New Mexico Magazine’s A Taste of New Mexico Kitchens by Anonymous


New Mexico Kitchens





New Mexican cooking is unique to New Mexico. Stacked enchiladas topped with an egg and smothered in pungent red sauce, tender sopaipillas, rich and meaty posole stew, green chile, and blue corn tortillas. These dishes have been mainstays of New Mexicans for generations, some remaining classics and some having changed with time, but all retaining their original essence.

In New Mexico Magazine’s The Best from New Mexico Kitchens, we give you a big helping of good New Mexico cooking from Indian-Spanish basics to haute cuisine. In our second cookbook, More of the Best from New Mexico Kitchens, we offer variations on classic New Mexico dishes, forgotten favorites of the pioneers, and familiar recipes with new twists. They range from the supremely simple to more sophisticated versions. We have specialties from restaurants big and small—places you may have visited yourself—and from good cooks all over the state.

As a special premium for new subscribers to New Mexico Magazine, we have put together A Taste of New Mexico Kitchens, a small sampling of favorite New Mexican recipes from both cookbooks. We want to share these recipes with you—the subscribers of New Mexico Magazine—with our compliments.

One would think that a boiled bean is a boiled bean. But it’s not that simple, of course. Each cook thinks his or her way is the best—and only—method.

Those who advocate the overnight soak will do it this way: Take 2 cups of dry pinto beans, pick them over, and wash them. Cover with cold water and soak overnight. Drain and rinse well. Put in a large pot with about 8 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of lard. Bring to a boil and simmer gently, covered, for about 1½ hours, then test for tenderness. Stir in 2 teaspoons of salt. Depending on how long the beans were soaked and how high your altitude is (the temperature at which things boil goes down as altitude goes up), you may have to cook the beans for up to another hour, adding more water if needed. Serve beans, broth and all, in bowls. Top with red or green chile salsa.

Most people do it this way: Pick over the 2 cups of dry pinto beans and wash them. Put beans, 8 cups of water, and 2 tablespoons of lard in a big pot. Some folks like to add 2 cloves of garlic. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 2 hours, 2½ if you are at a high altitude. Stir in 2 teaspoons of salt. (If you add salt too early in the cooking, your beans will be too tough.) Continue cooking, adding water as necessary, until beans are tender. Serve as above.

Another way to cook your pinto beans is in the pressure cooker. Pick over 2 cups of dry pinto beans and wash them. Put beans, 8 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of lard into a large pressure cooker. Bring to a boil and boil gently for 10 minutes without the lid on. Remove from heat, cover, and let the beans stand for about 2 hours, or until an hour before you intend to eat. Add 2 teaspoons salt, cover and bring the pressure up to 15 pounds. Cook for 10 minutes (15 or more at high altitudes). Allow pressure to drop normally. Serve as above, and think of the energy you’ve saved.

This is the basic bean recipe.

3 cups pinto beans

4 quarts water

1 clove garlic

1 cup diced salt pork


Wash beans well, cover with water and soak overnight. Drain. Put beans, water, garlic and salt pork—but not salt—in a large heavy kettle. Cover tightly, bring to a boil, and simmer for about 1½ hours or until the beans are tender but not mushy. Add boiling water during the cooking if necessary and stir occasionally. When the beans are done, remove lid, turn up heat and cook until all liquid has been absorbed. Add salt to taste.

Many people think that beans are at their best on the second day, when they are served as refried beans. Philomena, who has a well-known restaurant of the same name in Los Alamos, recommends this classic method. To 2 tablespoons bacon drippings add 2 cups day-old cooked pinto beans. Use a potato masher for mashing and stirring beans as they fry. When beans are thoroughly hot, add 4 cup grated cheddar or jack cheese. Continue stirring until cheese has melted. Serve hot. Some New Mexicans also like to fry a small minced onion in the fat before adding the beans. Whatever method you use the resulting dish is delicious.

12 blue corn tortillas

⅓ cup vegetable oil

3-4 cups red chile sauce (see page 17)

3 cups grated longhorn cheese

2 small onions, minced

4 eggs (optional)

Fry tortillas in oil until soft and drain on paper towels. Heat chile sauce. Layer tortillas on serving plates, topping each with grated cheese and minced onions and sauce. Stack 3 per serving plate and top with cheese and sauce. Put plates in oven to allow cheese to melt. Meanwhile, fry eggs in remaining oil. Top each enchilada stack with a fried egg. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

6 blue corn tortillas

2 tablespoons oil

1 clove garlic

2 cups green chile sauce

1 tablespoon flour

2 cups grated longhorn or jack cheese

¼ cup minced onion

Salt to taste

Heat the tortillas on a hot griddle and keep warm under a tea towel. Heat the garlic in the oil, then discard garlic. Blend flour into oil. Stir in green chile sauce (see page 15 for recipe) and heat thoroughly. If mixture is too thick, add water. Add salt to taste. Layer tortillas with sauce, minced onion and cheese on ovenproof plates. Sprinkle cheese on top. Place in oven to allow cheese to melt. Serves 2. For a real New Mexico touch, place a poached or fried egg on top. The egg has the quality of melding all the flavors.

