
be instantly addictive, as you'll find out when you try these Southwestern cooking recipes
spice up your next dinner. Remember, the New Mexico red or green chile
sauce recipe can make even the most mundane meal quite remarkable!
Burritos are the ultimate hearty meal on the go. Typically they are
made with a flour tortilla, filled with meat, beans, cheese, salsa, or a
combination of these, and rolled. When not served "to go" they are often served smothered with chile
sauce and melted cheese.
- 1/2 lbs meat of your choice (vegetarians can use rice or beans)
- 1/2 cup grated cheese
- 4 flour tortillas
- 2 cups or 1 16 oz jar of green chile sauce
Warm up green chile sauce. Add meat, green chile sauce and cheese on warm tortilla and roll up.
Makes 4 burritos.
A Southwestern staple, the taco is made with a corn tortilla fried
into a crescent shape and filled with meats, cheese or beans, and fresh
chopped lettuce, onions, tomatoes and cheese.
- 2 lbs ground beef or chicken
- 2 cups or 1 16 oz jar green chile sauce
- 6 flour, corn or hard shell tortillas
- 2/3 cup grated cheese
- 2/3 cup shredded lettuce
- 2/3 cup chopped tomatoes
- 2/3 cup chopped onions
- 1/2 cup sour cream
Cook ground beef or chicken and strain. Add green chile sauce and
simmer on medium heat. Salt and pepper to taste. Add meat to soft flour,
corn or hard shell tortillas. Top with grated cheese, lettuce, diced
tomatoes, onions and sour cream.
Makes 6 servings.
These tasty flat or rolled treats are made with corn tortillas
filled with chicken meat, and/or cheese, and either rolled or stacked
and covered with chile sauce and cheese. Enchiladas are easy to make
and always hit the spot!
- 1/2 lbs meat (chicken, pork or beef) chopped, shredded or ground
- 2 cups or 1 16 oz jar green chile sauce (Try New Mexico green chile sauce recipe)
- 1 dozen 6-inch corn tortillas
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup sour cream (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly fry corn tortilla in hot oil (steam
for low-fat option). Put tortillas on paper towel to drain excess oil.
Place tortilla on dinner plate, add preheated green chile, cooked meat
and cheddar cheese (lightly sprinkled). Add another tortilla and build
two more layers. Top with green chile, sprinkle more cheese on top.
Place in preheated oven broiler until cheese is melted (approximately 5
minutes). Garnish with sour cream and serve.
Makes 4 servings.
New Mexico Green Chile Sauce Recipe
Chile is a sauce made from red or green chiles and served hot over
many New Mexican dishes. Chile does not use vinegar, unlike most salsas,
picantes and other hot sauces. This basic, yet versatile sauce can be
used to create enchiladas, or pour over chimichangas, tacos or
- 1 tablespoon butter or lard
- 2/3 cup chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1-1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 cup (or more) chopped green chiles
- 1 large clove garlic, finely minced
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- Dash of ground cumin
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the onion until soft. Stir in the flour. Add the broth.
Then add chiles, garlic, salt and cumin. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Makes 2 cups.
New Mexico Red Chile Sauce Recipe
This version of New Mexico’s famous red chile sauce is from the ABQ
Cuisine Expert, Gwyneth Doland. Mixed with shredded pork, it is used as a
tamale filling, but all by itself it is also ladled over tamales as
well as enchiladas, huevos rancheros, breakfast burritos, stuffed
sopaipillas, chiles rellenos, and almost anything else you can think of.
You may not need 4 cups of the sauce for your recipe, but you might as
well make the whole batch; freeze extra portions in small re-sealable
plastic containers for later use.
- 24 dried red New Mexico chiles
- 4 cups beef stock, chicken stock, or water
- 2 tablespoons bacon grease, lard, or vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- Honey (optional)
In a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat, roast the chiles on
both sides (you’ll have to do this in batches) until they soften
slightly and become aromatic. When the chiles are cool enough to handle,
remove the stems and seeds.
