The allure of South-western food is mesmerizing – spicy, flavourful, delicious. Unfortunately, in today’s culture, several unique categories of Hispanic cuisines are grouped under the uninviting stereotype of “Mexican food”, which couldn’t be further from the truth. However, in some way or another, most of us have been exposed to the rich heritage and taste of this phenomenal culture, and today a specific branch of Latin American derived cuisines will be explored – New Mexican cuisine.
New Mexico was conjoined with Mexico till the year of 1848, and was granted the status of being it’s on state during 1916. Despite popular belief however, New Mexico is not a part of Mexico anymore. Before the Spanish occupation, several different native tribes resided in the now dubbed New Mexico, and still contain a very large Native American residence. This in fact, has had a large effect on the New Mexican culture, and specifically – food we know today.
New Mexico is known for hot weather, which deems it the perfect place to grow different types of chillies and spices. In fact, this influences a lot of the spicy foods Mexico is known for, as home grown chillies provide an excellent reservoir of flamboyant recipes. In fact, most well-known New Mexican foods utilize home grown foods such as those below:
- A wide array of beans: Kidney, Pinto etc.
- Regional Corn Varieties
- Land animal meats
- Wide array of peppers
- Hot-regional vegetables (e.g. Chile)
- Maza (Corn Flour)
Although the ingredients play a large factor in defining the identity of New Mexican foods, it is the method of cooking that truly identifies and separates New Mexican cooking from other methods in general. For example, New Mexicans are known to most commonly use regional spices in their cooking the majority of the time, and refrain from using any imported spices to define their own regional dishes (e.g. cumin). Instead, most of their dishes are known to utilize the well known red New Mexican Chile peppers.
The Chile sauce
One of New Mexico’s widest varieties of dishes stems from the Chile sauce dish, with hundreds of varieties. Using red or green chillies depending on the time of picking, this New Mexican original is served scorching-hot to amplify the effect of the spices aroma. Usually, the chillies are roasted and chopped, or provided in the form of a powder, depending on the preferences. In addition, local flour is used to provide the thick, creamy taste. In addition, the Chile is usually prepared with a wide variety of beans and vegetables, which enriches the flavour substantially.