12 corn tortillas

4 cups green chile sauce

3 cups minced cooked chicken

1 pound jack cheese, grated

¼ cup minced onion (optional)

Salt to taste

1 pint sour cream

Heat tortillas on a hot griddle and keep warm under a tea towel. Or heat the tortillas in oil and drain well on paper towels. Mix one cup of the chile sauce (see page 15 for recipe) with the chicken. Put ¼ cup of the chicken mixture on each tortilla and roll it up. Place in an oblong baking dish. Cover the enchiladas with the grated cheese. Add the onion, if desired, and salt to taste to the remaining chile sauce and pour over the enchiladas. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes. Smother with sour cream and return to oven for 10 minutes, or until everything is hot. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

Posole is whole hominy, and in New Mexico it is cooked with pork into a thick stew. The first time you taste it, you may be unimpressed. The second time, well, you think that perhaps another helping would go down well. The third time—you’re hooked. Like the rest of us, you won’t think that Christmas Eve or a feast day of any kind is complete without a big bowl of steaming posole. Richard C. Sandoval, who grew up in Nambé, prepares his holiday posole this way. Richard uses frozen posole, but if you can’t find that, perhaps you can find dried posole. Failing that, you might make do with canned hominy, which, of course, won’t need to cook as long as the other varieties. But, as Richard points out, it won’t taste as good, either!

2 pounds frozen posole

2 pounds pork roast, cut up

dash of oregano

3-4 dry red chile pods, broken up

salt to taste

Rinse posole well. Put posole, oregano, and chile pods in a large pot. 7Add cold water to about 2 inches above the corn. Heat to a boil and cook for 20 minutes. Add the meat, reduce heat, and simmer for about 3 hours, until meat is cooked and kernels are soft but not mushy. (You might need less time at lower altitudes than Santa Fe’s.) Stir frequently and add water as needed. Salt to taste at end. Serve in bowls and pass the chile sauce. Or use as an accompaniment to a dinner of enchiladas, tamales, frijoles, and chiles rellenos.

1 pound lean pork shoulder

2 pounds frozen posole (hominy)

Juice of one lime

2 tablespoons coarse red chile

3 cloves garlic

¼ teaspoon dried oregano

3 tablespoons salt

Cook the pork in a pressure cooker, with water to cover, for 20 minutes. Reduce pressure under cold water. Open pot and add posole, lime juice and chile. Add water—about twice as much as the amount of posole. Cook for 45 minutes under pressure. Reduce pressure under cold water. Remove the pork and cut up. Put posole, pork, garlic, oregano and salt in a large, heavy covered pot and simmer for 1 to 3 hours, or until hominy kernels have burst and are soft but not mushy. Serve alone or as a side dish. Freezes well. Note: These times are set for Santa Fe’s high altitude. At lower altitudes, where the boiling point is higher, you may wish to try shorter cooking times at first.

Everyone has his own special recipe for posole. This is the way Willie and June Ortiz prepare it at La Tertulia in Santa Fe—and good it is.

2 cups frozen white posole (hominy)

1 quart water

1 pound pork shoulder or chops

⅛ teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

⅓ cup chopped onion

4 dried red chile peppers, crumbled


Mix all ingredients in a large, heavy pot. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for about 2½ hours or until the kernels are soft but not mushy. Salt to taste. Serves 4.

Della’s Spanish Dining Room in Farmington is one of the most popular restaurants in northwestern New Mexico. But Della Chávez throws up her hands in dismay and laughs at the idea of writing down her recipes. One must watch to see how it is done, she says. This is how she prepares her tacos.

Take ground chuck and brown it in the frying pan, draining off excess fat. One pound of meat will probably fill six tortillas. Season the meat with salsa—made with chopped peeled tomatoes, garlic, salt, chopped onions, chopped red chiles. (The quantities, Della implies, will depend on one’s own taste.)

When the meat is ready, warm tortillas on a grill. Place in a bowl and cover with a towel. They’ll steam themselves soft. Fold the tortillas in half and stuff with meat. Pin with wooden toothpicks.

Fry the tacos in very hot deep fat (perhaps 375-400 degrees F) for just a minute. Turn over, then remove and drain. Remove toothpicks and stuff with grated longhorn cheese (perhaps a half pound for 6 tacos), shredded lettuce and finely chopped tomatoes, in that order. Serve.

Chicos are sweet corn kernels that have been dried and saved for winter. This dish is popular in the Spanish-speaking villages of northern New Mexico.

