With a big Summer Monsoon storm thundering outside, the comfort of the kitchen was calling my name, and the warmth of a hearty stew was the perfect answer! Here in New Mexico, you can find red and green chile readily available, and I love gracing our dinner table with their delightfully full flavor (although I don't really save them for dinner! You'll find chile in many breakfasts, and even some sweet dessert foods around here!). Green Chile can be a deliciously mild chile, full of robust flavor ready to complement any dish, but it can turn around and be devilishly hot as well, surprising you with a kick of heat that can throw you off your chair! Red chile tends to have more of a "smoky" flavor, very deep and ancient.... I generally use a ground red chile powder to add it's deep flavor to my dishes, or I sometimes even make an incredibly hot and flavorful sauce of the red chile soaked in liquid and blended to a paste! The People of New Mexico have been using chile in their food for so long, that it is a rich part of our culinary culture, and there are not many restaurants that you go to here without being asked, "Red, or Green?". Well, today- I say, "Christmas!" A delightful blend of both, to fully enjoy all the flavor of chile, in this Deliciously Hearty Vegetarian New Mexico Style Chile!!
2-3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 large Sweet onion, chopped (vidalia, oso, walla walla, etc...)
1 large Red Bell Pepper, chopped
1 large Green Bell Pepper, chopped
3 cups mushrooms, chopped (I used Baby Bellas, but you can use any full flavored mushroom)
3 bunches green onions, chopped
3 cups Roasted and peeled Green Chile, chopped
4 cups White Hominy
4 cups diced tomatoes, with juice (I had a can on hand of Ro*Tel tomatoes and green chile today so I used that, but you can use fresh!)
1 cup fresh Cilantro, chopped
1 1/2-2 teaspoons Sea Salt, or to taste
Freshly Ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup ground Red Chile powder ( I use the special Reserve highest quality ground chile for the best flavor!)
1 teaspoon Coriander, ground
1 teaspoon Cinnamon, ground
2-3 Bay leaves*
2 Tablespoons Honey or Agave Nectar
Chop all vegetables to about the size of Hominy, removing all seeds or skins as needed. Place a large pot over high heat ( 4 qt. or larger), and add in the olive oil. Add in the onion, peppers and mushrooms, and saute until softened. stirring often. Add in remaining ingredients, stirring well. Bring to a simmer, cover, and adjust temperature to maintain a simmer for at least one hour, stirring occasionally. The longer you allow this dish to simmer, the more flavor you will have!
Variations: you can add meat to this dish if you desire, by browning the meat first and then following the recipe. Or you can add in some beans (black or pinto would be very tasty!), or even switch up what vegetables you use in the dish! Have asparagus, or green beans? Extra corn, spinach, or beets on hand? throw them in! Or potatoes (even sweet potatoes would be delicious!)! Use this basic recipe and make it your own!
Delicious ways to serve this dish: Just as it is, as a stew, with a bit of fresh cilantro, avocado, a touch of cheese and a warm tortilla. Or as a filling for enchiladas, or burritos! Try with Blue Corn tortillas for an even more authentic flavor! Regardless of how you serve this dish, I am sure your family and friends will love it, and it makes enough to share with them all! Please enjoy on your next stormy day, I promise it will bring some spice and warmth to your day!
*Remove Bay leaves before serving...