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Sweet and Spicy Red Chile Pecans

Red Chile Pecans roasted with a slurry of maple syrup and New Mexico red chile powder #redchile #New Mexico #pecans | mjskitchen.com

 

When you live in a state that is one of the top three pecan producers in the U.S., why buy pecans from anywhere else.  On a yearly basis, Bobby and I go through about 20 pounds or more of New Mexico shelled pecans.  Last week I bought my first 5 pounds of the year from the New Mexico Pecan Company and just couldn’t resist making a couple of batches of these red chile pecans.

We love these pecans!  They’re spicy, but not too much, and just a little sweet.  The spiciness comes from a medium hot Dixon or Chimayo red chile powder and the sweetness from maple syrup, as well as a bit from the chile.  With only five ingredients (one being the pecans), these red chile pecans are SO easy to make, but the problem is, they are addicting.  This makes them disappear as fast as you can make them.  Of course the solution to that problem is to make a double batch and that’s easy to do.

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Spicy Scrambled Eggs with Roasted Red Chile and Cotija Cheese

Our favorite Scrambled Eggs - Farm fresh eggs scrambled with roasted red chile and cotija cheese #chile #cotija #eggs #breakfast @mjskitchen

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One of the challenges of retirement is coming up with a more varied breakfast menu.  When we were working outside the house, fruit and cereal was our standard breakfast; but now, with more time in the mornings and breakfast being closer to a brunch, our repertoire has increased.  One of the breakfasts that we both absolutely love is scrambled eggs with roasted red chile and cotija cheese.  These scrambled eggs are so easy to whip up and are complemented with a variety of sides.  Serve with beans, potatoes or something as simple as a piece of toast, and you have a spicy and tasty meal with which to start the day.  And, for those of you that aren’t retired, these eggs are actually easier than putting together a bowl of fruit and cereal.

Note:  If you can find a local source for farm fresh eggs, you’ll learn what an egg should really taste like.  The eggs we buy are fresh, hand-picked eggs, less than a week old.  They have huge dark yellow to orange yolks (as you can see in the pictures), with firm whites as opposed to the runny whites one finds in most storebought eggs.  And the flavor…the best eggs we’ve ever eaten.

 

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Breakfast Chimichanga Smothered in Red Chile

Breakfast Chimichanga filled with either egg and chorizo or egg and black beans, then smothered in NM red chile sauce | mjskitchen.com

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Since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, then why not embrace it, and treat yourself to a breakfast chimichanga smothered in red chile.  It’s so very hearty, high in protein, and exploding with lots and lots of flavor! When you cut into the crunchy, lightly pan fried tortilla you’ll find the ultimate breakfast ingredient – eggs – wrapped with spicy Mexican chorizo or spicy black beans, whichever you prefer.  To enjoy a multitude of goodness, use each bite to scoop up some red chile with a little bit of the toppings. Now that’s a breakfast! If this doesn’t become a standard for your household, I don’t know what will.

Oh, and did I mention that it’s really easy to make?

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Slow-Cooked Red Beans

Slow cooked pot of spicy red beans. mjskitchen.com

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When it comes to red beans, it seems that the larger kidney bean gets most of the attention.  Of course this could possibly be due to the classic red beans and rice, “an emblematic dish of Louisiana Creole cuisine“.  To be honest, red beans and rice is normally our go to dish for red beans.  However, sometimes I like to cook up the small red bean.  It’s more tender than the kidney bean and has a sweeter, more delicate flavor, in my opinion.

This red bean recipe yields a flavorful bowl of tender beans that’s savory, spicy and quite versatile. As with most beans, we love to eat these as just a bowl of beans with some cornbread or tortillas and maybe a topping or two. But you could also add them to salads or soups, serve them on top of a bowl of rice, or wrap them in a tortilla and smother with red chile.  Lots of possibilities…

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Hatch Chile Fiesta Bread

Hatch Chile Fiesta Bread is a yeast bread made with whole wheat and AP flours, and Hatch red and green chile. | mjskitchen.com

 

This Hatch Chile Fiesta Bread was inspired by the fiesta rolls I used to get at The Flying Star in Albuquerque whenever I ordered the breakfast egg sandwich.  The rolls were yeast rolls with green chile and cheese, which, as you can imagine, made for a very tasty bite of sandwich. Since Bobby and I love a good bread, I tackled making a loaf of yeast bread with chile and cheese.  It took a couple of loaves to get the texture right and solve the moisture problem created by the chile, but once that problem was solved, I knew I would be making many more loaves of this fiesta bread.

