With this Sunday's Super Bowl XLVI in mind, I thought I'd share a recipe that is guaranteed to be a hit at your party. Chile Colorado is built around red chiles -- a rich, complex tasting dish that can feature pork or beef. For that matter, you could make the chile and pour it over tofu or just about anything else you can imagine. My version is made using pork.
I first had chile Colorado in New Mexico, where the folks take their chiles very seriously. I like the version here in SLC at the Red Iguana, but this recipe is based on the chile Colorado that Rick Bayless, owner of Chicago's Topolobampo and Frontera Grill restaurants, owns. It's my favorite.
You need to set aside about two hours to make the dish, but there is only about a half-hour of active kitchen time involved. It's worth the trouble, believe me. This is also a great dish to make ahead of time, as it tastes even better when reheated a day or two later. So, think about making it on Friday or Saturday and simply reheating it for Super Bowl Sunday.
8-10 dried New Mexico or California red chiles, stemmed and de-seeded as much as possible
3 cloves garlic
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbs. lard or vegetable oil
1 1/2 lbs. boneless pork, cut into cubes (or substitute beef chuck or even boneless chicken)
1/2 tsp. salt
First, we'll make the chile base for the chile Colordao. This is the laborious part.
Begin by tearing the chiles into pieces and shaking out as many seeds as you can.
Toast the chile pieces in batches on a hot griddle, pressing down with a spatula for a few seconds on each side, until the chiles smoke slightly and get a bit darker in color.
When the chiles are done toasting, bring a pot of water (at least 2 cups) to boil, remove from the heat and submerge the chile pieces in the water.
Cover the chiles with a small plate to help keep them submerged in the water. Allow the chiles to soak for 30 minutes. When finished, reserve 1 cup of the water from the soaked chiles.
Transfer the chiles to a blender, along with the garlic, onion, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, and 1 cup of the reserved chile water.
Puree the chile mixture in the blender until smooth, with no chunks of chiles left. If necessary, add a little more water if the mixture is too thick and won't blend.
Using a medium-mesh sieve, strain the chile mixture into a bowl.
Use a spatula to push the chile mixture through the sieve.
Now, cook the meat.
Heat the lard or vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Dry the pork on paper towels to remove any moisture and fry in a single layer until well-browned, about 9-10 minutes, scraping the pan frequently.
Next, add the chile puree in the bowl to the pan with the pork.
Fry for 4-5 minutes, stirring and scraping frequently, until the mixture turns a little darker in color and thickens some.
Now, stir in the salt and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil then reduce to medium-low.
Allow the chile Colorado to simmer, partially covered and stirring occasionally, for 1 hour or longer, until the sauce thickens to the consistency of cream. If the sauce gets too thick, just add a little more water.
Serve with warm tortillas and sides like Mexican rice or fideo.
Ole! Enjoy the Super Bowl (Go, Giants!).