Tag Archives: green chile

SANTA FE STYLE CHICKEN AND WAFFLES

Chicken and waffles has become a trendy dish often featured in trendy restaurants. Supposedly it had its origins in soul food. There are definitely clues that reinforce that attribution: fried chicken and waffles is apparently a stand-by in Baltimore, there is a temple of the dish in South Los Angeles, and at least two places in Harlem have built their reputation on fried chicken and waffles. Honestly, I have never understood the enthusiasm. I love fried chicken as much as the next person, and waffles can be a terrific breakfast or dinner. But crisp fried chicken and sweet-sticky maple syrup together just doesn’t sound like a combination I want to give a try.

Turns out there is another version of chicken and waffles. It traces its origins to the Pennsylvania Dutch area around Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The dish is essentially the filling for chicken pot pie served on top of a waffle. To me, that is an interesting concept, and one that sounds like it might be delicious. My mother’s family traces its origins from Pennsylvania Dutch country through Wisconsin, Iowa, and eventually South Dakota. My wife’s family hails from Wilmington, Delaware, just a short drive to Lancaster. I don’t remember chicken and waffles ever showing up on either family table.

That made me think that maybe a Southwestern version of chicken and waffles incorporating some regional ingredients would make a good alternative to either of the better known traditions. Blue cornmeal waffles seemed like a good starting place. Green chiles and piñon nuts would serve as tasty additions. To brighten up an otherwise monochromatic dish, I topped it all with pico de gallo. For that, you probably have your own recipe. If you don’t, I’ve added one without the kick (There is a serious medical reaction to capsaicin in our household) but you are encouraged to zip it up to your own tastes.  So here it is: Santa Fe Style Chicken and Waffles with blue cornmeal waffles and green chile chicken sauce. If you can’t find blue cornmeal at your local store, you can order some from Talon de Gato farms. Otherwise, substituting yellow or white cornmeal is perfectly acceptable.

RECIPES

Blue Cornmeal Waffles with Pine Nuts

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup blue cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • ½ cup pine nuts

Method

  1. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. In a separate medium bowl, combine the buttermilk, maple syrup, and melted butter. Whisk in the separated egg yolks until completely incorporated
  3. In a small bowl, beat the separated egg whites to stiff peaks. Fold into the batter in thirds.
  4. Stir in the pine nuts.
  5. Spoon into a heated waffle iron using slightly more than the amount recommended by the manufacturer. Bake until golden brown. Bake the remaining batter.

Green Chile Chicken Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (chicken fat if you have it)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 ounces canned chopped green chiles (choose your heat)
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock + more as needed
  • 1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 whole chicken breast, cooked and shredded

Method

  1. In medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions, cover and sweat the onions for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally so as not to brown.
  2. When the onions are translucent, stir in the green chiles and cook, uncovered for an additional 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the flour and cook for 5 additional minutes to remove the raw flavor of the flour. Add the chicken stock, stirring to remove any lumps. The sauce should be about as thick as a medium white sauce.
  4. Add the oregano by crumbling it between your hands over the pan. Add cumin and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  5. Stir in the shredded chicken and simmer for 15 minutes more, or until the mixture is heated through.

Pico de Gallo

Ingredients

  • 1 large ripe tomato, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 3 scallions including green tops, chopped
  • ½ onion, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped green bell pepper (substitute jalapeño for more heat)
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
  • juice of 1 large lime
  • salt and pepper

Method

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper
  2. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Serve.

Assembly

Place two waffles on each plate. Top with about 1½ cups of the green chile chicken sauce. Garnish with pico de gallo. Serve immediately with more optional Cholula sauce, if desired.

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BOSQUE DEL APACHE AND GREEN (RED) CHILE CHEESEBURGERS

Last week we drove south to the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in central New Mexico. The refuge sits on the bank of the Rio Grande and is one of the largest winter stopovers on the Central Flyway. There are thousands of water birds during the months of November through March. The largest colonies include snow geese, Canada geese, and Sandhill cranes; there are ducks of all sorts as well.

