Just In Time For Winter
As a young Forkling new to New Mexico lo those many winters ago, we scoffed at the notion of chile. “It burns your mouth?!” we exclaimed. “Fie and foo!” And so did many a day pass wasted and assumptive and wanting. Oh, we’d try the chile now and again at the behest of life-long fans and even converts; we’d drink so much milk to quench the fires that we’d fall ill.
“A pox upon thy house!” we shrieked at no one in particular. “We curse you to the thirteenth generation of your blood!”
But then something happened. A frigid winter in the late-1900s. A snow-packed domicile from which escape became impossible. We ran out of sourdough. We didn’t any more lard. Enter our friend’s mother, who shall remain nameless to protect her innocence (by which we mean she said, “Please don’t put my name in there—I’ll give you a recipe, just...I don’t wanna be named...) and our conversionary green chile experience. It came as a stew, packed with pork and enough green chile to blast your sinuses out from here til next year; it came hot and soothing, spicy and robust; it came with a side of flour tortillas and homemade honey butter.
And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. By which we mean it’s been a minute since we had that green chile stew, but the recent cold nights have had us thinking that it might be time to trot it back out. A series of phone messages. A returned call not a moment too soon. An email. The recipe, the precious recipe, was finally ours. So now we’ll share it with you!
Our Friend’s Mom’s Green Chile Stew Recipe
-Serves: 6-8 depending on how much you want to eat
-Time to make: A couple hours, maybe three hours, but it’s worth it
-Things to know: It’s freaking GOOD!
-15-20 whole green chiles (failing that, two or three tubs of Bueno in any spiciness you like and in whatever amount you like). This one can be personal, as in, if you like more chile, do that.
-2.5 or 3 pounds of pork—shoulder works, but just know you want it to be firmer than tenderloin so it doesn’t fall apart during the process, unless you want it to do that, then do whatever you want. Chop ‘em up into whatever shape or size you like, though bear in mind that big ol’ chunky pork pieces are quite good in stew. We’ve heard the term “cubed” bandied about in stew conversations.
-5 or 6 cups chicken broth, though mushroom or veggie stock might work—but then, there’s already pork in there, so...we say 5 or 6 because we know some people like their stew a little less brothy.
-2-ish Tbsp. veggie oil, though we’ve learned that walnut oil will work fine
-1 chopped onion (you can do half if you don’t like onion or skip altogether if you don’t like onion), but, like, chop it into those small-ass pieces—you know the ones we mean.
-2.5 or 3 cloves garlic depending on your taste preference; or, if you don’t want to mince it yourself, one of those containers of minced garlic.
-1 tsp. salt
-1 tsp. cumin
-4 russet potatoes chopped into cubes, though you can do more or less if that’s what you like; if you use a smaller-sized potato, like a Yukon gold, adjust accordingly, ya buncha maniacs.
-2 cups diced tomatoes (canned is fine if you want)
-3 Tbsp. butter
-1 Tbsp. flour
-A pot big enough to put all that stuff in and cook with, plus its lid
-A smaller pot you’ll use for doing meat stuff
1. Broil them green chiles as hot as you like in your oven, but keep turning them regularly until they look kind of darkened to the point you believe you can peel the skin off with ease. If you’re skipping this step because you got Bueno in a tub, that’s fine and you can just hit step 3.
2. Pull ‘em out of the oven and stick’ em in that pot of yours, though not on the stove yet, then cover it with the lid so they can steam in their own just-out-of-the-broiler heat.
3. Toss that chopped-up (or cubed!) pork into that other pot on medium and season with plenty of salt and pepper (to taste, dammit!), then pop in much of your onion and much of your garlic and all of your veggie oil and brown the meat for five minutes or so—you’re not cooking it all the way!
4. In your big pot, throw in the broth and the rest of your onion and garlic. Add the cumin, too, and whatever spices you think sound good...like, we’re not realizing a little bit of brown sugar would probably be good. Bring it to a nice, slow simmer.
5. By this point, you can probably peel your chile easily, so go ahead and do that, then throw ‘em in with the broth (or dump in the bueno) and leave ‘em in there forever. Bring everything back up to a simmer and let it do that for a good 40 minutes or so.
6. When you come back in, smell the pot and say something like, “Damn, we’re really on the way!” Then add your meat and potatoes and bring back to a simmer for another 10 minutes.
7. Add the tomatoes and bring back to a simmer again. You can add a little more broth if you like, it depends on your viscosity desires.
8. Melt that butter with your flour while stirring a whole bunch, then add to the stew. Let it simmer until you think it’s all pretty much working well together and you can’t stand not eating it anymore.
