How to Use New Mexico Chile: From Breakfast to Midnight Snacks

1/10/20242 min read

When it comes to New Mexico cuisine, one ingredient stands out above the rest - chile. In New Mexico, we use our chile for almost every meal, from breakfast to a midnight snack. The versatility of New Mexico chile allows it to be used in various ways, adding a unique and flavorful kick to any dish. Whether you prefer the heat of a red chile or the tangy taste of a green chile, there are countless ways to incorporate this beloved ingredient into your cooking.

Roasting and Storing Chile

One of the most popular ways to prepare New Mexico chile is by roasting it. People buy different heat levels of chile based on their spice preference, then roast them and stick them in freezer bags to use throughout the rest of the year. Roasting chile brings out its natural flavors and adds a smoky element to the taste.

Another way of storing roasted chile is to dry it, whether by the sun or using a dehydrator. This process turns the chile into what is known as "chile pasado." Dried chile is a great addition to green chile sauces and stews, adding depth and richness to the dish. It can also be ground into a powder and used as a spice to enhance the flavor of various recipes.

Green Chile Sauce

Many people in New Mexico enjoy making green chile sauce, a staple in our cuisine. The process starts with roasting the chile, then chopping it up and combining it with other ingredients such as garlic, onions, and tomatoes. The mixture is then simmered until the flavors meld together, creating a delicious and versatile sauce.

Green chile sauce can be used in a variety of ways. It can be poured over enchiladas, smothered on burritos, or used as a base for soups and stews. The possibilities are endless, and the spicy kick of the chile adds a unique flavor to any dish.

Simple Chile Toppings

If you're looking for a quick and easy way to incorporate New Mexico chile into your meals, simply chopping roasted chile and using it as a topping works great too! Sprinkle it on tacos, burgers, or even scrambled eggs for an extra burst of flavor. The heat of the chile can be adjusted based on your preference, making it a versatile addition to any dish.

Using Dried Red Chile Pods

Dried red chile pods are another popular form of New Mexico chile. To use them, start by destemming and deseeding the pods. This can be done by gently pulling off the stem and shaking out the seeds. Once the pods are prepared, they can be boiled until soft and then blended into a smooth sauce.

Red chile sauce is commonly used in New Mexican dishes such as enchiladas and tamales. Its rich, earthy flavor adds depth to the dish and complements the other ingredients. The sauce can also be used as a marinade for meats or as a base for chili con carne.

Experiment and Enjoy!

The key to using New Mexico chile is to experiment and find what works best for you. Whether you prefer the heat of a green chile or the smoky flavor of a dried red chile, there are endless possibilities for incorporating this beloved ingredient into your cooking. Don't be afraid to get creative and try new recipes - you might just discover a new favorite dish!

So, next time you're in New Mexico or have access to New Mexico chile, give it a try. From breakfast to a midnight snack, this versatile ingredient will add a delicious kick to your meals and leave you wanting more.