The main shows are always the flight at sunset when the geese and cranes settle in to ponds for safety during the night and then again at sunrise when the birds fly off in clouds to head to feeding grounds throughout the region. We were a little disappointed this year, because the evening spectacle was not as impressive as in the past. In part that is because some of the birds have already begun to head north in the spring migration.

Still, we enjoyed the birds of winter. We saw pintails, shovelers, mallards, many other ducks, and grebes. There were Gamble quails, red-winged blackbirds, herons, roadrunners, dozens of red-tailed hawks, and a merlin. Reportedly there was a trumpeter swan and a bald eagle around, though we didn’t see either one – we have seen them in the past.  We also saw a peccary and a skunk. It was a treat for anyone who enjoys wildlife.

After the evening flight, we stopped for a relaxed meal at the Buckhorn Bar in the nearby hamlet of San Antonio. This one-street town is probably the epicenter for the New Mexico green chile cheeseburger passion. Cafés and greasy spoons all across the state offer their version of this delicacy, but the Buckhorn and its big competitor, the Owl Bar and Café, sit just across the highway from one another, and both have at one time or another vied for the title of best green chile cheeseburger in the world if not the universe. Just down the interstate the McDonald’s and Burger King in Socorro, the largest nearby town, offer their versions of the sandwich, and a local gasoline station also serves a very tasty rendition, so there is no lack of opportunities to enjoy a GCCB, as the locals call it.

The standard question that is asked by the server in any New Mexico roadhouse is, “Red or green?” That means you are supposed to tell him or her whether you want red or green chile on top of whatever you order. If you can’t make up your mind, the standard reply is, “Christmas!” so that you get both red and green chile.

It has always been a puzzle to me as to why there is never a red chile cheeseburger choice, or maybe even better, a Christmas option. This is my effort to correct that culinary deficiency. For the green chile part, I roasted some Anaheim chiles – pretty conventional for a GCCB. For the red chile part, I decided to use chile colorado in two forms: the straight stuff and in mayonnaise. Forty years ago I learned to make chile colorado from our laboratory dishwasher who was from Mexico. This version is a little embellished from that recipe, but it is not very different from practically every recipe out there. The most important thing is to use ground chiles rather than commercial chili powder, which contains a mix of chiles along with garlic and onion powders, cumin and oregano, and probably a bit of MSG. The following recipe makes a lot more sauce than you will need for the cheeseburgers, so think about using the leftovers with fresh corn tortillas for enchiladas or chilaquiles.

RECIPES

Chile Colorado

Ingredients

  • ½ cup ground red chiles (your choice on the heat level)
  • 2½ cups water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 tablespoons AP flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin, toasted in a small  dry skillet
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano, crumbled between your hands
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)

Method

  1. In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the chile powder until it darkens lightly and becomes fragrant. Stir frequently and do not allow to scorch. Stir the toasted chile into the water and set aside.
  2. Wipe out the skillet, and return it to medium heat. Heat the oil and add the onions and garlic, stirring until the onion is translucent. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Stir in the chile and water, cumin, and oregano, and bring to the boil. Then reduce to the simmer for 40 minutes until the raw taste of the flour has cooked out and the chiles have mellowed. Adjust the seasoning with salt.
  4. Cool and store in a non-reactive container. (Red chiles can present a challenge for stains)
  5. Makes about 1 pint

Red Chile Mayonnaise

Ingredients

  • ½ cup mayonnaise (homemade or commercial)
  • ¼ cup chile colorado

Method

  1. Combine the mayonnaise and chile colorado
  2. Set aside until ready to use.

Green/Red Chile (Christmas) Cheeseburger

Ingredients

  • 4 good-quality hamburger buns
  • 8 tablespoons red chile mayonnaise
  • 4 Anaheim chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, and opened
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons chile colorado
  • 4 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 8 deli slices, cheddar cheese
  • condiments (lettuce, sliced tomatoes, dill pickle chips, ketchup, mustard as desired)

