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Warm up and Stay Healthy with Red Chile

By Jane Butel  October 18, 2022

Red chile is truly a blessing when you think about it.  Did you know that red chile is the world's best anti-oxidant--or natural food preserver and one of the healthiest foods you can eat? Besides all that--it is delicious and so much fun with which to cook. (red chile beef enchiladas with egg pictured)

If you would like to learn more  about cooking with red chile and taste the yummy results, then register soon for next week's Red Chile Fiesta class.   

One of the little known dishes out of New Mexico, yet most historic, is Carne Adobado, which will be featured in our next class.  To gain the greatest flavor, there are several tips and hints that make for  that memorable and fantastic flavor--yet many restaurants seem to have never mastered those techniques.  I will share ALL of those techniques next week during our Red Chile Fiesta class, set for  5 PM  on Thursday,  October 27 that has just a few remaining spaces left.  You may make a reservation  by clicking on  above date.  

First, the history. The King of Spain, who sponsored the Conquistador relocations  with Christopher Columbus, promised those taking the trips that they would be given a land grant, once they had traveled as far as possible into the new world.  One group determined they had gone as far as possible, once they reached Chimayo, NM.  That group is responsible for Carne Adobado.

 When the Spanish came to New Mexico in the early 1500's, the major food contributions they brought with them were hogs, wheat and sugar and  other cooking condiments.  One of the dilemmas, they had was--once they butchered a hog, how to preserve it?  The average  hog weighed an average  of 300 pounds.  Only beef will keep about a month if cool, but pork and all other meats keep only hours  once butchered.  The  nearby Pueblo Indians who were quite beneficent to the Spanish taught them how to cut the carcass into chunks and slather the pieces with a slurry made of the local red chiles, (our Caribe chile) wild oregano, garlic and salt--cumin if available.   They were then to place  the pieces of chile laden meat into the cleaned hide and tie it together and lower it into a trench of the earth  about 10 feet deep.  This would preserve the pork for a number of weeks.  That was the beginning of Carne Adobado. 

In the class, I will give you the  roasting hints and we will prepare a generous amount, which is great for burritos, enchiladas, open face tacos and much more.  With such a generous amount of chiles, the carne will freeze for months and still be great!  (Pictured  is a Carne Adobado burrito)

To make it easier for you to make your own Carne Adobado, I am discounting the special Caribe chile 15%, which is critical for creating the best and most traditional flavor.  You may use the Caribe chile as a table condiment and for flavoring soups, stews, roasts and even chocolate desserts.

The other remaining classes for this  year are the New Mexico Favorites on November 17 and  the New Mexico Traditional Holiday Dishes on December 15 (the December 8 class is Sold Out.)

We have two weekend cooking classes scheduled with more day classes to soon be available.  The two weekend full participation classes are set for  November 6 - 8 and February 10 - 12, 2023.  The November weekend is almost SOLD OUT.

Here are two red chile recipes to enjoy--

Posole

You may serve this either as a side dish or main dish. I like to layer toppings such as fresh shredded cabbage, fresh lime wedges, avocado cubes and cilantro sprigs.
Yield: 15 to 16 servings

1 pound dried posole

1 quart water, or more

2 pounds pork, steak or roast, cut into ½” cubes

1 Tablespoon salt or to taste

2 garlic cloves, minced

pinch of Mexican oregano

1 Tablespoon cumin, or to taste

¼ cup caribe chile or to taste

       1. Simmer the posole in unseasoned water until it becomes soft and the kernels have burst open; it usually requires 1-1/2 to 2 hours.

       2. Brown the pork cubee in a cold, well-seasoned frying pan; adding no fat or oil to the pan. Saute until very browned, then add to the posole. Deglaze the frying pan with 1 cup water, stirring to loosen the brownies sticking to the pan. Also add this liquid to the posole.

       3. Add remaining ingredients, using one-half the cumin and cook the stew for 1 or more hours, to blend the flavors. Just before serving, add the remaining half of cumin. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Ideally, this dish should be started the morning before it is to be served, to allow the flavors to develop.

Notes: In Old Mexico the following toppings are often served and posole is a main dish:

2 cups thinly shredded fresh cabbage

2 limes, cut into wedges

1 avocado, pitted, peeled and cut into cubes

1 bunch cilantro sprigs

In Mexico, posole is often spelled with a "z" instead of an "s".

     
RED CHILE BEEF ENCHILADAS
(Rolled & Santa Fe Style)
 

This is one of my very favorite dishes, especially when made with blue corn tortillas.  It is a popular custom in New Mexico to place a soft-fried egg on top of each enchilada as soon as they come out of the oven.

Yield:  4-6 servings

Vegetable oil or chile water
12 white, yellow or blue corn tortillas
2 cups Red Chile Sauce (recipe attached), made with beef
About 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese
1 onion, chopped (may be cooked into the sauce)
4 to 6 eggs (optional), soft fried
6 to 8 lettuce leaves (optional), coarsely chopped
2 ripe tomatoes (optional), cut in wedges

1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Heat ½ inch of oil in a heavy skillet.  Add tortillas and fry lightly in batches, being careful not to make them too crisp to roll.  Or dip in chile water if you prefer.  Warm 4 plates in the preheated oven.

2. For Flat Enchiladas:  Place a little chile sauce on a warmed plate, then top with a tortilla followed by cheese, onion, and more sauce.  Repeat once or twice more, making a stack of 2 or 3 tortillas layered with cheese, onion, and sauce (see Note).  Top each enchilada with more sauce and cheese.  Place in the preheated oven until the cheese melts.  Top with an egg, if desired, and garnish with the chopped lettuce and tomato wedges.  These are traditional Santa Fe style.

3. For Rolled Enchiladas:  Dip a lightly fried tortilla into the sauce and place a strip each of shredded cheese and chopped onion down the center.  Roll up, place 2 rolled enchiladas on each warmed plate, and top with more sauce and cheese.  Place in oven until cheese melts.  Arrange lettuce around the edges before serving.

Note:  Three tortillas make a very hearty serving.  Most people prefer two.


 Red Chile Sauce 

This is the basic red chile sauce used to create enchiladas and to serve over burritos, chile rellenos, tamales, and chimichangas.

Yield:  2-1/2 cups

2 Tablespoons butter, lard or bacon drippings
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup ground mild red chile
1/4 cup ground hot red chile
2 cups beef stock or water
1 garlic clove, crushed
Pinch of ground Mexican oregano
Pinch of ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon salt (if not using stock)

1. Melt butter in a medium-size saucepan over low heat.  Add flour and stir until smooth and slightly golden.

Remove pan from heat and add ground chiles.  Return to heat and gradually stir in stock.  Add garlic, oregano, cumin, and salt, if using, and cook, stirring, about 10 minutes.  Simmer at least 5 more minutes for flavors to blend.

VARIATION:
Sauté 1 pound ground beef, or beef cut in very small cubes.  Omit the shortening, and continue as directed above.  Use for enchiladas.

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