The official state question of New Mexico is “Red or green?” This refers to the chile sauces that are ubiquitous in the cuisine of the state, similar to Mexican but very much its own thing. It is possible (and indeed quite common) to have red and/or green chile with every single meal. Think breakfast burrito with green chile, a burger for lunch topped with green chile, and maybe a nice bowl of red chile stew or posole for dinner. Even in my short time here, I’ve managed to do something similar on a few days!
Note also that here, chile is spelled with an ‘e.’ “Chili” is some shit from Texas that has beans and tomatoes and who knows what else. The chile sauces here consist of the peppers (green or its more mature iteration, red), chopped or pureed, and cooked with oil, garlic, salt, sometimes onion, usually oregano, and NEVER cumin. Heaven help you if you put cumin in a New Mexican’s red chile. Blasphemy!
I make chile (mostly green) almost every week. For those of you who might be able to get your hands on some nice roasted New Mexico green chiles, here is my recipe:
~3 cups of roasted green chiles (thaw if frozen), stemmed, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 tbsp of oil (canola is my preference)
1 tbsp of flour (if GF, I have found rice flour does perfectly well)
1 clove of garlic, minced
About 1 cup of water or broth
1/2 tsp of oregano or to taste
1 tsp of salt
Begin by briefly sautéing the minced garlic in oil, 15 seconds on medium heat. Then quickly whisk in the flour and cook until the mixture is a caramel colour and the garlic no longer smells raw. Then add in the chopped chiles, water/broth, salt, and oregano. Bring to a boil, turn to low, and cover. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
This sauce works great on enchiladas, burritos, huevos rancheros, burgers, pasta, sandwiches, etc. You can keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
I made red and green today, and whipped up a feast to incorporate some leftovers: Mashed potato and kale burritos, topped with cheese and both sauces (known as “Christmas-style” in these parts). Crazy delicious, inexpensive, and resourceful. Your Burqueña does not waste food!