Here’s my debut smoked chicken in the pellet smoker. I’ve roasted chicken in the oven or charcoal grill but never like this. The chicken cooks so evenly and gives the skin a crisp texture that tastes so good. I made a spice rub mixed with red chile, spices and lime olive oil to make a paste that I rubbed all over this bird. I also loosened the outer skin around the breast, legs and thighs, then rubbed the paste between the meat and skin. I learned this trick from Chef Paul Prudhomme. Adding the spice rub under the skin absorbs into the meat as it cooks, adding flavor. We made some fajitas with chicken, roasted veggies, salsa and guacamole. I could tell you how much we enjoyed this meal, however I think the pictures will describe the deliciousness better than my words. At least I hope so!
Have you ever had the Kung Pao Chicken at Panda Express? I’ve been searching for the perfect copycat recipe for years and finally found “the one”. It comes from Jamie at Drive Me Hungry. Seriously this recipe is as close as you’re going to get to the Kung Pao Chicken at Panda Express. I would even go so far as to say it’s better. I couldn’t wait to hunt down all the ingredients and get started. Joe has never ordered Kung Pao when we go to Panda because it has zucchini in it. But he ate every bite and said that the sauce even made zucchini taste good. I think I may add some different vegetables next time to get added veggies into our diet. There are a lot of ingredients in the sauce with some that were new to me such as Chinese black vinegar and Lao Gan Ma Spicy Chili Crisp. Every time I try a new Asian dish I learn something new. This version of Kung Pao is a very aromatic dish as well as pleasing to the eye. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
If you’ve ever had a Frito pie, most likely it’s been served in a bag or a bowl of Fritos corn chips smothered in red chile, seasoned ground beef and beans, topped with grated cheese and onion. It’s one of our tastiest guilty pleasures and when the Fritos go on sale it’s time to make Frito pies. I often wondered how it would taste with green chile and decided to give it a try. I went to the freezer for a jar of green chile sauce and found that I had used the last jar and there was none to be found. Not to worry, I always have a backup in the pantry. A jar of 505 Flame Roasted Green Chile is my go to sauce when I don’t have homemade. I used to find in it Kansas and apparently it’s marketed in many Walmart, Sam’s Club and Costco’s around the country so even if you don’t live in NM you may be able to find it in your area. The key to making a green chile Frito pie is to be generous with the green chile and add enough broth to make the texture saucy but not soupy. Pinto beans are traditionally added, however Joe isn’t going to change his ways even for tradition so I only added beans to my pie. We garnished them with lettuce, tomato, onion and grated cheese. I can’t believe I didn’t try this sooner. Green Chile Frito Pie is here to stay, we love it and I hope you will too!
Posted at 10:49 am by NativeNM, on February 25, 2022
I haven’t had an egg salad sandwich in the longest time. I used to make a basic salad with boiled eggs, mayo, green onion, salt and pepper. Recently I came across a recipe online that sounded so good I had to give it a try. I altered the recipe just a bit to fit our taste buds and it turned out better than expected. The creaminess comes from whipped cream cheese mixed with mayonnaise. For years I’ve been adding whipped cream cheese to scrambled eggs and it made sense that it would taste good in egg salad. The grated cheese with roasted red chile provided another layer of flavor which reminded me a bit of my roasted red chile cheese spread, only with boiled eggs. We enjoyed it on toasted potato bread topped with crisp bacon and a side of hash browns. Perfect for a light lunch!
Posted at 8:52 am by NativeNM, on February 18, 2022
I have an admission to make, this is my first time making empanadas. They are traditional here in New Mexico that have evolved over time. Influenced by many cultures over the years you will find savory empanadas stuffed with beef, chicken or pork, sometimes with veggies and spices. And then there are the sweet empanadas filled with pumpkin, sweet potato or fruit like apples, cherries or raisins as well as other fresh or dried fruits. As I researched the history of empanadas, I discovered that there are many meat pies around the world by other names made in the tradition of their region. From our time in Kansas City we had Steak and Guiness pies at Irish Fest. Joe’s home state of Michigan is known for their Pasties. We found Peasant Pies in San Francisco while on vacation one year. Those are just a few of the meat pies that we’ve had a chance to taste, each having their own distinct flavor. I wanted my first homemade empanadas to reflect the taste of New Mexico with ground pork and green chile. They are easy to make ahead and freeze, pulling out a few to warm up and serve alongside a bowl of soup or beans. They are so tasty, I can’t wait to try a sweet version next!
Posted at 9:37 am by NativeNM, on February 11, 2022
If you are looking for the perfect snack for the big game this weekend, look no further that Red and/or Green Chile Chex Mix. Chex mix has always been a family favorite at our house and this year I decided to spice it up by adding some ground red and green chile. I got the idea when I picked up some red and green chile peanuts at our local Sprouts Market. The peanuts were roasted, salted and dusted in red and green chile spices which had a bold and spicy flavor. Using ground red and green chile seemed like the perfect solution to spicing up our traditional chex mix. I made one pan with red chile spices and one pan with green but it would be easy to make a Christmas chex mix by mixing equal parts red and green chile. A big bowl of each would be a crowd pleasing snack while watching the Superbowl this weekend. Enjoy the game!
