Growing up in New Mexico, I learned early to eat chile. I know I may be biased, but nothing compares to New Mexico chile, be it red or green. Ask anybody who moves away from New Mexico what they miss most and the answer will usually be “the chile”.
That’s chile with an “e”. That’s the way we roll here.
Travel from town to town, city to city, restaurant to restaurant, and home to home within the state and you will find differences in the way chile is made.
It’s all good. It’s also very addicting. We eat chile on just about anything and we eat it often. It’s a staple as common as salt.
I had the good luck of growing up in a house where my parents could cook a pot of chile that would rival any other.
This recipe makes a large pot of Red Chile.
16-18 Dried NM Red Chile Pods
1/4 cup flour
2 tsp salt
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
Pork loin roast, boneless pork chops or pork steaks, 1-2 cups cut into cubes
Remove chile pods from ristra and place in a large bowl. Break stem ends from the pods and shake to remove the seeds. Wash well and set aside. Add water to a large stockpot and bring to a boil. Add the washed and seeded chile pods to the boiling water. Boil for a few minutes, then lower heat to a simmer and allow the chile pods to cook until softened, stirring occasionally.
While chile is softening, cube the pork and mince the garlic.
In another large pot, heat 2 tablespoons canola oil and then add the cubed pork. Brown the pork over med-high heat, stirring often and then add the minced garlic. Cook and stir for 30 seconds. Reduce heat to med-low and add flour to pot and stir. If there isn’t enough oil to moisten the flour, drizzle in a little more. Cook and stir the roux for a minute or two. Be careful not to burn the flour. Add 6 cups of water while stirring. Continue to stir until the flour has been absorbed by the water and there are no lumps. Bring to a boil.
When chile has softened, process a few pods at a time in a blender or food processor, adding some of the hot water the pods have softened in. Be careful! The puree and hot water mixture will often explode while you are processing it. I use a couple of layers of wet paper towels over the top of the blender instead of the lid and this eliminates the problem. Puree the chile until completely smooth.
Stir the puree into the pot with the pork and water and continue with the rest of the chile.
If the chile seems too thick add a little more of the hot water that was used to soften the chile. It contains lots of flavor from the chilies. Season with the salt and bring chile to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower heat to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes to an hour. The chile has already cooked somewhat while softening. Chile will thicken as it cooks and it is important to stir often and keep the heat to a simmer to prevent burning.
Use for enchiladas, burritos, tacos, huevos rancheros, breakfast burritos, Navajo Tacos, chile beans, etc., or serve over a mound of buttery mashed potatoes with a fried egg over the top. Heavenly!
Note: For authentic New Mexico taste, use NM chilies. Visit NM in the fall and you will find red chile ristras hanging and ready for your enjoyment.