Method

  1. Slice the hamburger buns in half, and spread the cut-side of each half with red chile mayonnaise. Toast on a hot griddle until lightly browned. Set aside.
  2. Make 4 hamburger patties from the ground beef. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Sauté  one side of the 4 hamburger patties on the griddle over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. Turn the hamburgers only once. When you turn the hamburgers, coat them with the chile colorado using a pastry brush. Then top, in order, with chopped onion, cheddar cheese, and roasted green chiles. Saute for another 5 minutes or until the hamburgers are done to your liking.
  4. Place the cooked hamburger patties in the prepared buns and serve immediately with condiments as desired.

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BREAKFAST BURRITOS

When I was considering this post, I thought, “Who doesn’t know how to make a breakfast burrito? More than that, who doesn’t have his or her own favorite?”  While all of that is probably true, I decided to write this post anyway.

Part of the reason is that I just made some breakfast burritos for my wife, who started out before dawn to drive more than 14 hours and more than half way through Texas to visit her sister in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and then to pick up our grandson from the airport to take him to Shreveport, Louisiana, where his parents will be involved in a two-week-long food and cooking demonstration. I will join them and plan to send posts about the events, including my daughter’s demonstration on how to butcher a whole hog! You read that right, and I plan to document the event for posterity.

The second reason for the post is that whenever I visit San Francisco, I always make breakfast burritos for Evan and Sarah as they rush out the door to the restaurant. After the birth of their new son, they have both gone on diets, so I have been told that there will be no more breakfast burritos. So I thought I needed to share with somebody.

RECIPE

Breakfast Burrito

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil + more as needed
  • ¼ pound breakfast sausage
  • 2 cups frozen hash brown potatoes
  • 3 crimini mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup diced red onion
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
  • ¼ cup diced green chiles
  • ¼ cup salsa
  • Cholula hot sauce, to taste (optional)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 extra-large flour tortillas (10½ inch wrap size) I used garden spinach herb flavor, but you can choose any flavor)

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add the sausage and sauté until the pink color is lost, breaking it up as it cooks.
  2. Stir in the frozen hash browns, adding more oil if needed. Stir frequently until the potatoes begin to crisp.
  3. Stir in the mushrooms and sauté until they give up their liquid and the mixture is nearly dry. Then add the red onion and tomatoes. Sauté until the onions and tomatoes are softened.
  4. Lower the heat to medium-low and stir in the eggs, mixing them in thoroughly. When the eggs have nearly set up, stir in the green chiles and salsa. If you want more spiciness, adjust the seasoning with hot sauce, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low as you prepare the tortillas.
  5. Heat a large cast iron skillet or comal over a high flame. When the surface is hot, place one of the tortillas on the skillet and bake for 15 seconds or until it is lightly browned. Turn and bake the other side until lightly browned and the tortilla is softened. Do not cook too long, or the tortilla will become stiff. Set the first tortilla aside and then bake the second.
  6. Place half of  the sausage and egg mixture  in the middle of each tortilla. Fold over opposing edges, and then roll up from one end. Serve immediately or wrap in foil so it can be taken on the road. If you are going to eat them at home, you can cover them with red or green chile sauce.

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POSOLE

Posole (po-so-lay) is decidedly Southwestern and maybe even uniquely Northern New Mexican, although it undoubtedly has some kinship to hominy from the American South. The word refers to at least wo different things.

First, it is one of the names used for nixtamalized corn. That’s dry corn treated with lye or an alkaline solution to remove the hard outer husk. It is a process that was developed by the peoples of the New World. You can read more about the process in one of my earlier posts about the history of corn. In other places, posole is called hominy.

