For hundreds of years squash and corn have been the staples of the Pueblo Indians in northern New Mexico, and in this popular dish, they are combined with chile. The delicate flavor of the corn and squash with the bite of the chile is a combination that can act as a basis for other variations. Use different types of summer squash, add cheese such as cheddar, Monterey jack, or feta, and/or chicken to turn this recipe from a side dish into an entree.
This thick and hearty stew from Durango, one of the northern states, is another Mexican dish that closely resembles chili con carne. A very similar recipe, carne guisada, is given by Jim Peyton in his book, El Norte: The Cuisine of Northern Mexico. We use pork in our version, but beef (or even shredded beef) can be used.
Like most stews, this one takes a while to cook, about 4 hours. It is interesting because it contains a number of pre-Columbian ingredients, namely Chiltepins, corn, squash, potatoes, and tepary beans. The spicy heat can be adjusted by adding or subtracting Chiltepins.
Pomegranates go with green chile too, as demonstrated in this tasty twist on fresh avocado salad. This recipe (and many others) can be found on the "official" pomegranate industry website, www.pomegranates.org, along with the answers to deep existential questions such as "can you eat the seeds?"
Grilling caramelizes the sugar and honey in the sauce, making the fruit sweeter. This is obviously a dessert, but it can be served as a side dish to barbecued ribs, poultry, or fish. Other firm fruits will work, such as peaches or pineapple, but make sure that they are slightly under ripe. It is difficult to grill ripe fruit.
When the aroma of this dish rises up from the cooking fire, it tantalizes the nostrils. For the best results, use a mortar and pestle to combine the ingredients but if you lack such simple tools, use a blender. We thank our friend Richard Sterling for this Cambodian recipe, gathered on one of his extensive Southeast Asian trips.