It’s the season for giving thanks, and in the fading light of autumn we—like the sky, which opens in the void left by fallen leaves—begin to turn inward, finding more space in ourselves. Of course, for some, what this really means is making more space in our bellies for Thanksgiving dinner… So this month at Local Flavor, we’re making room at our table (and in our stomachs) for the rich cornucopia of local tradition, culture, and this high-desert earth’s vast yield. From traditional Pueblo fare, straight from the land, to New Mexico’s Spanish heritage, to a beloved local chef’s native Swahili cuisine, to food that even, and especially, children can concoct, there’s a place at our table for everyone—and we hope you’ll join us.
Green Chile Stew
Excerpted from The Rancho de Chimayó Cookbook: The Traditional Cooking of New Mexico 50th Anniversary Edition by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison
1 Tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
2 pounds pork shoulder [or “the butt or the picnic (sometimes called pork cushion meat)”] or lamb shoulder, cut in ¾-inch cubes
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
5 cups water, or more as needed
1 ½ – 1 ¾ pounds russet potatoes, unpeeled, diced in 3/4- to 1-inch chunks
2 cups chopped roasted mild-to-medium New Mexican green chile, fresh or thawed frozen
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
Warm the oil in a Dutch oven or large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Sear and brown the meat in two batches. Reserve the first batch of seared meat on a plate. When the second batch of meat has browned, stir in the onion and garlic and cook for several minutes, until the onions become translucent.
Scrape the plated meat and juices back into the pan. Pour in 5 cups of water, which should be enough to cover the meat, and scape the mixture up from the bottom of to loosen any browned bits. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 45 minutes.
Stir in potatoes, chile, tomato, garlic salt, and salt, and add more water if needed to keep the meat and potatoes covered. Continue cooking for another 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the meat is quite tender, the vegetables are soft, and the flavors have blended. Add more salt in the last few minutes of cooking if you think the stew needs it.
Ladle into bowls and serve hot.
Ahead of time note: Like most stews, this just improves when refrigerated for a day and then reheated.
Corn Squash Pudding
Excerpted from The Pueblo Food Experience Cookbook: Whole Food of Our Ancestors Edited by Roxanne Swentzell and Patricia M. Perea
2 cups white corn
2 Tablespoons sunflower seeds or piñon nuts, shelled
Cut corn kernels from the cob. Finely dice the zucchini. Chop the sunflower seeds or pine nuts extremely fine. Mash all ingredients together until the texture is milky. (A blender helps.) Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer until it is thick like pudding.
Excerpted from The Cooking with Kids Cookbook by Lynn Walters and Jane Stacey with Gabrielle Gonzales
3 baking potatoes (about 4 ½ cups grated potatoes)
1 green onion, thinly sliced
2 eggs, beaten
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ cup whole wheat or white flour
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil for cooking
1 cup sour cream
What Kids Can Do
Scrub and peel potatoes
Grate potatoes (watch those knuckles)
Peel the potatoes. Use the side of the grater with the largest holes to grate potatoes directly into a bowl of cold water, which keeps them from turning brown. Transfer the grated potatoes into colander. Press the potatoes to squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, salt, and pepper. Add the flour, whisking to combine. Stir in the grated potatoes and sliced green onions and mix well.
Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a skillet over high heat. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the potato mixture to form each potato pancake. Flatten the pancakes with a spatula and cook for 4 or 5 minutes on each side, until they are dark golden brown and cooked through. Add more oil as needed and continue to cook the pancakes.
Slow Roasted Harissa Leg of Lamb
Excerpted from The Jambo Café Cookbook: Recipes and Remembrances of My Journey from Africa to America by Chef Ahmed M. Obo
Prep time: 20-30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 ½ – 3 hours
2-3 pounds of leg of lamb
6 cloves garlic, peeled
8 whole cloves [garlic]
2 tablespoons Harissa spice mix (see below)
1 Tablespoon salt
3 Tablespoons olive oil
4-6 bay leaves
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place a sheet of aluminum foil lengthwise in a large baking dish and another sheet crosswise. Put the leg of lamb on the foil. Poke 6 holes in the lamb with a knife. Place garlic in the wholes and stud the meat with the cloves.
Place the Harissa spice mix in a small bowl with the salt and olive oil, creating a loose paste. Rub the paste all over the lamb and place bay leaves on top. Wrap the foil around the leg of lamb like a cocoon.
Roast the lamb for 2 ½ to 3 years until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees, medium rare. Remove from the oven and let rest for an hour. Place on a serving dish and pour the pan drippings reserved in the tinfoil back onto the lamb.
Serve with fresh Mango Ginger Chutney [Head to Jambo Imports and pick up the cookbook for this recipe!]
Harissa Spice Blend
Prep time: 10 minutes
Yields: approximately 1 cup
1 Tablespoon ground caraway seeds
5 African bird’s eye chiles
4 Tablespoons smoked sweet paprika
2 Tablespoons ground cumin
2 Tablespoons ground coriander
1 Tablespoon red chile powder
In a mortar and pestle or a clean coffee grinder pulse the caraway seeds and chiles to a powder. In a medium-size bowl combine the seeds and chiles and all ingredients mixing well with a whisk or fork. Store in a glass jar in a cool dry place.
by Mia Rose Poris