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Whether you live in the state or just want to bring a part of your vacation home with you, this roundup of authentic New Mexican recipes will allow you to explore the State of Enchantment from your own home.
All recipes come from Tasting New Mexico by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison. Full of scores more recipes for New Mexico True Favorites, Tasting New Mexico is available through the New Mexico Magazine shop, through bookstores throughout the state, and other online sources. Residents of Tesuque, the Jamisons are four-time James Beard Award-winners for their cookbooks. Cheryl is also the consulting culinary editor for New Mexico Magazine.
Sure, you can buy them already prepped and ready to go but the real chef knows they taste much better when bought in season and doing it yourself is so much more economical. This article will give you everything you need to become a chile pro so you can take your cooking to the next level.
It’s easy in an oven, on top of a gas stove, or on an outdoor grill.
Let’s start with green chiles, the ones most frequently roasted. Plan on twenty minutes for oven roasting, putting the green chiles in a single layer on a baking sheet and blistering them at 450° F until the skins have blackened in many spots. Turn as needed for uniform scorching until the chiles look collapsed.
If you are only roasting a couple of pods, hold them with tongs over the flame of a gas burner for a few minutes, turning to blacken all over, or use an asador, a wire-mesh griddle.
On a gas or charcoal grill, place the green chiles on the grate over a hot fire, searing them on all sides for about ten minutes.
Roast fresh red pods the same ways, but their higher moisture content will keep them from blistering and blackening as fully. To judge readiness, look for loosening skin and a deep brown shade.
After roasting chiles, steam them immediately to loosen the skins.
Place pods in a Ziploc plastic bag or a covered bowl and let them sit five to ten minutes or until cool enough to handle.
If dealing with any quantity of chiles, wear rubber gloves to avoid getting capsaicin (the substance that gives the pods heat) on your hands; it doesn’t wash off easily and can irritate the skin.
Strip off the peel. You may find yourself wanting to run water over the chiles to help with the process since some peel is bound to stick. Don’t do it any more than absolutely necessary, however, because it dilutes flavor. Instead, rinse your gloved hands under the running water.
Remove stems and seeds unless you are planning to stuff the chiles, in which case it’s better to leave the stem and any seeds still attached to avoid weakening the pod.
24 oz ground lamb patty
4 slices of cheddar jack cheese
4 oz 505 Southwestern brand Flame Roasted Green Chile
4 oz aioli or mayonnaise
Salt and Pepper
For a map of New Mexico’s green chile cheeseburger all-stars, click here!
Preheat grill to high.
Form ground lamb into 6 oz patty. Salt and pepper patty to desired amount.
Place patties on grill: three minutes per side for medium rare, five minutes per side for medium, or six minutes per side for medium well.
After flipping the patty, place cheese and green chile on top of cooked patty and cover with a dome lid. Cheese will melt and adhere chile to top of patty.
Cut bun in half. Lightly butter the inside of both halves, then place on the grill surface.
Once bread is golden brown and toasty, spread with aioli or mayonnaise on both surfaces. Place lettuce on bottom bun half, then top with the burger and the bun.
Use the sauce in enchiladas, burritos, tamales, or smothered on top of basically anything. This sauce will keep up to 6 days refrigerated and freezes well.
Servings: 4 cups
8 ounces (about 20 to 25) dried whole red New Mexican chile pods, mild, medium, hot, or a combination
4 cups water or chicken stock (divided use)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 to 2 teaspoons crumbled dried Mexican oregano, or marjoram
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
Toast dried whole chile pods in a heavy skillet over medium heat until they are warm and release their fragrance, 1 to 2 minutes per side.
Remove the chiles from the skillet immediately. When cool enough to handle, break each chile pod into several pieces (wearing rubber or plastic gloves if your skin is sensitive), discarding the stem and seeds.
Place half the chile pieces in a blender and pour in one-half of the water or stock. Puree until mostly smooth but with a few flecks of chile still visible in the liquid.
Warm the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté several minutes until the onion is limp.
Pour in the blended chile mixture, then add oregano and salt.
Puree the remaining chiles with the remaining water and pour it into the sauce in the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for a total of 20 to 25 minutes.
After about 15 minutes, taste the sauce and adjust seasonings. When ready, the sauce will be cooked down enough to coat a spoon thickly but still drop off of it easily. Use warm or refrigerate for later use.
This molten melding of chile, cheese, and corn tortillas is not your ordinary meal. These enchiladas are filling enough to stand on their own – unlike in most places, in New Mexico the tortillas are generally stacked rather than rolled which makes the dish more substantial.
Vegetable oil for pan frying
3 blue-corn tortillas
¾ cup red chile sauce, warmed
2 teaspoons minced onion
4 ounces mild Cheddar, Colby, or Monterey Jack cheese, grated
Heat the broiler. (If the broiler has multiple heat settings, use the lowest.)