2 cups chicos

10 cups water

2 pounds pork

1 onion, minced

1 clove garlic

½ teaspoon oregano

4 chile pods

2 teaspoons salt

Wash chicos and soak overnight. Drain and cover with 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about an hour. Meanwhile, cut pork in 1-inch cubes and fry until brown. Drain fat. Stir in a cup or 2 of water (to gather up the flavorful bits at the bottom of the pan). Pour meat, garlic, oregano, washed and crushed chile pods, salt to taste and remaining water in with chicos. Cover and simmer for 2½ hours or until chicos are tender. (Or use the pressure cooker and cook for about 1 hour.) Serve in soup bowls. Serves 6.

If you have access to wild spinach, that’s really what you should use in this recipe. But most people make do with the “tame” kind.

½ pound fresh spinach

or 1 10-ounce package frozen spinach

1 tablespoon shortening

3 tablespoons chopped onion

¼ teaspoon crushed red chile

Salt to taste

Wash spinach well, chop and steam about 10 minutes or until tender. Saute the onion in shortening, mix in drained spinach, chile and salt, and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Serves 2 to 3.

In Española’s El Paragua, Luis and Frances Atencio make chalupas this way.

1 corn tortilla

Vegetable oil

¼ cup refried beans

Shredded chicken

¼ cup grated longhorn cheese

¼ cup guacamole

Shredded lettuce

¼ tomato

2 tablespoons sour cream

Black olives

Onion rings


Fry the tortilla and place on an ovenproof plate. Spread with refried beans, then chicken, then cheese. Slide under broiler to melt cheese. Quickly cover with guacamole (mashed seasoned ripe avocado), lettuce, tomato cut in bits, and sour cream. Decorate with black olives and Bermuda or Spanish onion rings. Dust cream with paprika. Serve immediately. Serves 1.

This traditional Spanish recipe is one that Scottie King has adapted and serves often to her delighted guests. As Scottie points out, the dish can be prepared ahead of time, as it improves with standing. This amount serves 4, but the recipe can easily be doubled.

1 chicken or fowl, cut up as for frying

3 cups boiling water

1 large onion, chopped

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup raw rice, washed

¼ cup olive oil

1½ teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon pepper

2 sprigs parsley, minced

1 bay leaf

½ teaspoon saffron

2-4 canned pimientos, chopped

oregano, basil, thyme (optional)

Put chicken in a large pot with boiling water and ½ teaspoon of the salt. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes (40-50 if it’s a fowl). Meanwhile, mix onions, garlic, and rice. Heat olive oil in a large heavy skillet, add rice mixture, and stir until oil is well mixed in. Cover and fry VERY gently for 10 minutes. Stir frequently and take great care mixture does not brown. Add remaining salt, paprika, pepper, parsley, bay leaf, and saffron to chicken pot. Add such optional seasonings as you like, correct salt if need be, then spread rice mixture over the top of chicken. Cover and simmer gently until rice is soft and chicken is tender when pierced with a fork—from 40 to 60 minutes. Add the pimientos just before serving. Serves 4.

This is one of the most popular vegetable dishes in New Mexico and deserves to be better known in the rest of the country. It’s delicious!

2 tablespoons oil or lard

1 clove garlic

1 medium onion

4 medium large zucchini

1 12-ounce can niblet corn, drained

1 4-ounce can diced green chiles

or 2 fresh peeled chiles

Salt to taste

½ cup grated cheddar, jack or longhorn cheese

In a large heavy skillet, saute the onion, garlic and zucchini in oil. Discard the garlic. Mix in drained corn, chopped chiles and salt. Cover tightly and heat through. Mix in cheese and serve. Serves 4.

Everyone has a special way of preparing huevos rancheros. This suggestion comes from New Mexico State University.

2 cups green or red chile sauce

4 eggs

½ cup grated cheese

Heat chile sauce in shallow frying pan. When hot, slip eggs into sauce from small dish or saucer, being careful not to break yolks. Cover and simmer over very low heat until eggs are poached to desired firmness. Serve on warm plates with remaining sauce poured over eggs. Sprinkle with cheese. Serves 2. Use canned sauce or your own mixture. For recipes, see pages 15 and 17.

From Angie M. García comes another of her specialties—the beloved burrito.

4 cups cooked pinto beans

2 teaspoons bacon fat or vegetable shortening

Garlic salt to taste

12 flour tortillas ⅛ to ¼ inch thick

1 cup grated jack or longhorn cheese

½ cup minced onion

Red chile sauce (see page 17)

Mash beans and season with garlic salt to taste. Fry in bacon fat. Heat tortillas on ungreased griddle and cover with towel to keep warm. Spoon hot bean mixture down the center of each tortilla, roll, and place 2 on each serving plate. Pour heated red chile sauce over burritos and top with cheese and onions. Serves 6.

A delectable and cooling “liquid salad” from Spain—with a special New Mexico touch.

