Monday, December 10, 2012


Posole is often referred to as the "Bowl of Blessedness" by those in the Southwest and Mexico. Posole is the mother process for curing or preserving corn.  Posole is made by soaking white corn kernels in ground limestone and water and then dried.  This stew is very flavorful and just fabulous when you top it with the cilantro, fresh lime, radish slices and shredded cabbage.
On my website,, I have a copy of my syndicated story I wrote for the Los Angeles Times several years ago.  This story gives a great more detail of the history.

Posole is not to be confused with hominy, which is prepared with lye--a corrosive chemical which destroys the cellulosic coating.

(Dried Corn with Pork and Red Chiles) 
 You may serve this either as a side dish or main dish. I like to layer toppings such as fresh shredded cabbage, fresh lime wedges, avocado cubes and cilantro sprigs.
 Yield:  15 to 16 servings
1 pound dried posole
1 quart water, or more
2 pounds pork, steak or roast, cut into ½” cubes
1 Tablespoon salt or to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
pinch of Mexican oregano
1 Tablespoon cumin, or to taste
¼ cup caribe chile or to taste
1. Simmer the posole in unseasoned water until it becomes soft and the kernels have burst open; it usually requires 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
2. Brown the pork cubee in a cold, well-seasoned frying pan; adding no fat or oil to the pan. Saute until very browned, then add to the posole.  Deglaze the frying pan with 1 cup water, stirring to loosen the brownies sticking to the pan.  Also add this liquid to the posole.
3. Add remaining ingredients, using one-half the cumin and cook the stew for 1 or more hours, to blend the flavors.  Just before serving, add the remaining half of cumin.  Taste and adjust the seasonings.  Ideally, this dish should be started the morning before it is to be served, to allow the flavors to develop.
Notes:  In Old Mexico the following toppings are often served and posole is a main dish and often called the Chicken Noodle Soup of Mexico--good for curing colds and ills:
        2 cups thinly shredded fresh cabbage
        2 limes, cut into wedges
        1 avocado, pitted, peeled and cut into cubes
        1 bunch cilantro sprigs
In Mexico, posole is often spelled with a “z” instead of an “s”.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Salsa Verde

This recipe for Salsa Verde is very easy to make and is very versatile--it can be served as a dipping salsa, a garnish for meats, seafood and poultry or as an ingredient in such dishes as Lime Rice.  It also freezes quite well, requiring a bit of stirring to create the desired consistency.  Try it!  I know you will like it. 

An old Mexican favorite that is good over almost any meat or tortilla dish.  Tomatillos, available in Mexican specialty shops, should always be used.  Don’t substitute unripe green tomatoes, because they lack the subtle, sweet taste of the tomatillos.

Yield:  About 2 cups

2 cups quartered, fresh tomatillos
2/3 cup chopped onion
1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 jalapeno chile or Serrano chile, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

1. If using fresh tomatillos, remove outer husk.  Quarter and place in one inch deep boiling water in a heavy pot.  Cover and simmer for 5 to 8 minutes or until color deepens and they are almost fork tender.  DO NOT OVERCOOK!

2. Remove tomatillos from cooking water with a slotted spoon, reserving the water. Process tomatillos in a blender or food processor until coarsely chopped.  Add remaining ingredients; process to combine, adding cooking liquid to create desired consistency.  Taste and if necessary, adjust seasonings.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Flour Tortillas

When making these flour tortillas, always add all of the water as directed.  The dough will be quite moist--add the least flour possible as you knead the dough for the most successful tortillas.  Getting the dough moist is the key to fluffy, thin wonderfully flavored tortillas.  Enjoy!!


These taste best when they’re fresh, however they freeze well for up to three months (only half as long as the corn tortillas).

Yield:  8-12 (6-inch) tortillas
4 cups unbleached flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup lard, butter or margarine
1-1/2 cups warm water

1. Mix together dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Then add the shortening, preferably lard and mix until the lard is evenly distributed and resembles corn meal.  Add  water all at once, and stir  to form a rather soft dough; then turn out onto a board and knead until the dough is smooth, working in the least flour possible. Test for well developed gluten by stretching a bit of dough between your fingers.  When gluten is developed, the dough will develop strings.   Allow to it rest 10 minutes, covered with the inverted bowl.  