Heat ½ to 1 inch of oil in a small skillet until the oil ripples. With tongs, dunk each tortilla in oil long enough for it to go limp, a matter of seconds. Don't let the tortilla turn crisp. Drain and repeat with the remaining tortillas.
On a heatproof plate, layer the first tortilla with half of the onion and one-third of the chile sauce and cheese. Repeat for the second layer. Top with the third tortilla, then add the remaining chile sauce and sprinkle the remaining cheese over all.
Broil the enchilada until the cheese melts. Serve piping hot
Be warned: it’s not your average stew. This dish will bring the unique and bold flavors of New Mexico right to your kitchen table. Serve it with a warmed stack of flour tortillas or homemade cornbread.
1½ to 1¾ pounds beef chuck or pork butt (shoulder), cut in ½-inch cubes
2 medium onions, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 to 1¼ pounds red waxy potatoes, peeled or unpeeled, and diced
5 cups beef or chicken stock
1½ tablespoons salt or more to taste
3 cups 505 Southwestern brand Hatch Valley Roasted Green Chile sauce
1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen, 1 cup carrot chunks, or 1 diced red bell pepper, optional
Sear the meat in a Dutch oven or large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until it browns and liquid accumulated from the meat mostly evaporates.
Stir in the onions and garlic and cook for several minutes, until the onions become translucent. Pour in stock and scrape the mixture up from the bottom to loosen browned bits.
Sprinkle in the salt, reduce the heat to a low simmer, and cook uncovered for 1¼ hours.
Stir in the chile and any of the optional ingredients and continue cooking for another 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the meat is quite tender, the vegetables are soft, and the flavors have blended together.
Ladle into bowls and serve hot.
Many visitors probably wouldn’t notice the difference—it mostly boils down to the batter—but in the state it can get contentious.
The model for this fabulous version comes from the kitchens of the Benevidez sisters at Chope’s in La Mesa and the Hernandez family at Nellie’s Café in Las Cruces. These chile rellenos are covered in gooey cheese and local green chile sauce and are worth every calorie and minute of preparation.
12 ounces (about 3 cups) shredded cheese, preferably Monterey jack cheese or asadero, shredded
12 whole roasted large New Mexican green chiles, slit from end to end
6 large eggs, separated
½ cup all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
Vegetable oil or shortening for deep frying
1 cup all-purpose flour
Green Chile Sauce, warmed
This recipe comes to us from Joseph's Santa Fe prepared by Joe Wrede.
Asadero & Cotija Stuffed Chile Relleno with Red Chile & Green Rice
Place 8 to 10 green Chiles on hot grill
Turn Chiles until skin is black and blistered
Remove Chiles & place in bowl and cover with plastic wrap to steam skin
Once Chiles are cool, peel off skin carefully to preserve Chile’s natural shape. Open a slit running along side & rinse out seeds in a bowl of water.
In a food processor place 1.5 cups of Cotija cheese and .5 cups of Asadero cheese and 1 bunch of cilantro, pulse food processor until ingredients are fully integrated.
Place approximately 4 oz. of cheese mixture into each Chile and form back to appearance of natural green Chile shape.
Separate 3 egg whites from yolks. Place egg whites in mixing bowl and whip until stiff. Place egg yolks in mixing bowl and whip until foamy, about three minutes. Fold egg yolks, 2 tablespoons of flour and 1 tablespoon of salt into stiff egg whites.
Pre- heat oven to 400 degrees. Place a sauté pan over medium flame. Thoroughly coat sauté pan with 1 tablespoon of cooking oil. Run Relleno thru batter and place in hot pan. Pour a quarter cup of batter over each Relleno. Relleno should resemble an omelet. Make sure not crowd the pan. I advise doing no more than one to two Rellenos per pan. Cook Relleno for two minutes then turn and cook for additional two minutes. Place Relleno pan in oven and bake for an additional 3 minutes. Place on top of puddle of red Chile and pillow of green rice.
Boil for ten minutes in 2 quarts of water 1 pound of red Chile pods, de- stemmed and de-seeded. Drain cooking water from Chiles and discard. In a large sauté pan over medium heat add 2 teaspoons of cooking oil and sauté one finely diced white onion, four cloves of chopped garlic and 1 teaspoon each cumin and coriander until golden brown. Put ingredients into blender with Red Chile Pods. Add warm water slowly until consistency is smooth and sauce-like. To refine texture push thru fine mesh strainer and season with salt to taste.
Place in blender ½ cup water, 1 bunch of cilantro, 1 bunch of parsley, ¼ cup of chopped chives, 1 garlic clove and 1 sliced jalapeño. Pulse in blender adding olive oil until it is emulsified.
