Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fire! (I’ll Take You to Burn)

I can still hear my Dad’s voice, “My God, Fran! Who were you mad at?!”

Often her Green Chile Stew would be so hot that it could hardly be eaten, but would we stop? Nooooooooo. We are a stubborn people. We sat with a stack of tortillas and a hand towel, sweating our way through the meal.

Our Green Chile Stew recipe came from my parents’ families who came from the Mora Valley in New Mexico. The one time I was in Mora, I stopped for lunch and almost cried when I tasted the food. It was exactly the way my family cooked. I mentioned it to the waitress, who asked me if I realized that it was Spanish and Indian cooking-- not Mexican. I assured her I did.

Good Mexican food is a treasure, but it is not the same as what my family made. It is in some ways more exotic, with ingredients and spices that I have only begun to explore.

Everyone makes their Green Chile Stew differently. What is written below is a basic recipe. Some people use beef, more onions, no onions, no tomatoes or they add potatoes... they make it their own style.

Green Chile Stew

Pork, 1/2 pound, cubed and sauteed in olive oil-- let it brown well for the best flavor

Onion, chopped and sauteed with pork

Tomatoes, 1 can diced

Green Chile, roasted. peeled and chopped (Anaheim or Hatch, you can use the canned but drain all the liquid from them. If you use fresh, use six or so-- roast in the oven at 350 for half an hour, let cool then peel and chop.)

Garlic, crushed (to taste)

1/2 t. oregano

1/4 t. ground or crushed cumin (optional)

1/4 t. ground or crushed coriander seed (optional)

Sauté the pork, add the onion and garlic, continue cooking at low heat until the onion is translucent. Add the tomatoes, chili and spices.

Simmer at least an hour. I usually simmer longer in a crock pot.

Makes about one quart. Serve with beans or rice or with lots of tortillas.

I often make my Green Chile Stew a day ahead of time. It’s easier to remove any grease from the top when it’s cold, making it a lower fat meal.

And my husband has a theory that chile stored in a refrigerator emerges hotter the next day. He may be right.

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