9. Heat up your tortillas (or don’t) and serve that stew, baby!
Making the Optional Honey Butter:
We love this one because it’s so easy! Like, you just need butter and honey and salt. The End. Why isn’t this a staple?!
1. Soften as much salted or unsalted butter as you think you want by taking it out of the fridge for 30-45 minutes.
2. Whip that butter in a mixing bowl with one of those electric beater things.
3. Add as much honey as you think you want, though go slowly and experiment if you’re the type who has thickness concerns.
4. Add a pinch of salt.
5. Voila! You can chill it a bit if you like, which we do because then it gets a chance to melt on the warm tortillas. In tandem with the earthy, spicy flavor of the green chile stew? Magic.
Now, we fully concede that there are likely a lot of folks out there with recipes of their own. Our other friend’s grandma, for example, makes a mean green chile stew. This is just the one that speaks to us as it brought us into the chile fold—and we never stopped eating it again.
Play this while you’re making that butter, baby.
-Heads up that the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market’s Tuesday markets are slated to run through Dec. 19 for the season. We know not everyone likes to get up early on a Saturday or whatever, so keep this info in mind if you want nice foods from nice people. Those Tuesday markets pop off in the Railyard from 8 am-1 pm. Word? Word.
-As we’ve said before, if you aren’t subscribed to the Santa Fe Extension Master Gardeners’ email newsletter, you’re missing out. Why, just this week we learned that volunteers from the SFEMG partnered with Tucson-based org Native Seeds/SEARCH to grow two types of heirloom beans that were pretty prevalent around here at one point. This was about seeing if they could do it, seeing how it would go at a high elevation and generating some seeds to head back to Tucson (with some going to Santa Fe’s Seed Library). We aren’t sure whom we ask about getting some of them beans, but we’ll take ‘em when they’re ready, thanks.
-Santa Fe/Taos-based Wild Leaven Bakery will open an outpost in the CHOMP Food Hall at 505 Cerrillos Road in the middle of this month (being November). If you don’t know about Wild Leaven Bakery, it’s a family affair and its people specialize in long fermentation sourdough bread and other baked goods. They’re all about local ingredients, too, plus we hear they’re hiring. Apply here. Do y’all think a nice warm sourdough would go well with that green chile stew?
-Big news out of Santa Fe Spirits this week as the local distillery plans to release its new bottled-in-bond whiskey on Friday, Nov. 3 (that’s one day after The Fork drops). What on Earth does bottled-in-bond mean? Well, you could click this link if you want to know more, or you could stay right here while we tell you that it’s all about rigorous standards and a high-ass-quality product that basically guarantees it’s the best-made stuff around. OK, maybe just click that link from before. We just want to give a special shout-out to SFS’s Caitlin Richards while we’re at it. We love you, grrrrrrrrrl, and we absolutely did not let out computer call the biz “Santa Fe Spirts” like it seemed to wanna do so badly. Anyway, Santa Fe Spirits has a new whiskey, and will be holding a special tasting thing from 4 pm-8 pm on Friday, Nov. 3 with cocktails and discounts and, we hear, the first 50 people who buy a bottle of the new bottled-in-bond bad boy will get a special surprise gift (according to the email we got—please note that we don’t work over there and are not personally offering a gift at this time).
-Oh, woah, local hotspot/fine dining Italian joint Sassella (from chef Christian Pontiggia, who has cool tattoos) has partnered with the James Beard Foundation for the Taste America: Santa Fe dinner. Presented by Capital One (which is some sort of plastic card that exists to destroy your life under the guise of incentives like tickets to bullshit concerts you didn’t want to see in the first place), the Taste America series is all about tasting America, we bet. Hang on, let us just read this thing. One sec. Keep cool. Doot-doot-doot...reading...reading...scanning...scanning...forming thoughts. OK, it’s about the James Beard Foundation’s desire to “bring together chefs, special guests and diners from across the country to celebrate local independent restaurants.” We can get down with that. If you wanna get tickets, click here. If you wanna know more about Sassella, click here.
-Not to be outdone by Santa Fe Spirits new offering, winery Gruet has a new one in the barrel, too, so to speak, and it’s all about Old Man Gloom. That’s right, y’all—Gruet has picked the weirdest possible time (being a few months after Zozobra) to unveil its new Zozobra Brut. You can learn more about this limited edition right the eff here (we understand it’s “crisp). And if you’re reading this going, “What the hell is Zozobra?” you can learn about that here. And also we know you’re not from around where we’re from around, which means you’ve got your work cut out for you if you want the respect of The Fork!!!!
Yes, there’s a band called Old Man Gloom. Deal with it, America.
¡Some Words for Readers Tana H. and Jesse A. and People Who Hate Tom Cruise Now!
