I know you might be thinking, why is she writing about chile and chili in this heat. Believe it or not, chiles help ccol you off and chilis are yummy fast meals in hot weather. I know you probably are thinking salads are better. Well, probably not. In hot climates, chiles have always been very popular. Do you know why?
Well, there are several reasons. First and foremost, red chile is the world's best anti-oxidant or spoilage preventer. So for practical reasons, chiles were used abudantly in warm climates to both keep the food from spoiling as well as creating a cooling down when eaten due to the perspiration they create.
Chiles help create a sense of well being or a sort of euphoria, making for a happy feeling when eating them.
Here in New Mexico, we are in the midst of a tremendously long heat wave. And, boy do the chiles taste good.
I thought you might like to try making some chili with our pure red mild and hot chiles, hence I am putting them on a blow out sale of 50% off for two days. Chilis are a great batch food, meaning you can make a double, triple or whatever recipe and freeze meal sized portions for a quick and easy meal later.
Chili is very versatile. You can use it for a topping on baked potatoes, to create enchiladas, burritos and to be baked with a cornbread topper snd so on. If yiou would like tons of chili recipes, order my 2nd edition of Chili Madness at only $10.50, autographed.
Last week, we had a very successsful cooking class featuring red chiles. Now this coming week, on July 27 at 5 PM, we are repeating our popular Green Chile Fiesta class--just in time for the green chile season.
In this class, which uses 50 green chiles, we will be making--
- two award winning Green Chie Stews
- Blue Corn Crusted Chile Rellenos
- Green Chile Crusted Chorizo Pie
- Green Chile Apple Pie with French Pastry
Plus lots of information on how to parch and freeze chiles.
Note: The class was formerly set for a week earlier--the actual date is July 27 and hopefully will be a bit cooler outdoors. Our kitchen does stay cool with two kinds of air conditioning.
We have a fun Tacos class on August 3 (date change) and a New Mexico Favorites class on August 24. Our next weekend class is set for August 18 - 20 followed by one September 15 - 17 and our next week long class is October 23 - 27.
Here's a couple of chili recipes for you to enjoy--
BOWL O’ RED
The influence behind this recipe came from my maternal grandfather, who was in charge of the line extensions going west from Topeka, Kansas. While working with the Santa Fe Railroad, he was stationed a long time in Dodge City, KS which was the end of trail for the cattle drives. He developed this recipe after commiserating with lots of “cookies,” or trail cooks who cooked for the cowboys bringing cattle up from Texas and Northern Mexico. It has won numerous chili cook-offs and is one of the really true original chilis. I like to gussy it up with side dishes of Fixin’s ‘n Mixin’s of chopped onion, pickled jalapenos, mixed grated cheddar and Jack cheeses, sour cream garnished with lime wedges edged in powdered mild red chile and a bowl of pequin quebrado minced Habeneros for those who like it red hot!
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
- 2 Tablespoons lard, butter, bacon drippings, or rendered beef fat
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 3 pounds lean beef, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 3 medium-sized garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup pure ground hot chile or to taste
- 1/4 cup pure ground mild chile
- 1 Tablespoon ground cumin, divided
- About 3 cups water
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1. Melt the lard in a large heavy pot with a flat bottom and straight sides over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened. Remove from heat.
2. Add meat, garlic, ground chiles and ½ the cumin to the pot. Break up any lumps. Stir in the water and salt. Return to heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, 2-1/2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat is very tender and the flavors are well blended. NEVER COVER. Placing a lid on a stew such as this will steam the meat, toughening it, rather than allowing it to break down and become quite tender. Add more water if necessary. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding remaining cumin. Serve with fixin’s ‘n mixin’s as noted above.
CRAZY CHILI CASSEROLE
This yummy casserole is influenced by a favorite version of Chilaquiles from the Yucatan. I did a comparative class in Cozumel comparing the pre and post Hispanic influence on the cuisine. This dish is primarily pre-Hispanic and one they served almost daily for their buffet breakfast at the Melia Mayan resort where we happily conducted our school.
Temperature: 425 F, then 350F
Baking Time: 12 minutes, then 30 minutes
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
12 corn tortillas, quartered and baked until crisp
1 teaspoon butter
1 ½ cups leftover chili
1 ¼ cups grated or crumbled white cheese—Queso Blanco, Feta, Monterrey Jack or Mozzarella
1 cup sour cream
1 or more cups chicken stock if dry
2 Tablespoons onion, finely chopped
1. Preheat an oven to 425 F. Quarter tortillas and place on large cookie sheet, then put in oven. Bake until crisp, about 12 to 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 F.
2. Butter a 2 quart or 8 x 8 inch baking pan. When tortillas are crisp, place a layer to cover the bottom of the pan. Add a layer of the chili, then cheese and sour cream dollops.
3. Repeat layers, ending with cheese and sour cream. Sprinkle with onion. If dry, due to thick chili, add chicken stock. Bake for 30 minutes or until slightly browned on top and bubbly.