My Jeta Farms CSA share this week contained New Mexico green chilies. The CSA farmer told me he had gotten the seeds from a New Mexico farmer and had grown the peppers here on his farm this year. They were beautiful. I did some research and learned more about these green chilies.
They are deep green peppers, five or six inches in length, and have been cultivated throughout New Mexico for quite a long time. Native peoples there still grow some of the older heirloom varieties, and there are newer varieties planted all over the state, as well.
The chilies can have a bit of a kick to them, so taste the sauce and do not use too much when preparing the enchiladas, if you do not like it too spicy.
In New Mexico the chilies are fire-roasted, peeled, chopped and made into a well-known sauce. The sauce can be used on a lot of dishes. You can have green chile sauce with your breakfast eggs, on enchiladas, in a stew made with pork for dinner or in any dish you think you may like it on.
Dilemma – what is the correct spelling – chile or chili? In my research I also discovered this spelling controversy and my spellchecker wants me to use chili.
From the Los Angeles Times:
Las Cruces, N.M. — Chili vs. chile.
The war over how to spell New Mexico’s most valuable vegetable crop continues to rage for the head of the Chile Pepper Institute at New Mexico State University.
Paul Bosland, director of the institute and the school’s chief chile breeder, has been trying for years to get everyone to spell chile–the hot peppers or the plant from which the peppers come–with an “e.” He says chili–the spicy dish of meat and sometimes beans–should be spelled with an “i.”
“A lot of people argue about it,” he said.
The word chile originated from the Aztec word “chil,” meaning pepper. Bosland said the Spanish added an “e” to the end of the word to make it a noun in their language.
Advertisements lining the back roads in the lower Rio Grande Valley, where most of New Mexico’s peppers are grown, spell it chile. Just across the border in Texas, restaurants advertise their state dish as “chili.”
Bosland has heard quite a few arguments against the New Mexico way of spelling chile.
“One person said you can’t use c-h-i-l-e because that’s the name of a country. That’s true, but Turkey seems to have done quite well,” he said. “Some say the English spell it c-h-i-l-l-i. Well, they also spell color with a “u.”
Webster’s Dictionary helps to complicate the matter. It provides three spellings–chili, chile and chilli–that are all defined as either hot peppers or a dish of meat and spices.
The Associated Press uses chili. Norman Goldstein, AP Stylebook editor, says the “i” spelling is more commonly used in most other parts of the nation.
The Los Angeles Times spells the vegetable “chile” and the spicy soup “chili.” The sauce made of chile, onion and tomato? Chile sauce.
Chicken and Green Chile Enchiladas
You may also use leftover, cooked chicken, if you have it on hand, instead of cooking the chicken breasts, as described below. If you do, then use prepared chicken broth.
I use 6 inch corn tortillas. If you use a different size, you will have to adjust the recipe amounts.
For the Chicken
1 1⁄2 lbs. chicken breasts
1 small carrot
1 small onion
1 garlic clove
For the Enchiladas
8 soft 6 inch white corn tortillas
1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese mix, divided
5 scallions, chopped
Make the chicken:
In a large saucepan, place the chicken breasts, carrot, onion and garlic. Add enough water to cover and bring to a simmer.
Let simmer until the meat is cooked through and the broth is flavorful, about 30 minutes.
Strain, reserving both the broth and the chicken separately. Let the chicken rest until cool enough to handle.
Shred the meat and discard the bones and skin. Set aside.
Reserve 1 ½ cups of broth for the sauce and 1 cup for softening tortillas.
Make the green chile sauce, recipe below.
Combine the shredded chicken, chopped scallions and ½ cup of cheese in a mixing bowl.
Make the enchiladas:
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Cover the bottom of a 13 by 9 inch glass baking dish or a dish that will fit 8 enchiladas in a single layer with a thin layer of green chile sauce.
Heat the 1 cup of chicken broth.
To soften the tortillas so they can be rolled without breaking, dip them very briefly in the hot broth, until softened slightly.
Working with one tortilla at a time, distribute about 3 tablespoons of the shredded chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla.
Roll the tortilla loosely into a cigar shape to cover the filling, then transfer seam side down to the prepared baking dish.
Repeat with the remaining tortillas and chicken, placing the enchiladas snugly side by side.
Ladle additional green chile sauce over the top to coat all the tortillas.
Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the sauce, cover with foil and bake until the enchiladas are heated through and the sauce is beginning to bubble, about 20 minutes.
Remove the foil and bake until the top is browned and bubbling, about 15 minutes more.
Serve the enchiladas with sour cream, if desired.
New Mexico Green Chile Sauce
I double the recipe, so I can freeze some of the sauce for another Mexican dish.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1⁄2 cup finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons masa harina flour (corn flour) or regular flour
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 1⁄2 cups chicken stock, see above
1 cup chopped roasted and peeled New Mexico Hatch green chilies
1⁄4 teaspoon dried oregano
To prepare the peppers:
The peppers need to be roasted on the grill or under a broiler before making the sauce.
Place the chiles on an outdoor grill or under the broiler and roast until the skin is charred and blistered, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Avoid completely blackening the chiles; you’re looking for them to be about 40% to 50% charred.