2. When the dough is relaxed and an inserted finger will sink easily to the bottom of the dough, divide dough into 12 equal portions and stretching dough and form each portion into a smooth ball.  Pat to flatten.  Cover the balls of dough with a moist towel.  

3. Preheat a well seasoned* cast-iron comal or griddle over medium heat.  Then, working with one ball of dough at a time, roll into a round, thin disk, using a small rolling pin, known as a bolillo or if unavailable, use the smallest diameter rolling pin available.  Each disk should be about 1/8” thick.  When it is hot, bake the tortillas about 45 seconds on the first side, or until small brownish spots appear on the cooked surface.  Turn with a spatula and cook for just a few seconds on the other side.

Whole-Wheat Flour Tortillas:  To make whole-wheat flour tortillas, substitute whole-wheat flour for one-half of the unbleached flour.  Follow directions above.

*Note:  You may season a griddle by brushng peanut oil or vegetable oil onto the surface of the griddle. Place in a 400 F oven for 30 minutes, then turn heat off  and leave over night or until cool enough to touch. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Pinto beans cooked this way are amazingly delicious!  And, with pintos being the healthiest of all beans, it is so wonderful to know this easy to make and yummy recipe.  They freeze amazingly well and are a staple in so many Southwestern, Mexican and Tex-Mex recipes.


More highly flavored than ordinary beans, these can be served as is as a side dish or as a main course with sliced ham on the side.  In any case, top them with chopped onions and pickled jalapeno chiles.  Corn bread is a must.

Yield:  2 quarts or 4 to 6 servings

1 pound dried pinto beans
1 ham hock, ham bone or ½ pound salt pork
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup coarsely chopped Spanish onion (1 medium to large onion)
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
3 or 4 cups rich chicken stock or as needed

1. Rinse and sort beans, picking out any foreign objects.  Place beans and ham hock in a heavy 5-quart pot.  Add enough water to come about 3 inches above the level of the beans and meat.  Boil 10 minutes, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes, uncovered.  

2. Add the pepper, garlic, and onion and simmer 2 hours or until a bean will mash easily against the side of the pot.  Add chicken stock as needed to keep the liquid level about 1 inch above the level of the bean mixture.  When beans are done, cook to reduce the liquid to the desired consistency.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sonorran Salsa Verde

This rich, flavorful salsa comes from braising the tomatillos, then flavoring them once cooked with chipotle.  I personally like the fully flavored powdered traditional chipotle that we sell through our spice company, Pecos Valley Spice. Co.

You can enjoy this as a stand alone snacking salsa or as a salsa over poultry or pork.  Enjoy!


Searing the tomatillos makes them sweeter and more complex tasting.  The chipotles add a warm, smoky overtone.  Serve warm or cold as a dipping salsa or as a sauce with poultry, seafood or pork.

Yield:  2 cups salsa
1 pound fresh tomatillos
1/2 cup fresh onion, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 chipotles, reconstituted with 1 teaspoon vinegar and water (see note below)
2 Tablespoons chipotle cooking juice
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 / 4 cup fresh cilantro or Italian flat leaf parsley

1. Wash, husk and halve fresh tomatillos.  Place in heavy, cold skillet in a single layer.  Place over high heat and cook uncovered until the tomatillos toward the center become brown.  Then turn all tomatillos over, remove from heat and cover with a tight fitting lid.  Allow to steam until soft—at least ten minutes.

2. Add to blender with all ingredients except cilantro and blend until pureed.  If mixture seems thick, add additional chipotle cooking liquid or water to make desired consistency.  Add cilantro and pulse to mix well.

Note:  To reconstitute dried chipotles in the microwave, place them in bottom of 1 quart glass measuring cup.  Add vinegar and water to cover.  Cover with cellophane wrap and process on high power for five minutes or until the chiles are softened.  Reserve any remaining liquid and add to salsa.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Mole Verde

A delightfully full flavored green mole from the Mayan culture. When I had my New York City Restaurant, the Pecos River Cafe, it was voted one of the healthiest restaurant dishes in the City by the New York Hospital Dieticians. Totally wonderful served with the Comino Rice from a previous You Tube and Blog.


