Tuesday, July 24, 2012

New Mexican Food Essentials

I am from an area of Albuquerque known as the South Valley.  I grew up specifically in Valley Gardens, on Bryan Court.  I attended the Church of the Ascension (Roman Catholic Church) and this is where I remember learning to cook.  My parents would make breakfast with several other couples and the kids would run wild through the dining area.  So for a while I will mainly do regional faire, stuff that I learned to make first as a young girl.  Below is a list of things I consider essentials.  None of the following pictures are mine, I will provide original artist information if requested:

Hatch Green Chiles

The chiles pictured here are raw.  You will need to roast and peel them.  I order them by the sack (burlap) once a year.  We spend an afternoon roasting and packaging them and they last around one year for us.  You can also buy Bueno frozen green chile here and as a last resort, look for canned green chiles like these

Pinto beans are a MUST. 

I make a variety of beans with them and they are nutritious and great meal fillers (or meat substitutes).  Boracho (drunk) beans, refried beans, or ham bone beans are fantastic.

Dried Red Chiles

Red and Green Chiles are the same chiles, one is just left to ripen and then dried.  The chiles pictured are called chile ristras and are not just for decoration (although they are very pretty).  Red chiles are used mostly for sauce in the foods I make.

Masa Harina (corn flour)

This is used to make corn tortillas (and in turn, chips) and masa for tamales

Manteca (lard). 

 I prefer lard to shortening for flavor, but if you feel you are better served by using shortening they are relatively interchangeable.

If you have trouble finding any of these pantry staples then please let me know.  They are commonly available in Hispanic markets or even in the aisles of your grocery stores.  I will get into necessary equipment tomorrow and recipes for my favorites very soon (there are a LOT of them).

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