Transfer the chiles to a deep saucepan and pour the stock or water over
them. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for
about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the chiles to
rest, about 15 minutes.
Working in batches, puree the chiles with their soaking liquid.
In the cast-iron skillet, over medium heat, melt the bacon grease or
lard, or heat the oil. Add the garlic, and flour and cook, stirring,
until the mixture becomes golden. Add the pureed chiles, and stir
quickly while the sauce bubbles and spatters. Reduce the heat, add the
oregano, and simmer for 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt. If the
sauce is a little bitter, mellow it with about a teaspoon of honey, to
Makes about 4 cups.
Pork and Red Chile Tamales
Nothing says holidays to many New Mexicans like a warm tamale.
Unwrapping the tamale is like unwrapping a little present. Tamales
consist of a cornmeal dough made from hominy (called masa) and are
usually filled with sweet or savory filling, wrapped in corn husks and
steamed until firm. Tamales were one of the staples found by the Spanish
when they first arrived in Mexico. Tamales are very time intensive and
often made in large batches for special occasions with many people in a
family or community participating in the tradition.
These pork and red chile tamales from ABQ Cuisine Expert Gwyneth
Doland's cookbook "Tantalizing Tamales" are some of the most common
tamales in the Southwest. They can be found in restaurants, cafés, and
in coolers toted by strolling vendors. Everybody loves them, so make a
bunch and freeze any leftovers. This recipe makes enough pork filling to
make another batch of tamales, but you can always just use the extra
pork for burritos or freeze it for later use.
- 2½ pounds boneless pork butt, trimmed of excess fat
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups red chile sauce
- About 2 pounds of masa
- At least 36 softened corn husks, plus 36 strips for tying
Arrange the pork butt in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed stockpot.
Add the garlic, peppercorns, bay leaves, and salt. Add enough cold water
to cover by several inches. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the
heat and simmer, partially covered, for about 2 hours.
Transfer the pork to a cutting board and allow it to rest 20 minutes.
Using two forks, shred the meat. In a bowl, combine 2 cups of the
shredded pork with enough New Mexico red chile sauce to thoroughly
moisten the meat. To assemble the tamales, spread about ½ cup masa onto
the center of each corn husk. Spoon some of the shredded pork filling
down the center of the dough. Fold and tie the tamale; repeat with the
remaining ingredients and husks.
Steam the tamales for 1 hour and serve slathered with the remaining New Mexico red chile sauce.
Makes about 24 tamales.
Chile-Seared Salmon with Sweet Pear Pineapple Salsa
Chiles love salmon-they add just the right accent to flavor the
salmon to its greatest dimension. Fruity salsa, spiked with chiles,
adds just the right complement.
- 1 tbsp ground mild red chile
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for sprinkling
- 1/4 pound fresh salmon filet, deboned
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil (optional)
- 1 cup Sweet Pear Pineapple Salsa (See Appetizers section for recipe)
In a small bowl, combine the chile, sugar and salt. Cut the salmon
into two pieces. Rinse, then pat dry with a paper towel. Rub the chile
mixture evenly over the salmon. Sprinkle salt in a heavy seasoned
skillet (or an unseasoned skillet to which you have added the oil).
Place over medium-high heat until hot. Sauté the salmon for 3 to 5
minutes per side, until crisp and brown on the outside and still moist
and bright pink on the inside. Serve on a pool of salsa.
Makes 2 servings.
Red vs. Green Chile
Chile comes in two varieties depending on the stage of ripeness in
which they were picked. The long, narrow green chiles are served freshly
roasted and peeled. Most commonly, green chile is made into a spicy
sauce that’s ladled over many foods. Red chiles are left on the plants
to ripen to a deep garnet color and strung in ristras to dry. After
drying, the chiles are ground into a powder. These dried red chiles are
rehydrated and pureed into a smooth sauce to flavor many foods.