Subtle and complex in flavor, this chicken is elegant enough to serve company. Don’t be daunted by the long list of ingredients; the dish can be mad in only about an hour. It’s absolutely wonderful in warmed fresh corn tortillas with at topping of guacamole and sour cream; you might also serve it over rice or with a side dish of stewed beans.

1 (3 lb) broiler-fryer chicken, cut for frying or chicken breast or thighs
About 3 cups chicken broth
2 Tablespoons juice from pickled jalapeno chiles
1 cup ground almonds
1 large onion, quartered
6 to 8 leaves dark green lettuce (romaine, leaf lettuce or outer leaves of iceberg lettuce)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 cup flat-leaf parsley springs
1 large clove garlic
6 fresh or pickled jalapeno chiles, stemmed
1/3 cup virgin olive oil
Salt to taste, if desired
12 corn tortillas, warmed, or 3 to 4 cups hot cooked rice
Guacamole, if desired
2 cups sour cream, if desired

1. Place chicken in a single layer in a large pot. Pour in broth and jalapeno juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer 35 to 45 minutes or until tender. Cool in cooking broth. Lift chicken from broth (reserve broth); discard skin and bones and tear meat in chunks.

2. If you need to grind the almonds, grind them in a blender, using a pulsing action. Then preheat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet. When oil is hot, add the ground almonds and sauté until lightly tanned, about 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside.

Then, to prepare the sauce, in a food processor or blender, add a cup of the reserved broth, then process onion, lettuce, cilantro, parsley, garlic, and jalapenos until quite smooth. Add additional chicken broth, a few tablespoons at a time, until mixture has the consistency of whipping cream. Set aside.

4. Add pureed sauce to the toasted almonds and heat and cook until the sauce is somewhat thickened. Taste and adjust flavors. Then add the chicken and simmer together 10 to 15 minutes or until flavors are blended and sauce is hot.

5. Serve in warmed tortillas or over rice, topped with guacamole and sour cream, if desired.

Note: For a slightly lower fat and calorie version, reduce the olive oil to 2 Tablespoon and the almonds to 2/3 cup – any less really affects the flavor and texture.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Bowl o' Red

Pecos River is the name of my spice company and was oringinally the name of the ranch I owned in New Mexico--formerly deeded by the King of Spain.  I learned my love of chili from my maternal grandfather, who was an executive with the Santa Fe Railroad in the late 1800's and early 1900's.  He was in charge of the tracks, both giving back surplus land, earlier claimed and determining the direction of expansion.  My grandfather developed this recipe after spending five years sampling chilis from the "cookies" who cooked for the cowboyts herding cattle to the various rail heads. 


The influence behind this recipe came from my maternal grandfather, who when working with the Santa Fe Railroad learned how to prepare it from the “cookies,” or trail cooks.  It has won numerous chili cook-offs and is one of the really true original chilis.

2 Tablespoons lard, butter, bacon drippings, or rendered beef fat
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
3 pounds lean beef, cut into ½-inch cubes
3 medium-size garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup ground hot chile or to taste
1/4 cup ground mild chile
1 Tablespoon ground cumin, divided
About 3 cups water
1-1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste*
1. Heat lard in a large heavy pot over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until softened.  Remove from heat.

2. Add meat, garlic, ground chiles and half the cumin to the pot.  Break up any lumps.  Stir in the water and salt.  Return to heat.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 2-1/2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat is very tender and the flavors are well blended.  Add more water if necessary.  Taste and adjust seasonings, adding the rest of the cumin and determining the need for salt.

*Many times little or no salt will be needed.  If salt sensitive, wait to add salt until just before tasting

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Green Chile Corn Custard

This super yummy corn custard dish is wonderful because it does not dry out when keeping it warm for a party.  Just stir everthing together and use your most Southwestern casserole dish to bake it in.

This corn custard is the best I have ever tasted. The dish is especially nice to serve with any buffet featuring roasted or grilled  meats.

Yield: 4-6 servings

2 eggs, lightly beaten
4 cups, or 2, 14.5 oz cans of yellow cream-style corn
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal (if desired, crumbled tostado or taco shells may be substituted)
1/2 teaspoon salt (reduce amount if using salted tostados)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup, or 1, 4 oz can or frozen chopped green chiles (about 2 parched and peeled fresh chiles)
1 cup, or 1/4 lb grated sharp cheddar cheese (or Mexican Blend Mixed grated cheese)

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Combine all of the ingredients in the order listed and pour into a buttered  2 to 3 quart baking dish.

2. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 325F and continue to bake for 15 to 45 minutes. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Flan Caramelisado

This is my all-time favorite Flan, that I like to say has garnered me a multi-thousand dollar wardrobe from Double D, a superior couture type designer of high fashion Southwestern clothes.  It all started with the fact that the President of the company loved this Flan recipe from my original "Tex-Mex" cookbook.

(Custard with Caramel Topping)
Years ago, my Mexican aunt shared this, her favorite flan recipe.  It is fool proof if you carefully follow the instructions and it is so delicious. 
Yield:  4 – 6 servings

1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
6 eggs
3 1/2 cups milk
1 cinnamon stick, preferably canela or Mexican cinnamon
1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla
Cold unsalted butter, for buttering custard cups

1.      Caramelize ½ cup sugar in a small skillet over medium high heat, stirring constantly until sugar is melted and browned.  Pour immediately into the bottoms of 10 to 12 well buttered 4 ounce custard cups.

2.      Beat eggs until well mixed with a simple whisk.  Gradually add the remaining cup of sugar, beating  after each addition to dissolve the sugar.  Do not beat until foamy.

3.      Heat the milk with the cinnamon stick until warm.  Add milk to egg flan mixture, stirring to combine well.  Add vanilla and stir to combine.

4.      Pour into the caramel-lined custard cups.  Set cups on a cloth towel in a 10 x 14 pan(or one large enough to hold the custards) of hot water and bake in a 350 F oven for 35 minutes, or until they are slightly bubbled up and barely jiggle when the water bath pan is shaken a bit.  (I prefer to not insert a knife, as it will make a hole.  However an  inserted knife should come out clean when done.)  Overbaking is a popular problem.  Do not bake past the point of doneness.  Allow to cool for at least three to four hours.  To serve, warm slightly in the microwave (about three minutes) or in a moderate oven for about 20 minutes or until the liquid in the bottom has softened and they slide out easily.  Then using a table knife, insert it against the side of each bowl and invert onto a small dessert plate.

Notes:  One large flan can be made if preferred.  It will take longer to cool and must be made one day in advance. 

This recipe can be halved successfully.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Salsa Roja

I developed this Salsa after tasting many, many restaurant salsas and wanted one with more zip and zing than just another tomato based salsa.  If you like it spicy hot, you will just love this and it is so easy to make.  Reserve the cilantro and add it only just before serving.  Do not add cilantro if planning to keep the salsa for several days in the refrigerator or the freezer.

This salsa is hot and typically New Mexican.  It will keep for several days in the refrigerator and can be frozen for up to 6 months.  It’s a popular style of table salsa in northern New Mexico.

Yield:  1 ½  cups

1 ½  cups chopped fresh tomatoes or whole canned tomatoes, crushed
1 tablespoon finely crushed chile pequin or to taste
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
½ teaspoon ground Mexican oregano
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 ½  teaspoons ground cumin
1 ½  teaspoons minced fresh cilantro (optional)

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix until thoroughly blended. 

Monday, July 30, 2012


Sopaipillas are native to New Mexico, originating in Old Town, Albuquerque, over 300 years ago. These hollow puffs are generally served as a bread with honey drizzled inside.  They are delicious sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar as a dessert or snack and make wonderful “pocket bread” for stuffing with refried beans, chile con carne and sauced for a main dish sandwich.

To assure success while making them, just remember the following 4 tips--
     1.  Knead the dough until it is smooth and the gluten is well developed. (Note how to do this in the video.)
     2. The oil must be hot--375F.
     3. The shaping technique--learn how to shape the dough before rolling it and DO NOT reroll the dough.
     4. The frying technique is critical.  Be sure to drop the piece of dough straight down into the hot oil, holding it submerged until it puffs and becomes hollow.

   (Deep-Fried Bread)

Note: Leftover sopaipillas can be frozen in an airtight package for up to 3 months.  Reheat in a foil packet at 350 F for 15 minutes.  Just before serving, open the foil to allow the sopaipillas to dry out on the outside.  These puffs will be better for stuffing than for serving as a bread or dessert.

