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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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The Bolita Bean – A Locally Grown Favorite

Bolita Bean (similar to the Pinto), but creamier in texture and sweeter in flavor mjskitchen.com

Bolita (left) – Pinto (right)

 

The bolita bean is similar to a pinto bean. It is high in protein, but a little sweeter with a creamier texture, and, from what I’ve read, easier on the digestive system. If you’re not familiar with the bolita bean, it is a small pinkish bean similar in shape and size to the pinto (as you can see in the picture).  It’s locally grown here in New Mexico and can be found at many of the Growers’ Markets in the fall. It can also be purchased online from farms like Schwebach Farms and Sichler’s Farms.

The stories I’ve read say that bolita beans were first cultivated in Peru 10,000 years ago and brought north to New Mexico by Spanish settlers. They became an important crop of the American Indians of northern New Mexico who still grow them along with many other farmers in central and northern New Mexico.  Today, bolitas are grown throughout the Four Corners area and other parts of the southwest.  Apparently, it is a good crop for the southwest because its root system is deep, making it able to withstand dry spells and drier climates like ours.

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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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Three Sisters (Squash, Corn, Beans) with Green Chile Tomatillo Salsa

Three Sisters (corn, beans, squash) with leftover chicken and tomatillo-green chile salsa | mjskitchen.com

Three sisters” is the name given to three companion crops – corn, squash and beans, grown as major crops by Native Americans for generations.  If you are a gardener, you understand what is meant by companion crops – crops that aid each other in some manner.  For the three sisters it all starts with the corn.  Corn provides a tall stalk on which bean vines grow.  In return beans produce nitrogen in the soil that feeds the corn and the squash.  Squash spreads along the ground providing a mulch as well as shade for roots and plantings.

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New Mexico Pork and Green Chile Posole

A traditional New Mexico posole' with pork and green chile #posole #pork mjskitchen.com

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After a brief week of warmer weather, winter returned and so did the desire for comfort food.  Upon the request of a visiting friend, I made this New Mexico pork and green chile posole.  This posole, like most posole dishes, is hearty, spicy and warms you through and through.  It’s made with pork shoulder and roasted green chile, and served with warm corn tortillas.  The only problem with this posole is making sure you have enough, because everyone is going to want seconds!

If you are unfamiliar with posole, click on the following link. What is posole?

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Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta 2016

Today, Saturday Oct 7, is the start of the 2017 International Balloon Fiesta here in Albuquerque.  It was a beautiful morning and gorgeous mass ascension.  For those of you who can’t make it here, let’s take a look back at last year’s event.

Pictures from the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta 2016 | mjskitchen.com

[Photo courtesy of Myra Gadson]

The 2016 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is over and it was a great fiesta!  We did have a couple of cancellation days due to wind or rain, but there were still lots of flying time, events, and fun by all.   The balloon fiesta always starts the first weekend of October and runs through the second weekend.  The energy in the city during fiesta week is exhilarating. Morning skies are filled with peacefully floating colorful balloons and on a few of the evenings, the sky fills with fireworks and the balloon field becomes aglow with hundreds of inflated glowing hot air balloons.  After the events of the day are complete, spectators move out to local restaurants or take drives to other parts of our enchanting state.

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Chicken Mole

Chicken Mole- Chicken smothered in New Mexico red mole sauce. #mole #chicken | mjskitchen.com

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Back in June you were introduced to my New Mexico Red Mole, a spicy, rich sauce made with three types of chiles, pecans, pistachios, several different spices, chocolate, and a few other interesting ingredients.  The mole recipe makes over 12 cups; therefore, much of it can be frozen in 2-cup containers for future dishes like this succulent chicken mole – pieces of chicken smothered and simmered in mole sauce.

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Wishing You All a Happy Holiday Season!

Luminarias on Christmas Eve

A Huge Thanks

to all of the friends and visitors of

MJ’s Kitchen

for your continued support, comments and emails.

 

Wishing you all a very Joyous and Safe Holiday Season

and looking forward to seeing you again in 2016!

 

Picture – Luminarias on Christmas Eve. 

If you are ever in New Mexico on Christmas Eve, plan to take an evening stroll among the luminarias or farolitos.  You’ll find them in every city, town, and village and even on the roof of a lone house out in the middle of nowhere.

 

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Green Chile Chicken Posole

Green Chile Chicken Posole' is genuine comfort food. #green #chile #posole' @mjskitchen mjskitchen.com

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Posole is a traditional New Mexico dish during the holidays and one of our traditional dishes for Christmas Eve.  Our Christmas Eve version is usually made with pork and red chile.  But when we woke up to snow and cold last weekend, I had an early craving for posole and threw together this Green Chile Chicken Posole.  It’s a very easy dish to make and nothing better for taking the chill off and clearing up that stuffy nose.  One might say it’s New Mexico’s version of chicken noodle soup.

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