2 pounds tomatoes, peeled

or 2 14½-ounce cans stewed tomatoes

1 cucumber

½ green pepper

1 large onion

1 clove garlic

¼ cup olive oil

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 cup tomato juice

Salt to taste

1 4-ounce can diced green chile

Ice cubes

Dice half the tomatoes, being careful not to lose any of the juice, half the cucumber, half the onion, half the pepper. Set aside in a large bowl or pitcher. Put the remaining tomatoes, cucumber, pepper and onion into a blender, along with the garlic, olive oil, vinegar, tomato juice, salt to taste and green chile. Blend for a few seconds. Pour into container with chopped vegetables. Mix well, cover and chill thoroughly. Serve with 2 or 3 ice cubes in each bowl. Sprinkle with garlic croutons or serve with hot garlic bread. Serves 6 to 8.

This particular version is the specialty of a young Gallup girl who adapted it from an aunt’s recipe.

1½ cups leftover meat, chopped

1 cup leftover gravy

1 cup red chile sauce

1 small onion, chopped

1 can niblet corn, drained

salt and pepper to taste

garlic powder (optional)

3 cups water or stock

¾ cup yellow cornmeal

salt to taste

Heat meat with gravy, chile sauce, onion, and corn and season to taste. Meanwhile boil stock or water and stir in cornmeal. Cook, stirring over low heat until mush is thick. Turn meat mixture into casserole and top with spoonfuls of cornmeal mush evenly distributed over surface. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 40 minutes.

Not really a “pie,” this is more like a quiche without a crust. Delectable as a main dish for lunch, it could also make a light supper. And how about doubling the recipe, making it in a rectangular baking dish, and cutting in small squares to serve at a party?

4-6 whole green chiles

1 cup grated jack or longhorn cheese

4 eggs

1 cup scalded half-and-half

or 1 cup evaporated milk

½ teaspoon garlic salt

Line a buttered 8- or 9-inch pie pan with chiles (fresh, canned or frozen). Sprinkle with the cheese. Beat eggs and combine with half-and-half and garlic salt. Pour over cheese. Bake at 325 degrees F for about 40 minutes or until the custard has set. Cut in wedges and serve. Serves 4.

Select plump fresh New Mexico-grown chile pods, either green or red. The variety of the chile will determine how hot it is. (See “Chile—New Mexico’s Fiery Soul” and the Nakayama Scale in The Best from New Mexico Kitchens.) New Mexico #6 and Anaheim are two of the mildest varieties, and Numex Big Jim rates #3 on a scale of 10. (The sizzling jalapeño is only #7!)

Slit pods lengthwise and remove seeds and veins, which make chiles far too hot for most palates. Place pods on a foil-lined cookie sheet under broiler. Or place pods on outdoor grill. Roast pods, turning frequently so they don’t burn. When chile skins are blistered and loose, remove from fire (tongs would be handy for this) and cover with damp towels until cool. Peel skins from stem downward. Chiles are then ready to use or to freeze for the future. If you want to save your own skin from being blistered by the chiles, you had better wear thin rubber gloves while you work.

¼ cup salad or olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

½ cup minced onion (optional)

1 tablespoon flour

1 cup water

1 cup chopped green chile

salt to taste

Saute garlic and onion in oil in heavy saucepan. Blend in flour with wooden spoon. Add water and green chile and mix well. Add salt. Bring to a boil and simmer, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.

The Owl Bar & Cafe in San Antonio, south of Socorro, has become world renowned—literally!—for its huge, juicy hamburgers. (It’s been featured in New Mexico Magazine, TWA’s Ambassador Magazine and the Washington Post.) But the cafe is also known for its atmosphere and its green chile. The secret, says Rowena Baca, the owner, is in 16the simmering.

3½ pounds hot green chile

1½ pounds hamburger meat

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 quarts water

salt to taste

Roast, peel, and dice green chile. In a heavy skillet, brown the meat and drain excess fat. In large heavy saucepan, cover chile and garlic with water and bring to boiling point. Mix in the meat and simmer, tightly covered, for at least 3 hours. Add salt to taste.

Rosella Frederick of Cochití is known for her good cooking. One of her specialties is her green chile stew. For feast days, she usually makes enormous pots of stew outside over an open fire in order not to heat up her spotless kitchen. She has cut down her recipe to family size for us.

2 pounds lean chuck

Lard or cooking oil

½ medium onion, chopped

4 medium potatoes (optional)

4 medium zucchini (optional)

12 large green chiles, roasted, peeled and cut in pieces

or 1 7-ounce container frozen chopped green chile

or 2 4-ounce cans chopped green chile

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1 teaspoon salt

6-7 cups water

Cut the meat up into very small pieces—about 2-inch cubes—and brown in a little oil in a large, deep heavy pan. Add the onions. Peel and dice the potatoes and brown them with the meat. (Rosella does not flour the meat because it makes the stew too thick for her family’s taste.) When the meat and onion and potatoes (if used) have been browned, drain off any excess fat. Add the zucchini, if used, the chiles, garlic salt, salt and water. Bring to a boil and simmer for at least a half hour. Ladle into bowls and serve with homemade bread. The stew should be eaten with a spoon, like a hearty soup. Serves 6.

