Of course, this version of the famous soup will be different from the heavily laden butter and cream recipes of the past. For one, it will have a lot more heat for a cold soup because we've replaced the fat with chile. Note: This recipe requires advance preparation.
Rajas, or strips of green chile, are commonly cooked with other vegetables. But New Mexican chile has such a great flavor that the rajas can stand alone. Serve these tasty appetizers with toothpicks. Note: This recipe requires advance preparation.
Take a meatloaf recipe from the Midwest, transfer it to New Mexico, add some green chile (El Pinto brand bottled, flame-roasted works great), and bingo, a spiced-up old standard made even more delicious. Serve with baked potatoes, vegetable, salad. It makes great sandwiches the next day.
Cooking meats in the pibil method dates back to Pre-Columbian times and variations of these dishes can be found in just every restaurant that features local cuisine throughout the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. This method of cooking is done in a pit lined with stones called a pibil which were the center of the Mayan community. This is a easier variation that can be done on the grill or in a smoker, and doesn’t require digging a pit in your back yard. Achiote paste is made with annatto seeds, which is used both a spice and an orange coloring agent. I prefer using the paste, rather that the seeds which are as easy to grind as steel ball bearings. Güero chiles are substituted for the usual xcatic chiles which are impossible to find outside of the area. Banana leaves can be found in Asian markets, but you can also use aluminum foil. Pibils are traditionally served with pickled red onions.
Lamb is by far the most popular meat in the country and it is prepared in several ways. Folktales say this is how Genghis Khan liked his lamb prepared while on his way through the country. If you prefer beef, it can be substituted, using a cut suitable for roasting.
In an 1870s cookbook from Puebla there were recipes for 44 different moles but only one, Mole Poblanode Guajolote, or turkey in mole sauce, is called the National Dish of Mexico. This mole has descended from an Aztec chilemolli dish and although it’s called poblano, it doesn’t contain any poblano chiles. In this case poblano refers to the people of Puebla, birthplace of this dish. For an authentic taste, lard is used, but if that’s offensive to you, substitute vegetable oil.
Also, Mexican chocolate can be used, but if you do, be sure to eliminate the cinnamon from the recipe.
Why wouldn’t the cooks of Cerén have developed sauces to serve over meats and vegetables? After all, there is evidence that curry mixtures were in existence thousands of years ago in what is now India, and we have to assume that Native Americans experimented with all available ingredients. Perhaps this mole sauce was served over stewed duck meat, as ducks were one of the domesticated meat sources of the Cerén villagers.