Because of the chile, this Hatch chile fiesta bread is more moist than most yeast breads and less dense; however, the flavor is awesome and it is the best bread ever for a grilled cheese turkey sandwich.  It also makes a tasty egg in a basket breakfast as well as a breakfast egg sandwich.  If you include hot chile in the mix, you get a nice spicy kick with every bite.  To provide this spicy kick I used some of the hot Sandia chile I got from The Hatch Chile Store. as well as some of their medium Big Jim chile.

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The Hatch Chile Store – From Farm to Table

The Hatch Chile Store Logo | mjskitchen.comRecently, my friend Su Anne and I had the privilege of traveling to Hatch chile country to explore the vast agriculture of the area, visit the The Hatch Chile Store and meet its owners – Preston and Elaine.  Preston and Elaine are young entrepreneurs who started The Hatch Chile Store because of their mutual love of green chile and the Hatch Valley in southern New Mexico.  Their family history in the Hatch Valley dates back over 5 generations which essentially means that Hatch chile is in their blood.  In just a few years time, they have put together a successful company that shares their love of chile with the rest of the world through an online shop. To learn more about Preston and Elaine and their business, check out these links:  Our Story and Our Team.

A field of chile in Hatch, New Mexico | mjskitchen.com

As part of our visit, Su Anne and I traveled through the Hatch Valley, a beautiful valley that runs along the Rio Grande from north of Hatch, New Mexico (NM), to Las Cruces, NM. We saw fields and fields of chile along with cotton, alfalfa, and hundreds of pecan groves.  The pictures below attempt to share our experience by taking you from the Hatch chile fields through the process of roasting and packaging chile at The Hatch Chile Store.  By placing an order online, you could have Hatch chile on your table in just a few days.

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Smoky Apricot Barbecue Sauce

A spicy and smoky apricot barbecue sauce. Great with smoked ham, pork and chicken. #apricot #sauce #BBQ @mjskitchen

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Does barbecue sauce really need ketchup or tomatoes to be called a barbecue sauce?  If so, then I’m breaking the rules with this Smoky Apricot Barbecue Sauce.  This sauce has most everything that one would find in a BBQ sauce, except for a tomato or tomato based product.  The tomato is replaced with apricot, but other common BBQ ingredients – vinegar, mustard and a bunch of chile powders – remain, turning sweet apricots into a smoky and spicy sauce for topping BBQ sandwiches and basting for a variety of meats and possibly vegetables.

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Red Chile Chilaquiles and SE Arizona-Part II

Red chile chilaquiles made with New Mexico red chile, queso fresco and egg. mjskitchen.com

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Chilaquiles (chē-lä-ˈkē-lās) is a traditional Mexican dish made with fried corn tortilla chips, a red or green chile sauce or salsa, cheese, fried eggs and complementary toppings.  I was introduced to a Sonoran version of red chile chilaquiles during a recent visit to Tucson. The Sonoran chilaquiles were as simple as they could get – corn tortillas with a tomato-based chile sauce, queso fresco and fried eggs, served with a side of black beans. Simple and hearty, though not spicy, and a very tasty way to start the day.

Following the simplicity of the Sonoran chilaquiles, I’ve been making red chile chilaquiles at home using New Mexico red chile sauce, a Mexican style cheese, some simple toppings, and fried egg. Because there are so many toppings that  complement this dish, you can change the flavors of this dish each time you make it.  It’s a meal you can make over and over again and never get tired of.

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Ideas for Your Cinco de Mayo Party

Spicy Cinco de Mayo recipes for your Cinco de Mayo Party #cincodemayo #chile #mexican @mjskitchen

 

Still working on your menu for Cinco de Mayo?  Hopefully, this list of Cinco de Mayo recipes will tempt you to add a couple more dishes.  The spiciness and the flavors in these recipes will have your guests dancing in the kitchen.

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