This is Mark Nohl’s traditional recipe made from whole dry red chile pods, the kind that hang on every door-side ristra in New Mexico or are bought in big plastic bags at supermarkets and roadside stands.

Wash and remove seeds, stems, and white veins (the more seeds and veins you leave in, the hotter the sauce will be). Place pods in a large kettle and cover with boiling water. Cook the pods until they become plump and tender. Remove pods and run them through your blender or processor (in the old days they used a food mill or fruit press). Strain the mixture to remove pieces of skin and stray seeds. Add some of the water you used to cook the pods in order to get the consistency of tomato paste. To this add 3 tablespoons fat, several cloves of minced garlic, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring sauce to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about 45 minutes. This is your basic red chile sauce and is the smoothest you can make. To this you can add pinto beans, meat, onions, or tomatoes to construct your favorite New Mexico recipes, or use as is to go over burritos or enchilada plates.

3 tablespoons olive oil or lard

1 clove garlic, minced

½ cup New Mexico chile powder

2 tablespoons flour

2 cups water

salt to taste

Saute the garlic in oil. Blend in flour and chile powder quickly with a wooden spoon. (Be careful not to burn the chile.) Blend in water and cook to desired consistency, adding more water as desired. If you have stock instead of water, so much the better. Add salt to taste.

2 tomatoes, medium size

1 Bermuda onion, medium size

1 clove garlic

½ teaspoon salt

2 or more green chiles

Use fresh chiles (roasted, peeled and seeded) or frozen or canned chiles. Chop the chiles, tomatoes and onion very fine. (Don’t lose the juice of the tomatoes!) Mash the garlic with the salt. Mix well. Add more chiles to suit your taste. Allow flavors to blend at least an hour before using. Store in refrigerator or freezer. Use on tacos, eggs or hamburgers or as a dip for tostados. Makes about 1 pint.

This recipe comes from Santa Clara Pueblo from the Joseph Lonewolf family.

10 pounds stew beef

2 gallons water

2 tablespoons salt

5 pounds potatoes

2 cups red chile powder

½ cup blue cornmeal

Cut meat in 1-inch cubes. Cover with water and bring to a boil in a large kettle. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, covered, for about 4 hours. Meanwhile, peel and cube potatoes. Add potatoes and salt and cook for 1½ hours. Measure red chile powder and cornmeal into bowl with enough cold water to make a paste. Stir slowly into stew. Mix in well, to thicken broth. Simmer for a half hour, then keep warm. Theresa Lonewolf figures on serving about 75 people on a feast day, but of course not everyone eats a lot of any one dish. If this were the main dish at a picnic or supper, it might serve 25 to 35 persons.

This happy marriage of green chile to a souffle was engineered by Edna Turner of Santa Fe.

5 egg whites

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

1 cup hot milk

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon dry mustard

Dash cayenne

¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

4 egg yolks

Pinch salt

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

¼ to ½ cup chopped green chile

Place egg whites in a 4-quart bowl and let stand at room temperature 1 hour. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter 1½-quart souffle dish generously. Sprinkle bottom and sides evenly with Parmesan cheese. Melt 3 tablespoons butter over low heat in heavy saucepan. Add flour and stir with wire whisk. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until mixture foams and bubbles. Remove from heat, add milk, and beat until smooth. Beat in salt, mustard, cayenne and Worcestershire. Return to heat and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly, until mixture is quite thick. Remove from heat and add egg yolks 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Pour this mixture into a large bowl. Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form. Add 1 large spoonful to the egg yolk mixture and blend. Add all but 1 tablespoon of the cheese and the chopped chiles (frozen, fresh or canned) to the egg yolk mixture and blend well. Spoon remaining egg whites on top and fold in with a rubber spatula. Pour into souffle dish and smooth with spatula. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Run a silver knife in a circle about 1 inch from the edge of dish. (This will enable the crown or “hat” to form when done.) Place in center of oven and reduce to 375 degrees F. Bake 34-40 minutes, or until knife inserted in the side comes out clean. Serve immediately.

Cut fresh or canned corn tortillas into triangles and deep fry in oil at 380 degrees F until they are crisp. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt. These are the original “corn chips.” Use with dips, soups or beverages.

Prepare tortillas as above. While they are still hot, sprinkle with onion or garlic salt and chile powder. Or—sprinkle the chips with grated longhorn cheese, chile powder and garlic salt, then heat in the oven until the cheese melts. Or spread each chip with a bit of mashed beans, season with red chile powder or a bit of fresh chopped green chile, sprinkle liberally with grated longhorn cheese, add a touch of garlic salt and broil until cheese melts.

