Rooted in Native American and old-world flavors, New Mexico’s culinary treasures are the result of centuries of cultural tradition enlivened with the occasional modern twist. Pack an appetite – the most distinctive cuisine in the Southwest awaits.
Need your New Mexico cuisine fix NOW? Check out these delicious recipes and Feed Your Soul.
1. Chile Relleno
2. 505 Southwestern Green Chile Stew
“…A bowl of comfort, green chile stew always strikes us as much greater than the sum of its humble parts.”
- 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds beef chuck or pork butt (shoulder), cut in 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 to 1 1/4 pounds red waxy potatoes, peeled or unpeeled, and diced
- 5 cups beef or chicken stock
- 1 1/2 tablespoons salt or more to taste
- 3 cups 505 Southwestern brand Hatch Valley Roasted Green Chile sauce
- 1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen, 1 cup carrot chunks, or 1 diced red bell pepper, optional
- Sear the meat in a Dutch oven or large heavy saucepan over medium-high
heat until it browns and liquid accumulated from the meat mostly evaporates.
- Stir in the onions and garlic and cook for several minutes, until the onions become translucent. Pour in stock and scrape the mixture up from the bottom to loosen browned bits.
- Sprinkle in the salt, reduce the heat to a low simmer, and cook uncovered
for 1 1/2 hours.
- Stir in the chile sauce and any of the optional ingredients and continue
cooking for another 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the meat is quite tender,
the vegetables are soft, and the flavors have blended together.
- Ladle into bowls and serve hot.
“…Known affectionately sometimes as sofa pillows, these rectangular – or wedge-shaped deep-fried poofs of hot dough have a place at every tradition table.”
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon sugar, optional
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, vegetable shortening, or lard
- ¼ cup milk or evaporated milk, at room temperature
- ½ cup lukewarm water or more as needed
- Vegetable oil for deep frying
- Stir together the flour, salt, baking powder, and the optional sugar in a large bowl.
- Work in the oil, using clean fingers to combine. Add the milk and water, working the liquids into the flour until a sticky dough forms. Pour in a bit more water if the dough isn’t sticking together as a rough shaggy mess.
- Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface vigorously for 1 minute. The dough should be soft but feeling a bit sturdy and no longer sticky.
- Let the dough rest, covered with a damp cloth, for 15 minutes. Divide the dough into 3 balls, cover the balls with the damp cloth, and let them rest for another 15 to 30 minutes.
- Roll out each ball of dough on a lightly floured surface into a circle or rectangle approximately 1/4-inch thick. If you have a tortilla roller, use it rather than a heavier rolling pin, which compacts the dough more.
- Trim off any ragged edges and discard them. To avoid toughening the dough, try to avoid rerolling it. Cut each portion of dough into 4 wedges or smaller rectangles.
- Heat at least 3 inches of oil in a heavy, high-sided saucepan or skillet to 400 degrees F.
- Slip 1 or 2 dough pieces into the oil. After sinking briefly, the sopaipillas should begin to balloon and rise back to the surface.
- Once they start bobbing at the top, carefully spoon oil over them for the few seconds it will take until they have fully puffed. Turn them over (we like a long-handled slotted spoon for this) and cook just until they are golden. Drain.
- Arrange the sopaipillas in a napkin-lined basket and serve immediately with honey. Tear a corner off your sopaipilla to let steam escape, drizzle honey through the hole into the hollow center, and enjoy.
“…The anise-scented, lard-enriched shortbreads are essential to weddings, graduations, and anniversaries, and are so popular at Christmas that in December, biscochitos comprise maybe thirty percent of the diet of the average New Mexican!”
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 to 1½ teaspoons ground anise
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ pound lard, softened
- ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons sweet white wine, brandy, or rum, or apple or pineapple juice
- ¼ cup sugar and ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon for the topping
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, anise, and salt and set aside.
- Beat the lard in an electric mixer, gradually adding the sugar, and beat until extremely fluffy and light, about 8 minutes. Don’t shortcut this step. Stop the mixer every couple of minutes and scrape the sides of the mixing bowl.
- Add the egg, followed by the wine, and continue beating.
- Mix in the dry ingredients, adding about one-third of the mixture at a time. Stop the mixer as you make each addition, and beat no longer than necessary to incorporate the dry ingredients. A stiff pie-crust type of dough is what you’re seeking.
- Chill the dough for about 15 minutes for easy handling.
- Preheat the oven to 350
- Roll out the dough ¼-inch thick on a floured work surface and cut with a paring knife into a fleur de lis, or cut with a small cookie cutter. Avoid handling the dough anymore than necessary, one of the keys to the melt-in-your-mouth texture.
- Transfer the cookies to ungreased cookie sheets.
- Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, until just set and pale golden.
- While the cookies bake stir together the topping.
- When the cookies are done, cool for just a minute or two on the baking sheets, then gently dunk the top of each in the cinnamon-sugar.