Second, the word refers to a soup made with posole. In New Mexico the soup is popular during the Christmas-New Year holidays, but it is really a favorite during all the colder months of winter. For that matter, lots of people eat it all year long, sometimes instead of beans and rice. The soup has as many versions as there are cooks, but some things are constant: (1) posole, (2) chile (either red or green – you could probably even use both, (3) onions, (4) protein (chicken, pork, turkey – maybe even tofu and vegetarian), and (5) herbs and spices (cumin, cilantro, and Mexican oregano). Optional items include grated asadero or Monterrey jack cheese, sliced radishes, and diced avocado.

You can buy posole canned, frozen, partly cooked, and dry. For me the best version of the soup uses dry posole, but if you choose to use it you should be prepared for a long cooking time, much longer than described in most recipes.

Whatever version you choose, it is well worth the effort. For our family, it is a universal favorite that is required some time during a visit to Santa Fe.  So here’s the recipe for pork green-chile posole.

RECIPE

Pork Green-Chile Posole

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces dry posole
  • water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1½ pounds boneless pork shoulder, cubed (If you’re feeling festive, you can substitute chops)
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 7 ounces fresh-roasted, frozen, or canned New Mexico green chiles
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 pints chicken stock
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or chopped finely
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano, crumbled in your hand
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups grated asadero or Monterrey jack cheese (optional but highly recommended garnish)
  • 2 cups chopped fresh cilantro leaves (optional but highly recommended garnish)
  • 2 ripe avocados, peeled and diced (optional garnish)
  • ½ cup thinly sliced radishes (optional)
  • sour cream (optional)

Method

  1. Soak the dry posole over night in a large pot of water. Add more water if the posole absorbs it all.
  2. At least 6 hours before you plan to serve the soup, heat the oil over a medium-high flame in a large frying pan. Cast iron works well. Add the pork to the hot oil, being careful not to crowd it so you can get a good brown crust on the meat. Remove the browned meat to a plate with a slotted spoon.  Lower the flame to medium-low. Then add the chopped onion. Add more oil if needed. Cover and let the onions sweat for about 5 minutes, stirring them occasionally. Do not let them brown. Add the green chiles and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Stir in the browned meat and pressed garlic. Add the flour and stir to completely coat the meat and vegetables. Cook for an additional 5 minutes to lose the flavor of uncooked flour.
  3. Drain the soaked posole into a large bowl, reserving some of the soaking liquid. Transfer the meat and vegetable mixture to the soaking pot, add the chicken stock and enough of the soaking water to cover.  Bring the mixture to a boil, add the soaked posole, and adjust the liquid so that everything is completely covered.
  4. Add the cumin and crumbled Mexican oregano and reduce to the simmer. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Add water if necessary.
  5. Cook until the individual posole kernels are soft and “exploded” to resemble (a little bit) popcorn. They should have the consistency of al dente pasta.
  6. When the posole is done, serve it in large bowls. Pass bowls of cheese, cilantro, avocado, radishes, and sour cream for each guest to add to taste.

Notes:

  • This recipe should serve 6 to 8 people
  • If you think the soup is finished before you are ready to serve it, just turn down the heat or even re-heat it. Posole is one of those things that gets better with time.
  • Some people prefer chicken. Use that instead if you wish. It is every bit as tasty.
  • Piquancy is controlled by the heat of the chile. Food sensitivities in our family dictate mild, but you can always add your own hot sauce if you want your bowl to be spicier.
  • Asadero is a Mexican cheese made with a process similar to that of mozzarella. If you can’t find it, mozzarella or Monterey jack will substitute perfectly.
  • Mexican oregano often comes in a package of leaves, twigs, and flowers. That’s the kind you want. You should crumble the dried pieces between your hands to get the full flavor.

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SOUTHWESTERN STYLE SHEPHERD’S PIE WITH PICO DE GALLO

I am sure that my UK blogger friends are looking at this thinking, “What in the hell does he know about shepherd’s pie?” They are probably right even though this is one of my all-time favorite comfort foods. Detractors should be aware that the US Southwest is sheep country, and we eat a lot of lamb. It is also true that we have a hard time resisting putting green chile in just about everything. I suspect that someone has even made green chile ice cream.

