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Why is Southwestern Cuisine So Popular? And, Chile Sale

By Jane Butel  April 10, 2024

Did you ever wonder or think about why the Southwestern or Mexican-American cuisine became so popular?  My take on it is that the cuisine has lots of bright, unforgettable flavors at an obtainable price-tag.  The combination of chiles with lots of fresh ingredients and flavors such as lime, garlic, cumin, Mexican oregano and onion make for a flavor bouquet in your palate.  Also, the generous use of corn which is also made into masa, adds a level of both nutrition and a great taste-memory.  All combined with the fact that the core items of the cuisine are easy and inexpensive to make--propelling its popularity into being the fastest growing "taste" in America.

Since 2000, tortillas have been outselling bread, bagels and muffins and the Margarita is the most popular cocktail are a mere reflection of this popularity. 

If you would like to have tons of fun learning the many hints and tricks for making both yummy and beautiful Southwestern dishes--now is  your chance.

You can attend our entire week-long class next week at a discount or attend one or more days, each at a discount, if you wish. (Please call 505-243-2622 or email jane.butels@gmail.com) for the special prices. Then, by popular demand, I am offering the Taco Party again on the week following, on April 25 for all of those who wanted to come and have requested that I recreate the class.

If you are interested in participating in just one or a few of the classes instead of the entire week, you can view the dishes being created in each day on my website, www.janebutelcooking.com. 

To help fill your chile supply--I am placing a three day special on our famed mild chile and hot chile of 50% off of our mild and hot, which are always fresh, fresh and should be kept in the refrigerator or freezer in glass jars.  Remember, eating chiles at least 80% of the time, helps keep you healthy and free of debilitating diseases such as cancer and heart disease. 

Here's a couple of favorite chili recipes to use when cooking up your chili.


The smoky flavor of bacon adds character to almost any chili, soup, or stew, and here, paired with corn and potatoes, it makes this chili extra-special. For a veggie version, simply skip the bacon, use 3 Tablespoons olive or vegetable oil to sauté the vegetables, and add a drop or two of liquid smoke.

Yield: serves 2 to 4

6 slices bacon, cut crosswise into ½ inch wide pieces
2 cups chopped onions
3 cups diced unpeeled russet potatoes (2 to 3 potatoes)
4 fresh green chiles, parched, peeled, stemmed, and chopped, or 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chiles
2 Tablespoons ground mild or hot red chile or a combination
2 cups fresh, frozen, or canned corn (if fresh, cut from 1 large ear of corn)
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups whole milk
½ cup heavy (whipping) cream or evaporated skim milk
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Hot pepper sauce (optional)
1 teaspoon crushed caribe chile

1. Place the bacon in a large saucepan or pot over medium to medium-low heat, and cook until it is crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate and set it aside.

2. Drain most of the bacon drippings from the saucepan, leaving just a thin layer on the bottom. Add the onions and potatoes and cook, stirring, until the onions are translucent and the potatoes are slightly browned around the edges, 5 to 7 minutes.

3. Add the green and red chiles, corn, broth, milk, and cream and stir well. Add the cumin and salt, cover the pan, and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.

4. Stir in the bacon. Taste the chili and adjust the seasonings as needed, adding hot pepper sauce to taste (you can also pass it at the table, if you prefer). Serve sprinkled with the caribe chile.


This chili has the taste of gumbo, but without the okra or file’.  I made it the first time with end-of-the-season garden vegetables, of which I had considerable amounts. If you want to double up some of the vegetables or use substitutes, it will still be very good! 

Yield: 6 to 8 servings 

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 large whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into ¾ inch dice (about 6 cups)

1 large onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 stalks celery, sliced crosswise into ¼ inch pieces

8 to 10 fresh green chiles, parched, peeled and cut crosswise in ½ inch pieces        or 2 cups canned or frozen chopped green chiles

6 large ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped 
4 chicken-apple (or similar) sausages, sliced

2 cups whole-kernel corn (from 2 to 3 ears fresh, or use canned or frozen)

1 head broccoli, chopped

1 can (15 ounces) black beans (about 2 cups) rinsed and drained

2 cups chopped cabbage (about ½ small head)

2 large carrots, sliced into ¼ inch thick rounds

2 cups chicken broth, plus more if needed

Crusty bread, for serving

Olive oil or butter, for serving 

  1. Place the oil in a large pot (5 quarts or larger) over medium-high heat. Add the chicken pieces and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, except the bread and oil, cover the pot and cook over medium-low heat until the vegetables are done, about 30 minutes. If the chili is too thick, stir in water or additional chicken broth until the desired consistency is achieved. Cook for 5 minutes more.
  3. Taste the chili and adjust the seasonings as needed. Serve with the crusty bread and olive oil or butter.




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