New Mexican Chiles

New Mexican Chiles

by Dave DeWitt


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As the foods and recipes of Mexico have blended over the years into New Mexico's own distinctive cuisine, the chile pepper has become its defining element and single most important ingredient. Though many types were initially cultivated there, the long green variety that turned red in the fall adapted so well to the local soil and climate that it has now become the official state vegetable.

To help chefs and diners get the most from this unique chile's great taste–without an overpowering pungency–Dave DeWitt, the noted Pope of Peppers, has compiled a complete guide to growing, harvesting, preserving and much more–topped off with dozens of delicious recipes for dishes, courses, and meals of every kind.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781938288289
Publisher: Terra Nova Books
Publication date: 04/01/2018
Series: Pepper Pantry Series
Pages: 92
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.33(d)

About the Author

Dave DeWitt is an associate professor in Consumer and Environmental Sciences on the adjunct faculty of New Mexico State University, and also serves as chair of the Board of Regents of the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum. His interest in chile peppers and spicy foods which has helped make Dave one of the foremost authorities in the world has led to such best-sellers as The Whole Chile Pepper Book, The Pepper Garden, The Hot Sauce Bible, The Chile Pepper Encyclopedia, and The Spicy Food Lover's Bible.

Read an Excerpt

According to many accounts, chile peppers were introduced into what is now the U.S. from Mexico by Capitn General Juan de Oate, the founder of Santa Fe, in 1598. However, they may have been introduced to the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico by the Antonio Espejo expedition of 1582-83. According to one member of the expedition, Baltasar Obregn, They have no chile, but the natives were given some seed to plant. By 1601, chiles were on the list of Indian crops, according to colonist Francisco de Valverde, who also complained that mice were a pest that ate chile pods off the plants in the field.

A la primera cocinera se le va un chile entero, goes one old Spanish dicho, or saying: To the best lady cook goes the whole chile. And so it is that the chile pepper is the single most important food brought from Mexico that defines New Mexican cuisine.

After the Spanish began settlement, the cultivation of chile peppers exploded, and soon, they were grown all over New Mexico. It is likely that many varieties were cultivated, including early forms of jalapeos, serranos, poblanos, and pasillas. But one variety that adapted particularly well to New Mexico was a long green chile that turned red in the fall. Formerly called Anaheim because of its transfer to more-settled California around 1900, the New Mexican chiles were cultivated for hundreds of years in the region with such dedication that several distinct varieties developed. These varieties, or landraces, called Chimay and Espaola, had adapted to particular environments and are still planted in the fields they were grown in centuries ago; they constitute a small but distinct part of the tons of pods produced each year in New Mexico.

In 1846, William Emory, chief engineer of the U.S. Armys Topographic Unit, was surveying the New Mexico landscape and its customs. He described this meal eaten in Bernalillo, just north of Albuquerque: Roast chicken, stuffed with onions; then mutton, boiled with onions; then followed various other dishes, all dressed with the everlasting onion; and the whole terminated by chile, the glory of New Mexico. Emory went on to relate his experience: Chile the Mexicans consider the chef-doeuvre of the cuisine, and seem really to revel in it; but the first mouthful brought the tears trickling down my cheeks, very much to the amusement of the spectators with their leather-lined throats. It was red pepper, stuffed with minced meat.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part 1 "Anaheim" and Ail the Rest of Them 3

Nomenclature 5

Chile History 5

Varieties 7

Heat Scale 8

Part 2 From Seed to Shelf 9

Botanical Description 11

Cultivation and Preservation 11

The Strategy 11

Starting Seeds 12

Pests 13

Transplanting 13

Preparing the Plot 14

The Growing Season 16

Harvest Time 17

Roasting and Peeling the Pods 18

Preserving the Crop 21

Drying Chiles 22

Making Ristras 22

Other Drying Methods 24

Making Powders 25

Chile Pasado 27

Part 3 Red and Green in the Kitchen 29

Culinary Usage 31

Sauces, Salsas, and Dressings 33

Green Chile Sauce 35

Dave's Fresh Red Chile Sauce 36

Classic New Mexican Red Chile Sauce 37

Salsa Fresca with Green Chile 38

Southwest Seasoning Rub 39

Appetizers and Breakfast 41

The Ultimate Chilehead Guacamole 43

Disappearing Chile Strips 45

Sweet Potato Chips Dusted with Chimayó Red Chile 46

Hot Shot Olives 47

Huevos Rancheros de Nuevo Mexico (New Mexican Ranch-Style Eggs) 48

Southwest Breakfast Burritos 49

Soups and Salads 51

Sopa de Lima 53

Green Chile Stew 54

Posole with Chile Caribe 56

Chile con Carne with Frozen Red or Green Chile 58

Jicamella and Orange Salad 59

Green Chile Panzanella (SouthwestoStyle Tuscan Bread Salad 60

Succulent Southwest Potato Salad 62

Main Dishes 63

Grilled Piñon Lamb Chops 65

Perfect Santa Fe Enchiladas 66

New Mexico Carne Adovada 68

Roulade of Pork with Green Chile and Cilantro 69

Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Walnut Pipián Sauce 71

Tamale Pie with Cheese and Chicken 73

Side Dishes 59

Calabacitas con Chile Verdes (Squash and Green Chile) 76

Chiles Rellenos 77

Papas con Chile Colorado (Potatoes with Red Chile) 79

A Drink and a Dessert 81

Bloody Maria 83

The Honorabel Biscochito from the Land of Enchantment 84

Part 4 Resources 87

Further Reading 89

Seed and Plant Sources 89

Websites 89

Chile Pepper Suppliers and Online Hotshops 90

About the Author 91

Customer Reviews