Cooked lamb ready for the pie

Canned chopped green chiles

Chopped potatoes

I have tried to be true to the basic recipe while making it a uniquely Southwestern (USA, that is) by using local ingredients. That means roasted Hatch green chiles, asadero cheese ( a cheese that is made with a method similar to that used for mozzarella. Curds are cooked gently in hot water and then stretched. It is popular in Mexico and the southwestern United States, but if you can’t find it you can use mozzarella or even Monterrey jack.)  You could also use the Mexican cheese, queso fresco, and if you can’t find that, fresh farmer’s cheese will do.  As with real shepherd’s pie, the main ingredient is lamb.

Ready for the oven

Americans often like to douse their shepherd’s pie with ketchup (I hear another UK shudder), but this version seems to cry out for pico de gallo. This is a salsa made with fresh ingredients. The name means “rooster’s beak” in Spanish. There are several explanations for how the name came to be, but none sound very likely.

Baked and ready to eat

RECIPES

Southwestern Style Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 8 ounces, green chiles, chopped (fresh, frozen, or canned) Heat according to your preference
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons dried Mexican oregano, shredded between your palms
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup water or vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup asadero cheese, chopped or grated
  • ¼ teaspoon Cholula hot sauce (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted, for top

Method

  • Heat the oil in a medium frying pan until it shimmers. Add the chopped onions and cook until translucent, stirring frequently to prevent browning.
  • Add the ground lamb and continue to stir until the lamb is lightly browned
  • Stir in the  green chiles, cumin, oregano, and garlic. Continue to cook for a few minutes until the ingredients are well combined. Simmer for another 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the flour and stir until everything is well coated. Cook long enough (5 minutes or so) so that the flour loses its raw taste.
  • Add the water or stock and stir until the gravy thickens. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Add more water if you want a thinner gravy. Set aside for final assembly
  • In the meantime, peel and cube the potatoes. Put them in a medium pot with salted water. Bring to the boil and boil for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.
  • Drain the potatoes and pass them through a potato ricer. Stir in the butter, cream, and grated cheese. Add a dash of hot sauce if you wish and correct the seasoning with salt and pepper
  • Butter the insides of an oven-proof casserole. Pour the meat mixture into the prepared dish, top with the mashed potatoes, and paint with melted butter
  • Bake in the middle of a pre-heated oven at 325° for about 60 minutes or until the top is lightly browned.

Pico de Gallo

Pico de Gallo

Ingredients

  • 1 large, ripe tomato
  • ½ yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 green onions, cleaned and coarsely chopped, including the green tops
  • 2 fresh Anaheim chiles, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño chile, seeded and chopped (optional)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • A generous handful of cilantro leaves, chopped coarsely
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

  • Blanch the tomato for 10 seconds in boiling water. Then peel, seed, and chop coarsely
  • Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl. Adjust the seasoning, and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • Serve like any other salsa. Use generously on the Southwestern Style Shepherd’s Pie.

Southwestern style shepherd’s pie with pico de gallo on the side

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GREEN CHILE CHICKEN STEW

Our family has lived in the Southwest for so long that we have adopted many of its traditions. For years we have made tamales on Christmas Eve, and now that is also a tradition for our children and their families, regardless of where they live. Making tamales from scratch is fun, and the fresh, finished product always tastes better than even the best store-bought versions. Posole warms the body and the soul on a cold winter evening, and it is perfect for a family gathering on New Year’s Eve. Biscochos (in El Paso) or biscochitos (in Santa Fe) have to be homemade and – like the tamales – have to be made with lard to taste like the real thing. The crisp anise-flavored cookies compete with my grandmother’s anise-flavored German springerle when it comes to dipping into a cup of hot chocolate or a glass of milk.