Posted at 10:08 am by NativeNM, on December 17, 2021
A couple years ago Joe and I drove through Pie Town, NM; you might remember me mentioning it from our travels to the Gila Cliff Dwellings and the Catwalk Recreational Trail. It’s an enchanting little town who’s claim to fame is three pie restaurants with a long history of selling pies since the 1920’s. They are Pi-O-Neer, Pie Town Cafe, and The Gathering Place. On our visit we stopped at the Pie Town Cafe and had a slice of Apple Cranberry Pie and a slice of Pecan Pinon Pie. Talk about WOW, that slice of Pecan Pinon Pie was something I had never tasted before, the filling was similar to the texture of a pecan pie but the taste indicated there was honey or possibly maple syrup along with or in place of corn syrup. That pie has never left my memory and today I finally made the Pinon pie of my dreams. I set out to test the different versions that might taste similar to Pie Town’s pie. I mixed a teaspoon of corn syrup with honey and another teaspoon with maple syrup. I set it in front of Joe and had him taste to find out his thoughts on what tasted best to him and I did the same. We both agreed that the honey combined with corn syrup was the one. From there I decided to give it a little kick by adding some red chile flakes to the filling. After all I’ve already made an Apple Green Chile Pie with Pine Nut Streusel and that turned out amazing. I am happy to say my Honey Pinon Pie tasted way better than I ever imagined. You never know what will inspire you when you travel off the beaten path. Pie Town is one of those places!
Posted at 7:05 am by NativeNM, on November 23, 2021
It’s almost time to celebrate Thanksgiving. There was a time when we enjoyed turkey and dressing with all the trimmings. In those days there were a lot more people gathered around our table but in the last few years it’s been just Joe and I. We’ve been trying new things, mixing a little of the traditional with some new twists. This year we settled on smoking a pork butt with red chile spices and will add some different sides to the table. One of the sides I’ve planned is Green Chile and Cheese Hominy Casserole which would be a welcome dish on any New Mexican table. It can only be described as creamy, savory and spicy. I used a soft fontina cheese along with sour cream to bind the casserole together and then topped it with cheddar cheese and bacon bits. All the ingredients are prepared in a small dutch oven and baked to perfection which makes this dish easy from start to finish. I hope you all have a festive day making new memories around your kitchen table. Happy Thanksgiving!!
Posted at 10:03 am by NativeNM, on August 20, 2021
I’ve only smoked meats a few times and while the outcome has always excelled my expectations, the method of using charcoal was difficult. Using charcoal to smoke is tiresome and difficult to regulate the temperature that you need to maintain over so many hours. After many month’s of debate with myself, I decided to get a pellet smoker. I did a lot of research and weighed the pros and cons before deciding on a Z-Grill. I’ve used it 3 times now and the meat has come out excellent, the cleanup has been fairly easy and has made the overall experience of smoking meats much more enjoyable. Recently my sister Kat gave me a bag of Gourmet Pistachio flavored pellets made here in New Mexico. I couldn’t wait to give it a try and thought smoked carnitas sounded so good using a pork butt roast with a red chile rub. I couldn’t have been more happy with the results. After 11 hours in the smoker, it reached the desired internal temperature of 203 degrees. I left it wrapped and set in a cooler to steam and rest for 2 additional hours. The moment I unwrapped the aluminum foil, the aroma of smoked pork permeated the kitchen. It smelled so good and we couldn’t wait to pick off a little piece to try. It was moist and tender and pulled apart so easily. The bark with all the spices is my favorite part. We set aside enough to make tacos and vacuum sealed the rest in half pound packages for the freezer. You can make so many meals with smoked carnitas. Try making tacos, taquitos, wraps, nachos, quesadillas, or a burrito bowl with rice and beans. Maybe I can convince anyone who is considering smoking meats that a pellet smoker is the way to go. It’s like a whole new level of cooking. I find it a fun experience from the first couple of hours when the aroma starts to infuse the air until the moment you take that first bite.
Posted at 11:02 am by NativeNM, on August 13, 2021
It’s August and that means it’s green chile season here in New Mexico. It’s the time of year when the aroma of roasted chile is in the air. We pack our freezers with enough chile to last a whole year until the next years harvest and then we do it all over again. And there’s always a debate about who makes the best green chile cheeseburgers. NM even has a cheeseburger trail marked with a map to locate the the best green chile cheeseburgers in the state. I recently saw a burger on Instagram from the NM State Fair that had a Zia symbol branded on top of the bun. It was one of the most appetizing burgers I’ve ever seen with melted cheese and chopped green chile and if that wasn’t enough, it had a fried green chile on top. I showed it to Joe who immediately said, “I can make you a Zia for the bun”. He has a laser cutter that can burn an image onto all sorts of things. So I took him up on his offer and recreated the burger which I named the Zia Burger. This is the ultimate green chile cheeseburger, at least Joe and I think so!