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Go Red With the Green on St. Patrick's Day

By Jane Butel  March 13, 2018

For St. Patrick's Day,  green is always the food focus.  For a brightener, think red!  Here in New Mexico, we even have a state question "do you want red or green?'  meaning the chile sauce that is napped or blanketed on many of the traditional dishes here.   We have a Green Chile Stew that is totally delicious, featuring green chiles and tomatoes with chunks of tender pork simmered into a type of chili.  Or, you could make green and/or red enchiladas,  Green Chile Chicken and Red Chile Beef to combine the red and green.

Chiles are so flavorful and healthful at the same time--why not shake things up a bit and serve a chile laden dish?  Just to make it easy to do I am attaching the Green Chile Stew recipe and the two enchilada sauce recipes.  And.......we are taking 25% off our chiles to boot!

Navajo Green Chile Stew

Green Chile StewBeware, chile novices—you may be too green for this green chili. It is a favorite of the Navajos and they like it hot. Go light on the chiles when starting out—you can always add more. Serve this with Bear Paw Bread (Pueblo Indian French style bread) or generously buttered hot flour tortillas.

Yield: 8 to 12 servings

3 pounds pork shoulder, fat and bone removed (reserve the fat), cut into ½ inch cubes

1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

2 ½ teaspoons salt

3 medium-size onions, coarsely chopped

4 medium-size cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 cans (14 ½ ounces each) whole tomatoes, chopped, liquid reserved

20 fresh green chiles, parched, peeled, and cut crosswise into 1 inch wide strips

(to equal about 4 cups; see Note)

½ teaspoon dried Mexican oregano

  1. Melt the pork fat in a heavy straight-sided 5-quart pot over medium high heat.
  1. Combine the flour and salt in a paper bag. Add the pork cubes and shake bag to coat them with flour. Shake the excess flour off the pork cubes. Add the pork to the pot, a third at a time, and cook, stirring, until the cubes are evenly browned on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. As they are browned, transfer the pork cubes to a bowl and set aside.
  1. Add the onions and garlic to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
  1. Return the pork to the pot, stir in the tomatoes, their liquid, and 3 cups water, and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 30 minutes.
  1. Uncover the pot, add the chiles and oregano, and cook for another 30 minutes. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Notes: If you can’t find fresh chiles, use 2 cans (16 ounces each) whole green chiles. Drain them seed them, and cut them crosswise into 1-inch slices.

Reprinted with permission from Chili Madness by Jane Butel

Red Chile Beef Enchiladas
(Rolled & New Mexico  Style)

This is one of my very favorite dishes, especially when made with blue corn tortillas.  It is a popular custom in New Mexico to place a soft-fried egg on top of each enchilada as soon as they come out of the oven.

Yield:  4-6 servings

12 white, yellow or blue corn tortillas
2 cups Red Chile Sauce (recipe attached), made with beef
About 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese
1 onion, chopped (may be cooked into the sauce)
4 to 6 eggs (optional), soft fried
6 to 8 lettuce leaves (optional), coarsely chopped
2 ripe tomatoes (optional), cut in wedges

1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Heat ½ inch of oil in a heavy skillet.  Add tortillas and fry lightly in batches, being careful not to make them too crisp to roll.  Or dip in chile water if you prefer.  Warm 4 plates in the preheated oven.

2. For Flat Enchiladas:  Place a little chile sauce on a warmed plate, then top with a tortilla followed by cheese, onion, and more sauce.  Repeat once or twice more, making a stack of 2 or 3 tortillas layered with cheese, onion, and sauce (see Note).  Top each enchilada with more sauce and cheese.  Place in the preheated oven until the cheese melts.  Top with an egg, if desired, and garnish with the chopped lettuce and tomato wedges.  These are traditional Santa Fe style.

3. For Rolled Enchiladas:  Dip a lightly fried tortilla into the sauce and place a strip each of shredded cheese and chopped onion down the center.  Roll up, place 2 rolled enchiladas on each warmed plate, and top with more sauce and cheese.  Place in oven until cheese melts.  Arrange lettuce around the edges before serving.

Note:  Three tortillas make a very hearty serving.  Most people prefer two. 

Red Chile Sauce 

This is the basic red chile sauce used to create enchiladas and to serve over burritos, chile rellenos, tamales, and chimichangas.

Yield:  2-1/2 cups

2 Tablespoons butter, lard or bacon drippings
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup ground mild red chile
1/4 cup ground hot red chile
2 cups beef stock or water
1 garlic clove, crushed
Pinch of ground Mexican oregano
Pinch of ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon salt (if not using stock)

1. Melt butter in a medium-size saucepan over low heat.  Add flour and stir until smooth and slightly golden.

Remove pan from heat and add ground chiles.  Return to heat and gradually stir in stock.  Add garlic, oregano, cumin, and salt, if using, and cook, stirring, about 10 minutes.  Simmer at least 5 more minutes for flavors to blend.

Sauté 1 pound ground beef, or beef cut in very small cubes.  Omit the shortening, and continue as directed above.  Use for enchiladas.

Green Chile Chicken Open Faced Or Rolled Enchiladas

This recipe is a favorite of visitors to New Mexico—in fact it is often voted the number 1 choice by tourists of our traditional dishes. This is the best sauce recipe—many are not very flavorful as they do not use a roux to develop the flavor.

 Yield: 4 servings

8 white, yellow or blue corn tortillas

Oil for frying or chile water, optional

1 recipe Green Chile Sauce (follows)

3/4 cup 50/50 mixture of grated Cheddar & Monterey Jack cheese, or to taste

1 medium-size onion, chopped

1/4 cup sour cream

Garni: Caribe chile, coarsely chopped Romaine and red leaf lettuces, 4 tomato wedges for each enchilada

  1. For rolled enchiladas, lightly fry the tortillas in ½ inch of hot oil in a skillet (or dip in chile water or just warm the tortillas). (see instructions below.)
  1. For Flat Enchiladas: Place a spoonful of green chile sauce on the plate, then top with a tortilla followed by sauce, cheese and onion. Repeat once more. Top each enchilada with more sauce, cheese and onion. Heat in a moderate 350 F oven until the cheese melts. Top each with a dollop of sour cream and a few grains of caribe. Encircle each enchilada with lettuce and tomato wedges.


For Rolled Enchiladas: Dip the softened tortilla into the sauce and place a strip of each grated cheese and chopped onion down the center. Roll and top with more sauce and cheese. To serve a crowd, place the rolled enchiladas in a large, shallow baking dish, but do not cover with sauce. Just before serving, heat in a moderate 350 F oven. Warm the sauce separately and add just as you are ready to serve. Do not overcook or the enchiladas will be very mushy. Top with additional cheese and reheat until it melts. Add lettuce around edges before serving.

New Mexico Green Chile Sauce

This basic, yet versatile sauce without the chicken can be used to create enchiladas, or pour over chimichangas or burritos. Seafood, beef or beans can be substituted for the chicken.

Yield: 2 cups

1 Tablespoon butter or lard

2/3 cup chopped onion

2 Tablespoons flour

1-1/2 cups chicken broth

1 cup (or more) chopped green chiles

1 cup cooked chopped chicken

1 large clove garlic, finely minced

3/4 teaspoon salt

Dash of ground comino (cumin)

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the onion until soft. Stir in the flour.
  1. Add the broth. Then add chiles, garlic, salt and cumin. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Just before plating the enchiladas, add the chicken and simmer for another 2 minutes, leaving the broth rather thin.

Reprinted with permission from Jane Butel’s Southwestern Kitchen



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