Yield:  4 dozen

            4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
            1 ½  teaspoons salt                                        
1 Tablespoon lard or butter
            1 package active dry yeast, optional 
¼ cup warm water (105-115 F) (gives pleasant yeasty aroma and
               a more elastic texture)
            1 ¼  cups scalded milk (approximately), cooled to room temperature
            Cooking oil for deep frying

1.   Combine dry ingredients and work in shortening, blending very well until mixture resembles corn meal.

2.   Dissolve the yeast in warm water and add this mixture to the milk, stirring well.  (If not using yeast, use 1 ½  cups milk and omit the ¼ cup water).

3.   Add liquid ingredients and work into the dough.  Place on board.

4.   Knead dough thoroughly for about 5 minutes until smooth, firm and elastic, adding no flour or the least amount possible.  (If dough is rubbery and very thick when first kneaded, sprinkle with a little warm water.)  Invert the bowl over the kneaded dough and let rest for 10 minutes or until the dough will yield a hole when poked.  Heat a 3 to 4 inch depth of oil to 400 F in a deep fryer.

5.   Working with one-fourth of the dough at a time, keeping the balance well covered with plastic wrap, roll to ¼-inch thickness or slightly thinner, then cut into triangles or squares; do not reroll any of the dough.  Fry the sopaipillas, a few at a time, in the hot fat.  They should puff and become hollow soon after they are immersed in the oil.  If they don’t puff up, keep holding under the surface of the oil with tongs or a spoon until they do puff.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Comino (Cumin) Rice

This is a very versatile Mediterranean style rice, that is the best prepared with Basmati rice, however it will not mold well as it is so fluffy.  If you wish to mold this rice, use a short grain rice.  And, if you do not have all 3 bell peppers on hand--you can substitute just one kind of pepper and even substitute chopped chiles.

This is my all-time favorite rice recipe--it tastes best when you divide the cumin, adding half as it is cooked, the balance just before you serving.  The confetti dots of yellow, green and red make for a very pretty side dish.  I have sometimes called this dish Peppered Rice.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings

2 tablespoons lard or butter
2 cups diced green, yellow and red bell pepper
1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon cumin (comino), divided
1-1/2 cups uncooked long-grain rice (Basmati is best)
1-1/2 cups chicken stock, hot

1.   Using medium heat, melt the lard or butter in a 3 quart saucepan with a close-fitting cover. Add the peppers and onion and cook until onion is wilted. Add the garlic, ½ teaspoon cumin and rice, and stir until well mixed.

2.   Add the hot stock and mix to distribute the rice evenly. Using medium high heat, bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low, cover and steam for 15 minutes without disturbing. Then add remaining cumin and stir.  If not as tender as desired, cook to desired doneness.  If dry, add more stock.  Taste and adjust seasonings—I have always found the seasoning in the stock precludes the need for salt in the recipe.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Red Chile Beef Enchiladas

Red Chile Beef Flat Enchiladas are perhaps the most popular entrée in Traditional New Mexican cooking.  Native New Mexicans frequently eat a fried egg atop these.  In Northern New Mexico, they like them served spicy hot, so the egg is a great foil for the spicy heat.  The ground beef is cooked into the sauce, rather than serving the sauce over roasted, shredded beef called “deshabrado”.  These enchiladas can be prepared rolled, if preferred.  If you wish to roll them in advance and freeze, always freeze the sauce for topping them in a separate container. 

(Flat Enchiladas)

Use this recipe for Red Chile Beef Enchiladas.  You can adapt the recipe to Basic Red Chile Sauce, by omitting the beef and starting with 2 Tablespoons butter, lard or bacon drippings.

For Red Chile Beef Sauce:

Yield:  2-1/2 cups

1 pound ground chuck or 80% lean beef
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup ground pure mild red chile, such as Pecos Valley Spice Co.
1/4 cup ground pure hot red chile, such as Pecos Valley Spice Co.
2 cups beef stock or water
1 garlic clove, crushed
Pinch of ground Mexican oregano, such as Pecos Valley Spice Co.
Pinch of ground cumin, such as Pecos Valley Spice Co.
3/4 teaspoon salt (if not using stock)

1.   Saute  crumbled beef into a 9 inch skillet or sauté pan and cook until the pink color disappears.  Add flour and stir until smooth and slightly golden.

2.   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.