Hey, Tana and Jesse! We just wanted to put a box in here to say thanks for telling us to make The Fork longer than ever. Sometimes we can get down on ourselves when our less-than-humorous readers deride how we like to ramble and say “fuck” and “brekkie b,” so your kind words came at a great time. We also figured this could help us make this the longest Fork in history. Do we have the wherewithal to find out if that’s true? To look up and check word counts? To add another thing to our plate, so to speak? Nope. But we do have the wherewithal to say we know some of you have been regular readers for years now, and we don’t think we’d possibly want to do this with all y’all. Thanks a bunch, both of you!
Of course, others reached out to say nice things, too, but Tana and Jesse’s honeyed words tasted the sweetest. Jeeze, when are the rest of you gonna get it together?
Anyway, what else is going on? Did you guys hear the next Mission Impossible movie got delayed? Yeah, guess the last one was so shitty that it kind of flopped. Perhaps we’re living in a world where we’ve grown tired of watching Tom Cruise leap, run or hurtle off of/through/around things. And that’s OK. “Why am I reading this? Why is this in here?” some of you just thought. Look, we’re just making conversation. And, as always, we’d rather make one or two people laugh really hard than make 100 people chuckle politely. That’s our whole deal. Take it or leave it, America. Take it. Or. Leave. It.
-Frozen pizza titan DiGiorno brings new meaning to its “It’s not pizza!” slogan with its forthcoming Thanksgiving pie, a horrifying monstrosity with a combination of toppings that include turkey, a creamy gravy sauce, sweet potatoes, green beans and—and this is true—cranberries. There is also mozzarella in there someplace. And though we wish goodwill to all the recently divorced middle-aged dads who will get this because they’re just plain too bummed to worry about doing something real for the holiday, the very existence of this product has cast us to the bottom of a depression well from which we might never recover. In short? This is the biggest drag since we dragged divorced dads a sentence ago. Yikes.
-Speaking of Thanksgiving, we’ve gotta hand it to the Santa Fe Foodies website for compiling a list of businesses open for T-Day 2023. We’ve done similar work in years past, and it’s grueling and thankless, which is especially galling considering the people looking for this information could just as easily pick up a fucking phone or direct their computers/phones to Google. Anyway, here’s the list (with the caveat that sometimes things change and sometimes it’s impossible to get to every single place doing a thing when you’re just one person—as the Santa Fe Foodies guy is...we think his name is Douglas SF Foodieington or something; just kidding, don’t write us letters; we don’t actually think that’s someone’s name. His name is Robert Foodieington McCormick).
-If you didn’t know the Eminem lyrics from the song “Lose Yourself,” they include something about vomit on his shirt from “mom’s spaghetti.” That’s pretty gross, but it didn’t stop Em from launching his Mom’s Spaghetti pasta sauce brand. It must be wild to be a rich person who can just launch brands based off of some thing you said once. Anyway, if you want to hear a far superior version of the song, click right here.
-File this one under we-used-to-work-in-foodservice-and-actually-love-it: It would seem the Toccoa Riverside Restaurant in Blue Ridge, Georgia, has gone viral for adding a $50 surcharge on some checks for “adults unable to parent.” That’s so freaking cool. Look, we get that you think young Katniss or whoever is some kind of cool genius, but everybody hates those kids who run around screaming, especially when they set out to have a meal that costs hard-earned bucks. Bless you, Toccoa. You really did it.
-Lastly in not-local news for this edition, you might have heard about how a heavily caffeinated lemonade from food/drink chain Panera could have contributed to the death of 21-year-old college student Sarah Katz recently. Now, Katz had a known heart condition that made consuming caffeine a tricky proposition to begin with, but a suit filed by the family in October claims that Panera did little, if anything to express just how much caffeine was in its Charged Lemonade (it’s A LOT...like, 390 milligrams a lot). Panera will now label that information/a warning more clearly in all of its stores. Good, but it’s terrible to think that this could happen in the first place. We hope the family gets closure.
A Totally Scientific Breakdown of The Fork’s Correspondence
In the print edition of SFR this week, you’ll not only find a pretty upbeat review about local restaurant/bar Boxcar and its new location, you’ll get a whole-ass cover story on chef Dakota Weiss and her new restaurant, Capital Coal Neighborhood Eatery. It’s a good time to like food here!
Number of Letters Received
*Turns out some of you liked reading about movie candy after all.
Most Helpful Tip of the Week (a barely edited letter from a reader)
“Russian girls hot in for your area!”
*Totally we should click that link, right?
Actually Helpful Tip(s)
“You used to do recipes a little more often, do you have any others?”
*You bet we do, like the one we included in this very edition!