Chicken thighs cooking in stock with vegetables

Green chile chicken stew is in a class by itself. A hot bowl always reminds me of long-ago lunches in the lodges at the top of the runs at Taos Ski Valley or Ski Apache in Ruidoso. Our kids always ask for it when they visit us in Santa Fe, and so we try to have a pot on the stove for them when they arrive from a long cross-country drive. Our usual recipe calls for a whole chicken and makes enough for a large group. This version is quick, but by cooking the chicken in stock along with vegetables the broth becomes especially rich. If you are in a hurry, just skip adding the vegetables. The recipe makes enough for four adults. It is ideal for the late evening arrival of tired travelers.

Ready for your choice of garnishes

RECIPE

 Ingredients

4 Cups chicken stock

4 chicken thighs

1 medium onion, cut in quarters

1 medium carrot, cut in thirds

1 stalk celery cut in thirds

1 handful fresh celery leaves

3 stems fresh parsley

12 whole peppercorns

1 Roma tomato

2 Tablespoons cooking oil

1 medium yellow onion, diced

4 ounces chopped green chiles

2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾ inch cubes

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

2 Tablespoons dried Mexican oregano, crushed

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

  1. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, bring the chicken stock to the boil. Add the chicken thighs, onion, carrot, celery, celery leaves, parsley, and peppercorns. Continue to cook at a very low boil for about 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
  2.  About 10 minutes before the chicken is cooked, squeeze the Roma tomato into the stock and add the pulp.
  3.  Remove from the heat. Strain the stock into a container and allow to cool so that you can remove the fat that gathers on the top. Set aside.
  4.  Remove the skin and bones from the thigh meat, chop the meat into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
  5. Clean the pot and return it to the stove over a medium flame. Heat the oil, and then add the diced onions. Cover and sweat the onions for 5 minutes or until they are soft and translucent. Do not allow them to brown.
  6. Add the green chiles and minced garlic and continue to cook, uncovered. Stir frequently until the moisture has evaporated from the mixture. Add the flour and stir continuously for about 3 minutes so that the onions and chiles are completely coated and the flour has lost its raw taste.
  7. Add the strained, cooled chicken stock and cubed potatoes. Return to the boil, stirring frequently. Continue to cook at a low boil until the potatoes are soft and cooked through – about 20 to 30 minutes.
  8. Stir in the cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Adjust the seasoning with more salt and pepper if needed and continue to simmer for 10 minutes.
  9. Add the chicken pieces, simmer for another 10 minutes, and then serve in large soup bowls along with your choice of garnishes.

Green chle stew with the garnishes our family likes

Garnishes

There are lots of traditional choices for garnish. We always like to pass bowls of chopped fresh cilantro leaves, thin-sliced, baked corn tortilla strips, grated Monterrey jack cheese, and diced avocados along with hot sauce for those who like their soup spicier. We also like to serve hot tortillas (corn or wheat) or cornbread fresh out of the oven.

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RED OR GREEN? CHRISTMAS IN NEW MEXICO

The standard question in Santa Fe when you order chile is “Red or green?” If you have a hard time deciding, you can just say, “Christmas”, and they will bring out a dish slathered in both colors of chiles. This week’s  cookie recipe picks up on that theme. Linzer cookies are traditional for Christmas – a tender sandwich of almond or hazelnut cookie filled with raspberry jam pushing through a hole in the top. They remind some people of eyes, and  so the cookies are also called Linzer Augen (eyes). Authentic Linzer cookies are delicious, but for a Santa Fe Christmas, they almost beg for a little chile kick.

Rolling and cutting the cookies

As the name of the cookie suggests, it had its origins in Linz, Austria. Lenz is an ancient city founded by the Romans and home to luminaries like the mathematician Johannes Kepler, the composer Anton Bruckner, and unfortunately Adolf Hitler. But it may be more famous as the home of the Linzer Torte, a delicious pastry that can be traced back to the 1600’s and is now a feature of many of the great pastry shops of Vienna. It has become popular throughout Austria as well as the world, and especially at Christmas. The Linzer cookie uses all of the same ingredients.