For Enchiladas:

Yield: 4 Servings

8 white, yellow or blue corn tortillas
About 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese
4 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.   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.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Perfect Guacamole

My recipe for Perfect Guacamole has won high praise from Food Editors, students, friends and family for years. The only really important pointer is that you REALLY do have to use JUDGEMENT when adding the tomato, onion and jalapeno as the amount really will depend on the size of the avocados.  With smaller avocados, use less tomato and onion.  In this video you will see my favorite way to prepare it!


Guacamole at its best!  For greatest flavor, appearance and keeping quality – always cut avocados with two knives into coarse chunks about 1 inch square.

Yield:  4 servings

2 ripe avocados (preferably Haas)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice, or to taste
1 medium-size tomato, chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped Spanish onion
1 medium fresh jalapeno, minced
2 Tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

1.   Halve the avocados; scoop pulp into a bowl.  Coarsely chop with two knives.  Add salt and garlic; then slowly add lime juice to taste.

2.   Fold in tomato, onion and chiles.  Let stand a few minutes before serving to allow flavors to blend.

3.   Taste and adjust seasonings.  Some like spicy guacamole, while others like it quite mild.  Often piquancy is best determined by the other foods you are serving.  If some like it hot and others don’t, a solution is to serve a side dish of spicy salsa.

4.   Serve guacamole in a Mexican pottery bowl and garnish the top with a few tostados thrust into the top.  Serve with a basket of tostados.  As a salad, serve over chopped lettuce and garnish each serving with a cherry tomato.

Note:  Many myths seem to abound about placing an avocado pit in the guacamole to keep it from discoloring or oxidizing.  I don’t find that to work so well.  Cover the guacamole well or sprinkle with a few drops of ascorbic-acid mixture, the mixture used to prevent darkening in freezing fruits.  Be careful not to add much of the acid, as it can be slightly sweet.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Pollo Rellenos

These party perfect stuffed chicken breast rollups dressed up with a simply beautiful Salsa Fresca are really a great fast entree for a light meal as they only weigh in at 205 calories each. I created this dish for my "Jane Butel's Quick and Easy" cookbook and have made them many, many times and have even sliced them into 1/2 inch rounds for an appetizer. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

If you prefer to bake them conventionally, use a 375F oven and bake for 20 minutes or until well done. The chicken is done when it is firm to the touch or reaches 185F



Relleno in Spanish means stuffed. Here, I have stuffed the chicken breasts with cheese and green chile, then coated them with a crispy coating. The traditional Salsa Fresca is wonderful as an accompaniment.

Yield: 4 servings

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, trimmed of any fat or sinew (see note)
2 Tablespoons low-fat Cheddar Cheese or more to suit taste
2 Tablespoons chopped green chile (canned or frozen) or more to suit taste
¼ cup skim milk or buttermilk
½ cup cornflake crumbs (see note)
Salsa Fresca, optional

1.  Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Pound with a tenderizer mallet or the flat side of a heavy knife. Lay the chicken breasts out flat and divide the cheese and chiles among them.
Roll the chicken and fasten with toothpicks or skewers, tucking in the sides to hold the cheese mixture. Dip in the milk to coat uniformly then dip into the cornflake crumbs.

2.   Place in a microwave-safe baking dish, cover with wax paper, and cook on high for 10 to 12 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the Salsa Fresca, if using. Spoon a ribbon of salsa over each serving.

Note: You may need more corn flake crumbs for larger breasts.  Boneless, skinless thighs can be substituted, if preferred. Cheese-cracker crumbs can be substituted for the cornflake crumbs, but they contain more fat.

Salsa Garnish

½ cup chopped tomato
½ cup chopped onion
½ chopped green chiles

Combine the tomato, onion, and chiles; mix well.

Per serving: Calories 205, Protein 29 g, Carbohydrates 13 g, Fiber 1 g, Fat 3 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Cholesterol 74 mg, Sodium 242 mg.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

Enchiladas are a main stay in traditional New Mexican and most Tex-Mex restaurants. Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas are the most popular entrée in most New Mexican restaurants. I think after you make these, you might just agree that they are so easy to make and are more flavorful than you can get most anywhere. The rich chicken broth based sauce is so much more delicious than just the thickened green chile juice which is so often served.