Using tongs, turn the chiles over and roast on the other side until the skin is charred and blistered, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Remove the chiles from the grill or broiler and place them in a paper bag, food-safe plastic bag or heat-safe bowl.
Close the bag or cover the bowl, and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes. The steam will help loosen the peel from the chiles.
When cool enough to handle, pull the skins off and set aside.
To prepare the sauce:
(I do not like the sauce chunky, so I puree the chopped peppers with half of the chicken broth first and then add it to the sauce.)
In a medium sauce pan, saute the onion and garlic in the oil over medium-high heat, until tender (about 3 minutes).
Stir in the flour, cumin, salt and pepper and cook over medium heat, stirring, for 2 minutes.
Stir in the stock and simmer until thick and smooth.
Stir in the chiles and oregano.
Cool the sauce and store in refrigerator, covered, for up to one day.
This past week my market had a buy one – get one free for small peppers. I couldn’t pass that up. So, then came the planning – what to cook without getting sick of the peppers. Here are some dishes I came up with that include peppers.
Vegetable Quesadillas With Mango Salsa
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup diced jalapeños
1 cup fresh corn kernels
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup shredded cheddar or Monterey cheese
Three 8-inch whole wheat flour tortillas
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
In a medium bowl, combine the bell pepper, onion, corn, jalapeños, chili powder,1/8 teaspoon salt and cheese.
Divide the mixture between the tortillas, scattering it over half of each and folding the tortillas in half.
Heat the oil in a heavy-duty 10-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the quesadillas and cook until browned and crisp on the bottom, about 1 minute.
Turn the tortillas over and continue to cook until browned and crisp on the other side, 1 minute more. Let cool slightly, cut into wedges, and serve with lime wedges and Mango Salsa.
1 ripe mango, peeled and diced
Half a yellow bell pepper, finely diced
2 tablespoons red onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon agave syrup
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
Pinch of cayenne
Salt to taste
In a mixing bowl, combine all the mango salsa ingredients and set aside. Let sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. Toss before using.
Sautéed Sausage, Peppers and Onion Sandwiches
Reserve 4 pieces of sausage and ½ cup of the peppers and onions for the Stuffed Zucchini recipe.
1/2 pound each of hot and sweet Italian sausage
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 red bell pepper, sliced into long strips
2 yellow or orange bell pepper, sliced into long strips
2 garlic cloves, sliced into slivers
1 large sweet onion, sliced into 1/4-inch half-moons
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
Salt to taste
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, deep skillet with a lid. When the oil is hot, add the sausages and brown them slowly. You want a gentle browning, not a quick sear.
Cook for several minutes, turning them occasionally so they brown on all sides. When the sausages are browned, remove them from the pan and set aside.
When cool enough to handle cut into two-inch lengths.
Increase the heat to high and add the onions and peppers. Toss so they get coated with the oil in the pan and cook, stirring often.
Once the onions and peppers soften, sprinkle some salt on them, add the garlic and Italian seasoning and cook for 1 more minute.
Add the sausages back in. Bring to a simmer then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer until the peppers are soft and the sausages are cooked through, about 20 minutes.
Heat the rolls and fill them with the sausage mixture.
Sausage and Peppers Stuffed Zucchini
2 medium zucchini
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 oz cooked Italian sausage, chopped
¼ cup cooked peppers and onions, chopped
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 375 F. degrees.
Trim the stem end of the zucchini, cut a thin slice from the top and scoop out the zucchini flesh with a teaspoon. Finely chop the zucchini flesh and the slice from the top of the zucchini.
Place the zucchini shells in one layer in a baking dish. Generously brush the inside of the zucchini with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt.
In a medium skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil and add the chopped zucchini.Cook until soft and tender. Add the chopped sausage and chopped onions and peppers. Cook until hot. Remove the pan from the heat.
Add the panko breadcrumbs to the filling and let cool until easy to touch. Stuff the zucchini boats with the filling.
Sprinkle the top of the filling in the zucchini with Parmesan cheese. Drizzle with a little oil.
Bake the zucchini for 30 minutes, until the topping is crispy and golden.
Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.
Use pork tenderloin — a tender, lean meat. Traditionally, fajitas are made with skirt beef steak, which has twice the fat and three times the amount of saturated fat.
Makes 8 fajitas
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pound pork tenderloin, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
1 small onion, sliced
1 bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 flour tortillas, about 8 inches in diameter, warmed in the microwave
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 plum tomatoes, diced
4 cups shredded lettuce
In a small bowl, stir together the chili powder, oregano, paprika, coriander and garlic powder. Dredge the pork pieces in the seasonings, coating completely.
Heat a large skillet and add the olive oil. Add the pork, peppers and onions and cook over medium-high heat, turning several times, until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes.
To serve, spread an equal amount of pork, peppers and onions on each tortilla. Top each with 1 tablespoon cheese, 2 tablespoons tomatoes and 1/2 cup shredded lettuce.
Fold in both sides of each tortilla up over the filling, then roll to close. Serve immediately.