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 medium onion, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon flour

1 13-ounce can evaporated milk

1 pound longhorn cheese, grated

Salt to taste

½-1 cup chopped green chile

Saute minced onion and garlic in butter in large heavy saucepan. Blend in flour with wooden spoon. Add milk and cheese. Stir constantly until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth and thick. If mixture seems too thick to use as a dip, blend in a little water. Mix in the chopped green chile (fresh, frozen or canned) to suit your taste. Serve in a chafing dish with tostados, corn chips or raw vegetable sticks to dip in the mixture.

6-8 ripe avocados

¼ cup finely chopped onion

1 large tomato, diced

½ cup chopped green chile

2-3 minced jalapeño peppers

1 clove garlic, minced

Dash of cumin powder

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Salt to taste

Peel and pit avocados. Mash coarsely with a fork, leaving bits of whole avocado. Stir in remaining ingredients. Serve on lettuce or as a dip with tostados.

1 large ripe avocado

1 medium tomato

1 small onion

1 small bell pepper

3 long green chiles

Juice of ½ lemon

Salt to taste

Chop all the ingredients fine. Do not mash. Use fresh roasted and peeled chiles, but, if they are not available, use canned or frozen. Mix together with the lemon juice and add salt to taste. Serve as a dip or as a salad with lettuce and corn chips.

This old favorite has a number of variations. We like this one.

2 cups refried beans

1 cup sour cream

¼ cup taco sauce

Mash beans well or run through blender. Mix in sour cream and taco sauce. Serve with corn chips or vegetable sticks. No taco sauce? Try chopped green chile. Or enchilada sauce. Or chile powder to taste. Or a minced jalapeño.

Maggie Gamboa of Las Cruces is a famous cook in southern New Mexico. Not only does she cater for parties, but she teaches cooking—including a chile gourmet class.

1 medium tomato

1 tablespoon minced onion

4 cups chicken broth

½ cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 large ripe avocados

¼ cup dry sherry

salt and pepper to taste

1 banana (optional)

Peel, seed, and chop the tomato. Place first 5 ingredients in blender or processor and blend well. Heat this mixture in a saucepan and simmer for a few minutes. Peel and mash avocados and stir into soup. Add sherry, salt and pepper to taste, and heat well, but do not allow to boil. Serve hot or cold. Decorate each bowl with two or three thin slices of banana for an extra touch of flavor. Serves 6.

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking powder (optional)

4 tablespoons lard

½-¾ cup lukewarm water

Mix dry ingredients, then work in lard until mixture is crumbly. Stir in the half cup of water, adding more if needed. Knead dough on a lightly floured board, then make into small balls, about the size of an egg. Let these stand covered by a tea towel for about 15 minutes. Then roll out to the size of a salad or luncheon plate. Bake on a hot, ungreased griddle for 2 minutes. Turn and bake for 1 minute on the other side. They should have a brown-freckled surface. Use immediately, or keep warm until serving by placing between the folds of a clean tea towel. If necessary, they may be refrigerated in plastic bags and reheated—but they’re better when they’re fresh.

Angie M. García recommends this as a quick and easy method of making flour tortillas.

1 tube refrigerator biscuits


Use plain or buttermilk biscuits. On a floured surface, pat out each biscuit to desired thickness—⅛ to ¼ inch. Place each tortilla on a hot griddle (475 to 500 degrees F) and cook for about 2 minutes. Turn and cook on the other side until done. Makes 10.

Although they are kin to fry bread and cousin to buñelos, New Mexico’s sopaipillas are unique. There’s nothing in the world quite like these light crispy bread puffs.

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons lard

½ cup water

Shortening for frying

Sift dry ingredients together. Work in lard and lukewarm water to make a soft dough. Chill in refrigerator. Roll out dough on a floured surface to about ¼-inch thickness. Cut into 3-inch squares. Deep fry in hot lard (or vegetable shortening) at 400 degrees F a few at a time. Brown on each side and drain on paper towels. Serve piping hot. To eat, poke open and pour in honey or slather with honey butter.

Cream 1 cup butter or margarine. Gradually beat in ½ cup to 1 cup of honey. (If your honey has begun to crystalize, you can use the larger amount.) Cover and store in refrigerator. Serve with sopaipillas. Good also on hot biscuits or toast.

Here’s a surprising raised dough ring that will make chile lovers wake up and sing. Glenna Rose Autrey of Santa Fe dreamed it up.

1 package dry yeast

¼ cup warm water

4½ cups flour

½ cup melted butter

1 cup warm milk

¼ cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1½ cups finely chopped onion

½ cup melted butter

3 tablespoons red chile powder

or ½ cup chopped green chile

Dissolve yeast in water. Mix in 2 cups of the flour, butter, milk, sugar, salt, and egg. Beat for 2 minutes. Add enough flour to make a stiff dough. Turn onto a floured board and knead until smooth. Put in a greased bowl, turn over, and cover with a clean cloth. Put bowl in a warm place with no drafts and let dough rise until doubled—about 1 hour.

