red or green?

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Red or Green? and, no, I’m not talking about what color holiday wrapping paper to choose from.  We’re talking chile here.  If you ever find yourself in New Mexico, the official state question is red or green, referring to the type of chile you prefer.  For those that enjoy both red and green, just say “Christmas” – you’ll get a colorful plate of both.

just say Christmas!

just say Christmas!

Me?  I like red, red smothered over a breakfast burrito, red cheese enchiladas and red pork posole. And, I like green, chile verde (green chile stew) and green chile cheeseburgers.

When it comes to red, New Mexico is split down the middle between liking Chimayo Red or Hatch Red chile. North of I-40 and you’ll be a Chimayo Red fan, anything south of the interstate and you are in Hatch territory.  Wars have been fought over which tastes better.  Families split over chile feuds.  Restaurants battled over reigning chile champs.  I-40 is New Mexico’s chile line in the sand.

However, most of New Mexico’s cuisine leans towards the green chile.  Roasted, peeled and chopped, green chile goes with everything!  From turkey to cheeseburgers to eggs to wrapped in a heated tortilla with a little butter and salt.  Green is usually considered spicier, red is said to be gentler, but more pungent.  Some say green will vary in heat, hitting speeds of extremely hot to barely mild, while red is steadier in its heat gauge.

So, red or green? What will it be? Next time you’re in New Mexico and asked this question, if you can’t decide, just ask for “Christmas”.  A chile treat worthy of the holiday!

ACAPULCO’S CRAB ENCHILADAS with SALSA CON TOMATILLOS

My father grew up on a large cattle ranch on the central coast of California.  The ranch cook was Hispanic and would serve a big Mexican Dinner for the cowboys on Christmas Eve.  Tamales, rice, beans, homemade tortillas, even natillas!  Dad carried on the tradition, abet a little more gourmet, and on Christmas Eve he would cook up a big fancy Mexican meal.  One of my favorite dishes was his crab enchiladas with green tomatillos sauce.  Merry Christmas!

Enchiladas

  • 8 corn tortillas
  • oil or lard
  • 2 cups flaked crab meat; picked over for shells
  • 1/2 minced green chiles
  • 1 jalapeno chile, seeded and minced
  • 6 tbsp. minced onions
  • shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • ripe olives – pitted – garnish
  • avocado slices – garnish
  • Tomatoes; peeled and sliced – garnish

Salsa Con Tomatillos

  • 2 – 12 oz. can Tomatillos
  • 2 tortillas, fried
  • oil or lard
  • 4 Serrano Chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions
  • 1 minced jalapeno chile
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1 – 2 fresh minced garlic cloves mashed in 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. crushed cumin seeds
  • 1/24 cup chicken broth
  • green food coloring

Sour Cream Sauce

  • 1 pint Sour cream
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • 4 tbsp. chopped onion (may use green onions)
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

SALSA CON TOMATILLOS:  Drain the tomatillos and reserve the liquid for later use.  Fry 2 tortillas in oil or lard until lightly browned.  Break and drop into the half of the juice of the tomatillos.  While these are soaking and getting soft, saute the onions, chiles, cilantro and garlic mashed in salt in oil/lard.  Saute until soft but not browned.  Put the tomatillos, softened tortillas with juice, saute mixture, broth,  cumin, and 3 drops of green food coloring in the blender.  Blend until smooth.  Transfer to the skillet and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Sauce may be used as is or strained for a smoother more professional presentation.

SOUR CREAM SAUCE:  Combine all of the ingredients and stir gently to blend.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready.

CRAB:  Combine the crab, onions, chiles, and 1/2 cup of cheese in a bowl.  Moisten mixture with a little of the leftover Tomatillo Sauce.

ENCHILADAS:  Heat the tortillas in the oil or lard until they are soft.  About 1 minute.  Add more oil as necessary.  Dip each tortilla in the Tomatillo Sauce.  Place 1/4 cup of crab meat in the center of each tortilla.  Spoon a little Salsa Con Tomatillos on each.  Roll the enchiladas and place them in a shallow baking pan.  Cover with the remaining Salsa.  Sprinkle generously with shredded jack cheese and bake at 400 degrees about 10 minutes or until hot and the cheese is melted.  Serve with a dollop of Sour Cream Sauce and garnish with olives, avocado, tomato slices and pieces of crab leg.

Credits:  Raymond G. Marshall, started the famous chain of Acapulco Mexican Restaurants in California.  This is the original recipe and was the house specialty.

 

10 thoughts on “red or green?

  1. I love both! Chili verde is one of my favorites, the hotter the better! But red on enchiladas or over a burrito can’t be passed up either. It makes me want to go make some this weekend.

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