In a clean mixing bowl add two cups of Jasmine rice. Wash three times with cool water. Place rice in pot with cool water one finger knuckle above top of water. Bring to a boil. Place lid on top of pot, and over medium flame, cook rice for 8 minutes. Keep pot covered and turn off flame. Let stand for 15 minutes. Add green emulsion to rice until thoroughly integrated.
This savory New Mexican stew is almost always served on Saint’s Day feasts at the pueblos and at Christmas and New Year’s gatherings of families and friends. You can also enjoy it for dinner as a side for enchiladas.
6 dried New Mexican red chile pods, stemmed and seeded
1 to 1½ pounds pork shoulder or loin, trimmed of surface fat and cut in bite-sized cubes, or 1 or 2 pigs’ feet
2 pounds frozen posole or 1 pound dried posole
2 medium onions, chopped
6 to 10 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
If you will be using frozen posole, first combine the chile pods with the pork in a Dutch oven or large pot, and simmer together in 4 quarts of water for about 30 minutes. Then add the frozen posole and cook about 30 minutes more.
If your posole is dried, add it with the chile, pork, and 6 quarts of water and simmer together for about 1 hour.
Stir in the onions, garlic, and salt and continue to simmer over a low fire until the posole is soft. Expect the remaining cooking to take another 30 minutes for frozen posole and at least 1 more hour if dried. Do not be surprised if it takes a bit longer.
Serve hot in bowls with some of the liquid, or drain it with a slotted spoon and serve it on the side with other plated foods
While very popular as a home dish, often for holidays or homecomings, it is rarely seen on restaurant menus.
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
½ small onion, minced
1 small celery rib, chopped fine
1½ pounds ground lamb, beef, or veal, or a combination
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons blue cornmeal
1 large egg
1 to 2 teaspoons dried mint
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon New Mexican azafrán, optional
½ small onion, minced
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
14- to 15-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice, preferably “fire-roasted”
2 cups beef or chicken stock
2 cups water
Fresh mint leaves, optional
Warm 1 tablespoon of oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion and celery and sauté until soft but not brown, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, mix together the meat, cornmeal, and egg. Scrape the onion and celery mixture into the meat followed by the remaining ingredients and stir together lightly.
Form ¾- to 1-inch meatballs, packing the meat together lightly. If the meat mixture is sticking to your hands, rinse your hands regularly with cold water. You should end up with about 4 dozen small meatballs.
Warm 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Sear the meatballs, in batches, until they are nicely brown, turning them frequently but gently. Drain with a slotted spoon and set aside on a platter.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the second tablespoon of oil. Stir in the onion and sauté several minutes until translucent, then add the flour and cook for another minute.
Stir in tomatoes and juice, stock, water, optional azafrán, meatballs, and any juices. Bring just to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until the flavors blend and the meatballs are cooked through.
Ladle into broad shallow soup bowls. If you wish, cut mint into very thin ribbons and shower over the bowls. Serve.
It always contains summer squash, usually with corn and green chile for extra flavor and texture. Preparing calabacitas is fast, easy, and forgiving so feel free to make it your own.
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds mixed summer squash (such as small zucchini, yellow crooked-neck or gold bar squash, and light green skinned calabacita), sliced thin or in bite-size cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
2 small tomatoes, preferably Roma or Italian plum, optional
2 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen
¼ to ¾ cup chopped, roasted mild New Mexican green chile, fresh or thawed frozen
½ teaspoon salt
Up to ¼ cup half-and-half, optional
4 ounces (1 cup) grated Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese, optional
Warm the butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the squash, onion, and optional tomatoes. Saute for 10 to 15 minutes, until the squash is well softened.
Stir in the corn, chiles, and salt, and cook covered for another 10 minutes until all vegetables are tender.
Pour in the half-and-half if you wish and simmer briefly, until the liquid is reduced by about one-half.
Serve hot. If using the cheese, scatter it over the calabacitas just before serving.
This is not your typical breakfast burrito; the green chile sauce takes it to a whole new level. After eating this, you will never be able to go back.
Servings: 4 generously
1⁄4 cup vegetable oil
3 large russet potatoes, shredded
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
Fresh-ground black pepper to taste
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 large eggs, lightly beaten, optional
4 flour tortillas, warmed
8 slices bacon, cooked until crisp
3 to 4 cups green chile sauce warmed
6 to 8 ounces mild cheddar cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 400
Warm the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Stir in the potatoes, salt, and as much pepper as you wish. Pat the mixture down evenly, cook several minutes.
Scrape it up from the bottom of the skillet, add the onion and garlic, and pat back down again. Repeat the process until the potatoes are cooked through and golden brown, with many crisp edges, about 12 to 15 minutes.
If you are including eggs, pour them over the potatoes and scrape the mixture up and down another couple of times to distribute and cook the eggs.