Combine remaining ingredients for filling. Punch dough down and roll into a 20×8 inch rectangle. Cut into four 20×2 inch strips. Spread filling on each strip and fold over lengthwise. Twist 2 strips together, then twist double strips together and form in a circle on greased cookie sheet. Cover with clean cloth and let rise until doubled. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with chile powder. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes.

3 cups flour

1½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1⅓ cups warm water


Use either all white or half whole wheat flour. Mix flour, baking powder and salt. Add warm water and mix. Dough should be soft but not sticky. Knead until smooth. Tear off a chunk about the size of a peach. Pat and stretch until it is thin. Poke a hole through the middle, and drop into sizzling hot deep fat. (Lard is the traditional shortening, but you might prefer to use vegetable oil.) Brown on both sides. Drain and serve hot. Eat with honey or jam.

From the northern part of the Navajo Reservation comes this unusual recipe. Obviously the recipe is not for the average American kitchen. But it shows the remarkable ingenuity of people who must use the ingredients available far from supermarkets.

1 cup cedar ashes

1 cup hot water

1 pound blue cornmeal

1 quart water

The cedar ashes (really from juniper wood, locally called cedar) should be smooth and fine. Sieve if possible. Mix the ashes with hot water and remove any twigs or other bits of rough material. Add to blue cornmeal. Pour in water gradually, adding only enough to make a soft dough. Form into cakes about a half inch thick. Smooth the surface of the cakes with water. Cook on a medium hot grill on each side until the cakes are done. Use like bread.

Alicia Romero contributed this delicious holiday bread recipe to New Mexico Magazine many years ago.

1 envelope yeast

½ cup warm water

1 teaspoon sugar

4 cups flour

1 cup butter or margarine

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar

6 eggs, beaten

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon anise seeds

Dissolve the yeast in warm water. Mix in 1 teaspoon sugar and just enough flour to make a soft ball. Cover and place in a warm place to rise for at least an hour. Add the remaining flour, melted butter, salt, sugar, eggs, milk and anise seeds and mix and knead until smooth and velvety. Cover and let rise to double its original bulk. Punch down and knead slightly. Pull off small pieces, mold into balls and place in a greased tube pan. Cover and set in warm place and let rise until double 27in size. Bake at 350 degrees F until it is brown and shining. Rub the surface with melted butter.

Rich and delectable, these mincemeat turnovers mean Christmas to many a New Mexico boy and girl. This is Martha Montoya’s traditional recipe.

2 beef tongues

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon allspice

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 cup raisins

1 cup roasted shelled piñon nuts

2 tablespoons blackberry brandy

Cover well-washed tongues with water in a large kettle and simmer until tender—about 1 hour. Cool and peel. Retain 1 cup of the tongue broth. Grind meat in a grinder and place in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix well with hands, using tongue broth to moisten. Let mixture stand while you prepare pastry.

5 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons sugar

¾ cup shortening (part lard)

½ cup evaporated milk

½ cup water

Sift flour into a large bowl and add salt and sugar. Cut in shortening. Mix in milk and water to form a soft dough. Knead dough with hands for about 3 minutes. Form dough into balls about 1½ inches in diameter. Roll out on floured board. Place 1 teaspoon filling on half circle of dough, folding over other half circle to enclose. Pinch edges of dough together to prevent filling from leaking. Deep fry empanaditas a few at a time in moderately hot oil (350 degrees F) until golden brown, turning once. Drain on paper towels. Makes about 4½ dozen empanaditas.

Empanaditas taste best when eaten warm. They may be placed on a cookie sheet and reheated in a 300-degree F oven.

And here it is, that famous French Apple Pie. Rosalea of the Pink Adobe says she has no idea how many she’s made over the years. “Thousands, hundreds of thousands, maybe millions.” Forget about calories when you eat this concoction.

2 cups flour

¾ cup lard

1 teaspoon salt

cold water

1 pound apples

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons lemon juice

¼ cup seedless raisins

½ cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons flour

½ cup (¼ pound) butter

½ cup chopped pecans

¼ cup milk

Work flour, lard, and salt together until crumbly. Add 6 or 7 tablespoons cold water until dough holds together. Form into 2 balls. Roll out to line and top a 9-inch pie pan. Filling: Wash, peel, core, and slice apples into pie shell. Sprinkle with lemon juice, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Spread with raisins and white sugar. Mix brown sugar, flour, and butter. Spread over contents. Sprinkle with pecans and most of milk. Cover with pastry, prick with fork, and brush with remaining bit of milk. Bake at 450 degrees F for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake for another 30 minutes. Serve hot with Hard Sauce.