Jars of chile-flavored jam

For the Santa Fe version, there are local products that let the baker add that chile kick without changing the basic recipe too much. Heidi’s Raspberry Farm makes a raspberry-red chile jam that fits the bill. In New Mexico, you can find it at farmers’ markets or in specialty grocery stores. You can also order it from Heidi’s Raspberry Farm, P.O. Box 1329, Corrales, NM 87048. Green chile jam is harder to find, but you can make your own from roasted sweet green chile sauce made by Desert Gardens, Comfort Foods, Inc., 9900 Montgomery Blvd, NE, Albuquerque, NM 87111, www.comfortfoods.com. I’ll tell you how to transform the sauce into jam as well as giving you the basic recipe for the cookies. You will see that there are a lot of steps in making the cookies, but it can all be done in a morning of busy baking.

RECIPES

Sweet Green Chile Jam

Ingredients

9 ounce jar sweet green chile (see sources)

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon low- or no-sugar pectin

  1. Empty the jar of green chile in a small saucepan. Stir in the sugar, pectin, and water, and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
  2. Boil for two minutes. Then remove from heat and allow to  cool partly
  3. Return the mixture to the jar. Cool completely, and then store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Almond Flour

Ingredients

½ Cup almonds

4 Cups boiling water

  1. Place the raw almonds in a large heat-resistant bowl.
  2. Pour the hot water over the almonds and let steep for 5 minutes.
  3. In batches, remove the almonds from the hot water. Slip the skins off the almonds.
  4. Spread the peeled almonds on clean paper towels and allow to dry completely for about two hours.
  5. Ad the completely dried almonds to a spice grinder or small food processor. Grind the nuts using pulses of the low power. Watch carefully as too vigorous grinding can turn the almonds into almond butter. Remove and set aside when the almonds resemble coarse cornmeal.

Icing

Ingredients

1 Tablespoon unsalted butter,melted

1 Cup confectioners’ sugar

¼ teaspoon almond extract

2 Tablespoons cream

  1. In a small bowl, combine the butter, sugar, almond extract, and cream.
  2. Transfer to a plastic, zipper sealed sandwich bag and cut a 1/16 inch piece from one corner of the bag. When ready to ice the cookies, squeeze the icing through the hole to form patterns of your choice on the cookie top.

Linzer Cookies

Ingredients

½ Cup vegetable shortening

¼ Cup unsalted butter

¼ Cup sour cream

½ Cup sugar

½ Cup brown sugar, packed

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg

2½ Cups all-purpose flour

½ Cup almond flour

½ Cup cornstarch

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the shortening, butter, sour cream, sugar, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, and vanilla extract. Beat at slow to medium speed until the ingredients are well mixed.
  2. Add the egg, and continue to mix at medium speed until the batter is light and fluffy.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, almond flour, and cornstarch.
  4. Add the dry mix to the batter and continue to beat until the ingredients are well combined and you have a smooth dough.
  5. Divide the dough in two equal portions. Form the portions into balls, wrap them in plastic wrap, and chill them for at least one hour in the refrigerator. If the dough is too soft, it will stick to the rolling-pin when you try to roll out the cookies.
  6. Roll the chilled dough, one ball at a time,  on a lightly floured work surface to about 1/8 inch thick. Using a 2¼ inch round cutter, cut rounds in the dough. Then using a 1 inch cutter, cut holes in the center of half of the rounds.
  7. Gather up any scraps of dough and shape them into a ball. Chill, roll, and cut cookies until all of the dough is used.
  8. Bake the cookies  for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges, on parchment-lined baking sheets in an oven preheated to 350º. Cool on a mesh rack.
  9. Ice the tops of the cookies with the hole in the center. Alternatively, and more classically, sprinkle them with confectioners’ sugar. Turn the solid cookies over and place about ½ teaspoon of jam in the middle. Then top with the frosted cookies.

Baked, decorated cookies

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

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