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Special Balloon Fiesta and November Weekend Cooking Class

By Jane Butel  October 10, 2017

We are in the midst of over 500 brilliantly colored  balloons gracefully soaring over-head every morning. They are of every shape imaginable from a huge black and white Holstein cow just begging to be milked to the ominous look of  Darth Vader’s head to the adorable kissing twin Honey Bees.  And of course there are many, many tear drops—the Wells Fargo wagon, a Cycler and  others.

 There is a Mass Ascension every morning starting last Saturday, October 7.    The Balloon Fiesta here in Albuquerque is in its 46th year and is reputed to be the world’s largest.  People come from many parts of the world to view the balloons.  This year we have balloonists  from 23 countries launching balloons and many more visitors from many other countries.  Saturday, the Balloon Fiesta Park audience was estimated at 80,000.

The cottonwoods are starting to turn golden and will be just gorgeous by the time we have our next weekend cooking school, set for November 10-12, 2017.  Come join us—we will have great fun making all kinds of traditional and innovative New Mexican and Southwestern favorite dishes.  When you go the to the description of the weekend class, there is a link to the daily menus.

I started the weekend schools in my weekend home in Woodstock, NY while still back in New York City.  It seemed that so many could not get away for a whole week in Santa Fe, where I originally started the week long schools back in 1983.  The weekend school menus have been tweaked and up dated regularly, but the favorites such as sopaipillas, chile rellenos, perfect margaritas, carne adovado and tamales stay in demand.

Carne Adovado is one of my all-time favorites and is so totally versatile.  You can use it as an entrée, as a sauce over enchiladas, a filling for burritos, or as a breakfast favorite with eggs.

You honesty do need our pure, fresh chiles and herbs to make this dish truly special!  The difference in our ground and crushed chiles—is that they are pure chile—no stems or chemical additives of any kind.

Here is my totally favorite Carne recipe--


(Pork with Red Chile Sauce) 

This is one of the best, if not the very best-tasting, pork creations from northern New Mexico.  Traceable back to Conquistador days, this dish has somehow never gained favor outside of New Mexico.  I think it is because crushed caribe chiles are hard to find outside the area.  I always make a full five- and one half pound recipe because I like to have lots available for burritos, tacos, and enchiladas, or to serve over or under  rice, beans or eggs.

Yield:  10-12 servings

1/2 cup crushed caribe chile

1/4 cup ground mild chile

1/4 cup ground hot chile

3 garlic cloves

2 Tablespoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons dried leaf Mexican oregano

2 teaspoons salt

4 cups water 

5-1/2 pounds bone-in pork shoulder, cut into ½ inch thick chops (trimmed so as to keep a narrow layer of fat around the edges)

  1. Process all the ingredients except pork in a blender or food processor. Pour into a flat-bottomed glass baking dish.  Dip each pork chop into the marinade and lay to one side of the baking dish as you coat the rest.  Let marinate 30 minutes at room temperature, periodically spooning chile mixture over the top and turning chops over.  Then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.  (The pork can be frozen for up to 3 months at this point.)


  1. In the morning, stir and coat each pork chop with chile sauce. Stir and coat again.  Preheat oven to 325F (165C).  Cover pan with lid or foil; bake chops, covered for the first 45 minutes.  Remove cover and bake 1 to 1-1/2 hours longer, spooning the sauce over chops every 30 minutes.  Let cool.


  1. Using a sharp knife, remove bones and pull meat apart with your fingers to shred the pork into medium sized chunks. Place shredded meat back in the baking dish.  Bake 30 minutes to allow the sauce to cook into pork.  When done, the meat should be a bright rosy red color and very tender.



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