½ cup butter

1½ cup confectioners’ or powdered sugar

1 tablespoon boiling water

1 teaspoon brandy or rum

Cream the butter until light. Beat in the sugar and add 1 tablespoon boiling water. Then beat in brandy. Serve with French Apple Pie.

New Mexico State University’s Cooperative Extension Service is a gold mine of recipes. If you can’t eat deep-fried foods, you might want to try their version of baked empanadas.

3 ounces cream cheese

½ cup butter or margarine

1 cup flour

1 cup thick applesauce

Cream butter or margarine with cream cheese until fluffy. Add flour and mix until a smooth ball is formed. Wrap well and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Remove from refrigerator ½ hour before using. Roll out dough on a floured board to ⅛-inch thickness. Cut in approximately 3-inch rounds. Place 1 tablespoon of applesauce on each round. Fold over and seal. Flute edges. Bake at 375 degrees F 15 to 20 minutes. Serve warm with a sprinkle of powdered sugar. May be served with ice cream if desired. (This dough is very tricky and hard to handle.)

This is New Mexico’s traditional cookie.

6 cups flour

¼ teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 pound (2 cups) lard

1½ cups sugar

2 teaspoons anise seeds

2 eggs

¼ cup brandy

¼ cup sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

Sift flour with baking powder and salt. Cream lard with sugar and anise seeds until fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Mix in flour and brandy until well blended. Turn dough out on floured board and pat or roll to ¼- or ½-inch thickness. Cut into shapes. (The fleur-de-lis is traditional.) Dust with mixture of sugar and cinnamon. Bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees F or until browned.

Marian Meyer gave us this marvelous cookie recipe using New Mexico’s favorite nuts.

4 eggs

1½ cups granulated sugar

½ teaspoon grated lemon rind

2½ cups sifted flour

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ cup confectioners’ sugar

1 cup piñon nuts

Put eggs and granulated sugar in the top of a double boiler over hot water. Beat with rotary or electric beater until mixture is lukewarm. Remove from water; beat until foaming and cool. Add lemon rind and fold in flour and salt. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased and floured cookie sheets. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and nuts. Let stand for 10 minutes. Bake in moderately hot oven (375 degrees F) for about 10 minutes. Makes 5 dozen cookies.

3 cups sugar

1 13-ounce can evaporated milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ cup piñon nuts

Melt 1 cup of the sugar in heavy pan, stirring with wooden spoon, until dark brown. Add rest of sugar and stir in milk gradually. Cook to hard ball stage (a drop forms a hard ball in cold water). Remove from burner. Add vanilla. Beat until creamy. Fold in nuts. Pour into buttered 8-inch pan. When firm, cut in squares.

This apple cocktail was created by Arturo Jaramillo, owner of the famous Rancho de Chimayó restaurant. A thoroughly New Mexican drink, it makes good use of Chimayó apples and cider.

1½ ounces tequila

1 ounce homemade New Mexico sweet apple cider

¼ ounce lemon juice

¼ ounce crème de cassis

Shake all ingredients together, chill, and serve with a wedge of New Mexico apple over the rim of the glass. Serves 1.

Rosalie Howland says this is great to sip and is superb as a topping for vanilla ice cream.

1 pound dried apricots

1 pound sugar

1 quart vodka

Mix together in a glass container and store for 6 to 8 weeks in a cool dark place. Shake every other day or so, so flavors meld.

BiscochitoNew Mexico’s traditional cookie.

BurritoA flour tortilla wrapped around a filling of beans, meat, or both with grated cheese and chile sauce on top.


ChicosCooked sweet-corn kernels that have been dried in the sun.

EmpanaditaA deep-fried mincemeat turnover.

EnchiladasA cornmeal tortilla, either blue or yellow corn, wrapped around or layered with meat, chicken, or cheese, and covered with red or green chile sauce.

FrijolesBeans (usually pinto beans).

Frijoles refritosCooked pinto beans that have been refried.


Piñon nutsThe nuts from the cones of the piñon tree.

PosoleWhite corn kernels that have been treated with lime to soften the kernel’s tough outer skin to facilitate cooking; hominy.

QuelitesSpinach, including wild spinach.

SopaipillasA deep-fried bread that puffs up to resemble small pillows.

TacoA corn tortilla that has been deep fried, folded in half to hold meat, cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes.

TamaleThick masa harina paste wrapped around a red chile sauce with pork meat filling enclosed in corn husks and steamed before eating.

Also published by New Mexico Magazine
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More of the Best from New Mexico Kitchens 6.95
Enchanted Trails 7.95
Indian Arts Volume I 3.95
Indian Arts Volume II 3.95
Ghost Towns of New Mexico “Listen to the Wind” 3.95
New Mexico Coloring Book 1.00
New Mexico Magazine—monthly (one year) 15.00

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Transcriber’s Notes
Silently corrected a few typos.
Retained publication information from the printed edition: this eBook is public-domain in the country of publication.
In the text versions only, text in italics is delimited by _underscores_.