New Mexico Red Chile

The official state question here in New Mexico is, "Red or Green?" You'll most likely hear it in a restaurant, and they'll be asking whether you want red or green chile on your food. If you can't decide, ask for "Christmas," and have some of both. Chile is not the same as chili. It's a sauce, and doesn't have beans in it. Sometimes it has meat (boo!), but ask your server, just to be sure, or make your own. There are as many recipes for red chile (and green) as there are cooks who make it. Here's mine.



Red Chile


3 T mild chile powder

1 tsp hot chile powder

2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 T olive oil (optional)

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

1 T garlic, chopped

1 tsp sea salt

1 - 32 ounce carton vegetable broth

2 T maple syrup

2 T chia seeds or flax seed meal


Toast the chile powders, cumin, and cinnamon in a dry saucepan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly, OR cook them gently in olive oil. I usually do it without the oil, which is not traditional, but really, really good. Cooking the chile powders is important. Don't skip this step.


Add 1/2 cup or so of the vegetable broth. When it's hot, add the onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat until soft.


Add the rest of the broth, the salt, and the maple syrup. When it's hot, add the chia seeds or flax meal to thicken. Adjust seasonings, and serve on things like tofu scrambles, breakfast burritos, rice and bean dishes, and mac and cheese, or use it as an enchilada sauce.




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