Freshly roasted green chiles always create the very best and freshest flavor and are generally available most everywhere. Even though they are the New Mexican type green chiles, they are generally sold as Anaheim chiles. I have found them in Europe, Canada and most everywhere in the United States. 


These are the traditional favorite of most visitors to New Mexico. And they are very popular with natives as well. The yummy green chile sauce tucked between layers of tortilla and richly melted  with cheese makes for a delicious entrée that can be readied two hours before baking if desired.
The green chile sauce is basic, yet versatile and can be used to create enchiladas, or pour over chimichangas or burritos.  Seafood, beef or beans can be substituted for the chicken, or take out the meat for a vegetarian version.

Yield:  4 servings

8  white, yellow or blue corn tortillas
1 cup oil for frying, optional
1 recipe Green Chile Sauce, attached
¾ cup 50/50 mixture of grated Cheddar & Monterey Jack cheese, or to taste 
½ cup or 1 medium-sized onion, chopped finely
¼ cup sour cream

New Mexico Green Chile Sauce
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)

Garni: 1 Tablespoon crushed caribe chile, 6 leaves each coarsely chopped Romaine and red leaf lettuce, 4 tomato wedges for each serving

1. For the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the onion until soft. Stir in the flour.
2. Add the broth. Then add chiles, garlic, salt and comino.
3. Simmer for 20 minutes; then use for making enchiladas.
4. If desired, heat oil on medium high heat in a small skillet, when oil is hot; lightly fry them. If not frying, just use tortillas right from the package.  If rolling the tortillas, they must be lightly fried.
5. For Flat Enchiladas:  Preheat the oven to 350 F about 15 minutes before serving. For each, place a spoonful of green chile sauce on the plate, then top with a tortilla, followed by a spoonful of sauce, spread to edges of the tortilla.  Then sprinkle  cheese and  onion and add another tortilla and repeat. Heat in a preheated  moderate 350 F oven until the cheese melts.  To serve, top each enchilada with a dollop of sour cream and a generous sprinkle  of caribe chile flakes.  Encircle each enchilada with Romaine lettuce first, then red leaf and place tomato wedges facing the same direction equally spaced around the enchilada. .

Variation for Rolled Enchiladas:  Dip the lightly fried 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 350F 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.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Roasting Green Chiles

Green chiles are a passion, almost an obsession with New Mexicans
And almost anyone who has ever tried them

New Mexico has been home to the green chiles for eons and eons. In fact, green chiles have been so popular for so long, every man, woman and child on average eats over a bushel per person per year, resulting in almost no excess for export.

Green chiles are the unripe form of red chiles. All chiles tattle tale their spiciness or heat by their configuration or appearance. The three indexes to heat are-

                Narrow shoulders
                Pointed tip
                Darker color for its type

The reverse is true for milder chiles —
                Broad shoulders
                Blunt tip
                Lighter color

These guidelines are important to know, because any one chile plant can have up to 15 different piquancies or levels of spice at any one time. If you definitely like chiles hotter or milder, knowing how to select the chiles of your choice becomes much easier.

Green chiles are highly perishable, so should be refrigerated, once picked.  They have the freshest flavor and texture if roasted within a few days. 

The best method for roasting chiles is to—

1. Wash them, removing all soil,
2. Prick the chiles with a sharp knife, making a slit about a half inch long lengthwise just below the stem.
3. Place the chiles on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil if roasting in the kitchen under the broiler.  If roasting over a hot, direct fire on an outdoor grill, the chiles can be placed directly on the grate.  Either way you select to roast—leave under or on the heat source until the first side of each chile becomes darkly blistered.  Then rotate each and repeat, at least 3 times. DO NOT CONTINUE TO TURN THEM AS THEY WILL NOT PROPERLY ROAST OR PARCH—THEY WILL BE STEAMED.
4. When uniformly blistered, place the chiles in ice water to stop the cooking and maintain a crisp texture.  Just for the record, the chiles will also retain a much brighter color and more nutrition than if you just let them cool at room temperature.  When the chiles are cool to the touch, remove them from the ice water and drain.   
5. If freezing, place the drained whole chiles (unpeeled) on cookie sheets and freeze.  When solid, place in heavy weight freezer bags that you have labeled and dated.  Now, you can use just one or many chiles by placing them under warm water for a few minutes and the skin pulls right off.