2 cups leftover roasted turkey breast, diced
2 stalks celery
¼ cup finely diced sweet onion
1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Mix the mayonnaise, sour cream, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper together in a mixing bowl with a cover. Add the diced turkey, celery, onion and bell pepper. Mix well.
Cover and chill in the refrigerator before serving.
Snacks for game watching or parties are fun to have on hand. They do not have to be unhealthy to taste really good. My kind of snacks have always been a big hit with family and guests – so give them a try. I have never heard that they didn’t go over well. In fact, I get many requests for the recipes. The sports season begins this week, so get ready.
Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds can be seasoned, roasted in the oven and eaten as a healthy snack. They’re a very good source of phosphorus, magnesium, manganese and antioxidants; and they’re also a good source of protein, zinc, copper and iron. Besides – they taste good.
Make a double batch – they go fast.
- 2 cups raw, dry pumpkin seeds (be sure they are not salted)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 2 tablespoons honey
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Toss the seeds with the olive oil, salt, pepper, cinnamon, cumin, cayenne and honey in a mixing bowl.
Spread the seeds on a baking pan.
Roast the coated seeds until golden, about 15 – 20 minutes. Scrape the pan and stir the seeds as they cool to prevent sticking. After about 10 minutes cooling on the pan, the seeds will stick together.
They are easy to separate and will finish cooling without sticking after they are separated.
Remove to a serving bowl or store in an airtight container.
Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus
Pimentón is the Spanish version of paprika that adds a little smokiness to a recipe. It comes in three types with varying levels of heat. Dulce is slightly sweet with very little heat, agridulce has only a trace of sweetness but a lot of heat and picante is quite hot with just a trace of bitterness.
This is not the typical hummus made with tahini (sesame paste). This hummus uses sun-dried tomatoes and has delicious flavor from the Pimentón. The dip go very well with the homemade pita chips.
- 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained but reserve the bean liquid
- 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, more to taste
- 1 tablespoon pimentón agridulce
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Pita chips (recipe below) and raw vegetables, for serving.
Drain the chickpeas, reserving the bean liquid separately.
Put the chickpeas and lemon juice into a blender or food processor and process until chunky.
Add salt, pepper, the garlic and pimentón and process; then add the sun-dried tomatoes and sun dried tomato oil. Process until very smooth.
Add some of the reserved bean liquid to thin the sauce to dipping consistency.
Serve with homemade pita chips and cut up vegetables.
Homemade Pita Chips
Za’atar seasoning is a Middle Eastern spice mixture that contains ground dried thyme, oregano, marjoram, toasted sesame seeds, salt and sumac.
- 1 package of pita pocket breads (6 pitas in a package)
- Olive oil
- Za’atar seasoning
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Oil two large rimmed baking pans.
Separate each pita into two rounds. Brush each with olive oil and sprinkle with the Za’atar seasoning mix. Cut each pita circle into 6 triangles.
Arrange the triangles on the baking sheets and bake until crispy and brown, about 20 minutes. Rotate the pans after ten minutes, Cool and store in a large ziplock bag until needed.
Small hand foods are popular and easy to eat while you are watching a game. These can be filled with anything you like and cut as small as you like. Here are some suggestions.
- Whole-grain tortillas, lavash bread or lettuce leaves
- Drizzle of oil and vinegar
Protein Filling Ingredients
- Thinly sliced roast turkey, chicken, ham or roast beef
- Nut Butters
Vegetable Filling Ingredients
- Greens: lettuce, baby spinach, kale, Swiss chard
- Zucchini Slices
- Pickled Cucumbers, Peppers or other Pickled Vegetables
- Light Mayonnaise
- Greek Yogurt
- Mashed Avocado
Choose a type of wrap or use a variety. Choose a spread and cover the wrap on one side.
Layer the wrap with a protein and veggies of choice. Drizzle with a little oil and vinegar. Roll-up tightly and place on a serving dish. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate until game time.
Pepper and Corn Salsa
The fresh flavors of this seasonal salsa is what makes it taste so good. Homemade chips make it taste even better.
- 3 bell peppers, seeded and diced (use a variety of colors)
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
- 1 cup fresh corn kernels, cooked
- 1 tomato, seeded and diced
- 1/2 red onion, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
- Juice of half a lime
- Pinch of cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper Flakes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Homemade tortilla chips
Place the diced vegetables and corn to a medium serving bowl.
Add the lime juice, salt, pepper and cayenne to the bowl. Mix well. Let the flavors combine for at least twenty minutes before serving.
Serve either at room temperature or slightly chilled with tortilla chips.
Homemade Tortilla Chips
- Olive oil
- One package (8-10) large (12 inch) flour tortillas
- Taco seasoning mix, recipe below
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Oil two rimmed baking sheets.
Brush the tortillas with olive oil and sprinkle each with taco seasoning. Cut the tortillas into 8 triangles and arrange them on the prepared baking sheets.
Bake until golden brown and crisp, rotating the baking sheets once, about 12 to 15 minutes.
Taco Seasoning Mix
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
In a small bowl, mix all together. Store in an airtight container.