Spoon one-fourth of the potatoes onto a tortilla. Top it with 2 slices of bacon. Roll up into a loose cylinder and place the burrito seam-side down on a heat-proof plate.
Spoon one-fourth of the chile sauce over the burrito and sprinkle it generously with cheese. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
Bake the burritos until the cheese is melted and gooey, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
Sopaipillas have a place at every New Mexican table. Whether they’re served as a side to the entre or with the dessert course makes no matter. When it comes to Sopaipillas you can’t go wrong. Follow this authentic recipe, pour some honey on em and eat them whenever you like.
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar, optional
2 teaspoons vegetable oil, vegetable shortening, or lard
¼ cup milk or evaporated milk, at room temperature
½ cup lukewarm water or more as needed
Vegetable oil for deep frying
Stir together the flour, salt, baking powder, and the optional sugar in a large bowl.
Work in the oil, using clean fingers to combine. Add the milk and water, working the liquids into the flour until a sticky dough forms. Pour in a bit more water if the dough isn’t sticking together as a rough shaggy mess.
Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface vigorously for 1 minute. The dough should be soft but feeling a bit sturdy and no longer sticky.
Let the dough rest, covered with a damp cloth, for 15 minutes. Divide the dough into 3 balls, cover the balls with the damp cloth, and let them rest for another 15 to 30 minutes.
Roll out each ball of dough on a lightly floured surface into a circle or rectangle approximately ¼-inch thick. If you have a tortilla roller, use it rather than a heavier rolling pin, which compacts the dough more.
Trim off any ragged edges and discard them. To avoid toughening the dough, try to avoid rerolling it. Cut each portion of dough into 4 wedges or smaller rectangles.
Heat at least 3 inches of oil in a heavy, high-sided saucepan or skillet to 400° F.
Slip 1 or 2 dough pieces into the oil. After sinking briefly, the sopaipillas should begin to balloon and rise back to the surface.
Once they start bobbing at the top, carefully spoon oil over them for the few seconds it will take until they have fully puffed. Turn them over (we like a long-handled slotted spoon for this) and cook just until they are golden. Drain.
Arrange the sopaipillas in a napkin-lined basket and serve immediately with honey. Tear a corner off your sopaipilla to let steam escape, drizzle honey through the hole into the hollow center, and enjoy.
They have simple yet rich flavors – cinnamon, sugar and anise – that melt in your mouth. These cookies are essential to weddings, graduations, and anniversaries and of course the Holidays.
Servings: 4 dozen cookies
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 to 1½ teaspoons ground anise
½ teaspoon salt
½ pound lard, softened
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons sweet white wine, brandy, or rum, or apple or pineapple juice
¼ cup sugar and ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon for the topping
Sift together the flour, baking powder, anise, and salt and set aside.
Beat the lard in an electric mixer, gradually adding the sugar, and beat until extremely fluffy and light, about 8 minutes. Don’t shortcut this step. Stop the mixer every couple of minutes and scrape the sides of the mixing bowl.
Add the egg, followed by the wine, and continue beating.
Mix in the dry ingredients, adding about one-third of the mixture at a time. Stop the mixer as you make each addition, and beat no longer than necessary to incorporate the dry ingredients. A stiff pie-crust type of dough is what you’re seeking.
Chill the dough for about 15 minutes for easy handling.
Preheat the oven to 350
Roll out the dough ¼-inch thick on a floured work surface and cut with a paring knife into a fleur de lis, or cut with a small cookie cutter. Avoid handling the dough anymore than necessary, one of the keys to the melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Transfer the cookies to ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, until just set and pale golden.
While the cookies bake stir together the topping.
When the cookies are done, cool for just a minute or two on the baking sheets, then gently dunk the top of each in the cinnamon-sugar.
Transfer to absorbent paper to finish cooling.
It’s only 6 ingredients and gets its light yet firm texture from egg yolks rather than gelatin. So it’s easy and vegetarian friendly! Enjoy.
½ cup granulated sugar (for caramel)
2 cups whole milk or goat’s milk
14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
3 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 300
Combine all ingredients except the sugar in a large heavy saucepan, then whisk until the custard mixture is well-blended and frothy.
Heat the custard over medium-low until it is just warm throughout; do not let it boil. Divide the custard among the ramekins
Set ramekins in a roasting pan or other large baking pan. Make a water bath for the cups, pouring hot water into the baking dish to a depth of about 1 inch.
Bake about 1 hour and 10 minutes, until the flan is barely firm. The tops may have colored lightly.
Remove from the oven and let the flan cool in the hot water bath. Remove ramekins from the roasting pan, discarding the water.
Cover the ramekins and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
Unmold the flan. Run a knife between the edge of each flan and ramekin. Invert each onto a dessert plate, letting caramel run down the sides. Serve cool.