Sunday, October 23, 2011

Jemez Pueblo Red Chili Stew

This comes from a humble little book simply entitled Jemez Valley Cookbook, it includes recipes from all the current inhabitants of the valley of any culture or creed.  Although this nice recipe is the only one to come directly from Jemez Pueblo, about half of the recipes in the book are completely Native American or from native food traditions.  This recipe comes from Andrea Fragua a Jemez Pueblo grandmother who knows her red chiles!!

1 lb meat (she says she uses beef, pork, venison or elk) (My note:  Buffalo is mucho good in this!), cut into chunks
4 cups water
2 to 4 dried New Mexico Chiles
1 tsp. oregano (Old World or Mexican--just don't mix them)
1 tsp. cumin seeds (1/2 to 1 tsp ground cumin)
1 small onion, chopped
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 heaping tbsp. cornmeal
Salt to taste

1.  Heat the water and cook the meat that you are using for 30 minutes.  Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2.  Wash, clean and dry the chiles, remove the seeds and roast the chiles in the hot oven for a few minutes, no more than 5 minutes (or they will burn).  Remove and soak in hot water for 30 minutes.  Blend the soaked chiles with the oregano, cumin seeds and the garlic together by hand or in a blender.  Add as much of the soaking water to make a thick, but blended paste.

3.  Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot and saute the onion.  Add in the cornmeal and 1/2 cup meat broth from meat pot.  Add in the chile paste, stir well.  Then add in the boiled meat with broth, stir and heat.  Let simmer/stew for at least 30 minutes, or until the meat is tender (my note:  this will entirely depend on what kind of meat you use.).  The stew should be thick (or "fat" as they say in English at Jemez).  Season with salt to taste.  (My Note:  this is great served with fresh tortillas, either corn or wheat or frybread, and a melon wedge for dessert).


A traditional corn dumpling can be added to the bubbling stew.  Or fried and served on the side as a bread.

You can use poultry for this, chicken is good, native turkey meat is also good, though at some pueblos eating turkey is taboo (at a couple, it is not, so go ahead and use it if you like, you won't offend in doing so).

Use a combination of meat.  Pork, for example, goes well with non-fatty game meats.  Pork has become a traditional food at the Pueblos.

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