- Transfer to absorbent paper to finish cooling.
“…The corn is treated with slaked lime to remove its outer skin, a technique developed by Native Americans centuries ago.”
- 6 dried New Mexican red chile pods, stemmed and seeded
- 1 to 1½ pounds pork shoulder or loin, trimmed of surface fat and cut in bite-sized cubes, or 1 or 2 pigs’ feet
- 2 pounds frozen posole or 1 pound dried posole
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 6 to 10 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
- If you will be using frozen posole, first combine the chile pods with the pork in a Dutch oven or large pot, and simmer together in 4 quarts of water for about 30 minutes. Then add the frozen posole and cook about 30 minutes more.
- If your posole is dried, add it with the chile, pork, and 6 quarts of water and simmer together for about 1 hour.
- Stir in the onions, garlic, and salt and continue to simmer over a low fire until the posole is soft. Expect the remaining cooking to take another 30 minutes for frozen posole and at least 1 more hour if dried. Do not be surprised if it takes a bit longer.
- Serve hot in bowls with some of the liquid, or drain it with a slotted spoon and serve it on the side with other plated foods
6. 5-Ingredient Red Chile
“…The ultimate New Mexico enchilada, this molten melding of chile, cheese, and corn tortillas can never be dismissed as ordinary food!”
- Vegetable oil for pan frying
- 3 blue-corn tortillas
- ¾ cup red chile sauce, warmed
- 2 teaspoons minced onion
- 4 ounces mild Cheddar, Colby, or Monterey Jack cheese, grated
- Heat the broiler. (If the broiler has multiple heat settings, use the lowest.)
- Heat ½ to 1 inch of oil in a small skillet until the oil ripples. With tongs, dunk each tortilla in oil long enough for it to go limp, a matter of seconds. Don’t let the tortilla turn crisp. Drain and repeat with the remaining tortillas.
- On a heatproof plate, layer the first tortilla with half of the onion and one-third of the chile sauce and cheese. Repeat for the second layer. Top with the third tortilla, then add the remaining chile sauce and sprinkle the remaining cheese over all.
- Broil the enchilada until the cheese melts. Serve piping hot
7. Green Chile Sauce
“…New Mexico may be more green than red. ”
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ½ to 1 medium onion, chopped fine
- 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 cups chopped roasted mild to medium-hot New Mexican green chile, fresh or thawed frozen
- 2 cups chicken or beef stock
- ½ teaspoon salt, or more to taste
- Warm the oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the flour and continue cooking for another 1 or 2 minutes.
- Mix in the chile. Immediately begin pouring in the stock, stirring as you go, then add the salt.
- Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, until thickened but still very pourable. Use warm or refrigerate for later use.
8. Chile Roasting 101
“…It’s easy in an oven, on top of a gas stove, or on an outdoor grill.”
- Let’s start with green chiles, the ones most frequently roasted. Plan on twenty minutes for oven roasting, putting the green chiles in a single layer on a baking sheet and blistering them at 450° F until the skins have blackened in many spots. Turn as needed for uniform scorching until the chiles look collapsed.
- If you are only roasting a couple of pods, hold them with tongs over the flame of a gas burner for a few minutes, turning to blacken all over, or use an asador, a wire-mesh griddle.
- On a gas or charcoal grill, place the green chiles on the grate over a hot fire, searing them on all sides for about ten minutes.
- Roast fresh red pods the same ways, but their higher moisture content will keep them from blistering and blackening as fully. To judge readiness, look for loosening skin and a deep brown shade.
9. Smothered Breakfast Burrito
“…The idea of a morning burrito is a no-brainer. Don’t miss our Breakfast Burrito Byway, linked below.”
- 1⁄4 cup vegetable oil
- 3 large russet potatoes, shredded
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- Fresh-ground black pepper to taste
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten, optional
- 4 flour tortillas, warmed
- 8 slices bacon, cooked until crisp
- 3 to 4 cups green chile sauce warmed
- 6 to 8 ounces mild cheddar cheese, grated
- Preheat oven to 400
- Warm the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Stir in the potatoes, salt, and as much pepper as you wish. Pat the mixture down evenly, cook several minutes.
- Scrape it up from the bottom of the skillet, add the onion and garlic, and pat back down again. Repeat the process until the potatoes are cooked through and golden brown, with many crisp edges, about 12 to 15 minutes.
- If you are including eggs, pour them over the potatoes and scrape the mixture up and down another couple of times to distribute and cook the eggs.
- Spoon one-fourth of the potatoes onto a tortilla. Top it with 2 slices of bacon. Roll up into a loose cylinder and place the burrito seam-side down on a heat-proof plate.
- Spoon one-fourth of the chile sauce over the burrito and sprinkle it generously with cheese. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
- Bake the burritos until the cheese is melted and gooey, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.