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 Continue reading
By Dcrjsr (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
From Chef Michael Giese of The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
2 pounds lamb meat, cubed
3 cups fresh corn cut from the cob
6 green onions
3 bell peppers
1 Tablespoon flour
2 Tablespoons lard
1/2 cup celery leaves (no stalks)
1/4 cup juniper berries
2 Tablespoons chile powder
6 cups water
salt to taste Continue reading
Says Lois Ellen Frank: “The feast day is one of the biggest celebrations of the year among the Indian pueblos of New Mexico. To honor their patron saints, the people of each pueblo gather together. They attend mass in the morning and hold a procession into the plaza, where an altar houses their patron saint. After mass, dressed in ceremonial clothing, ancient traditional dances begin and are offered at various times throughout the day…
“After mass, many of the women return home to set up for the day’s feast—which they have been preparing for, in most cases, for days—and set the special dishes up on their tables with chairs crowded around them. On each table is a variety of salads, stews, meats, homemade breads and, of course, desserts—both traditional as well as modern dishes.
“During the afternoon, as the dances are going on in the plaza, relatives and visitors drop in and enjoy what foods each household has to offer, express their thanks and leave to go back to the dances. People drop in throughout the day to taste the fine foods at many different houses. It is a festive day filled with warmth and friendliness. Continue reading
On April 12 at the Hotel Santa Fe, the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) is hosting A Celebration of Native Food and Wine, a first-of-its-kind dinner featuring the culinary talents of four acclaimed Native American chefs paired with the wines of Fire Mountain Wines, founded and helmed by Jamie Fullmer (Yavapai-Apache Nation). The four-course dinner of contemporary Native foods will be prepared by Jack Strong (Siletz), Nephi Craig (White Mountain Apache/Navajo), Walter Whitewater (Navajo), and Lois Ellen Frank (Kiowa).
We can think of no more fitting way to conclude our Homestead Issue than with these stories and recipes from the descendants of the original homesteaders of our beloved southwest.
With Roasted Red Bell Pepper and Chipotle Chile Purée
“There is nothing like the taste of fresh sweet corn,” says Lois Ellen Frank, describing the soup that Walter Whitewater is preparing for the SWAIA dinner. Continue reading
“This is a mix of seeds from the pre-reservation ancestral Apache diet,” says Nephi Craig. “It is a critical piece of our identity and speaks to health and resiliency as we continue to forge de-colonial culinary pathways toward solutions in health and wellness in Western Apacheria. There are many variations of this seed mix. This recipe is basic and easy to replicate with seeds readily available in markets. Independent study will allow the eater to discover more combinations of this protein packed combination of seeds that revitalize ancestral taste and health. As you snack on this seed mix, please think about pre-reservation indigenous health and regional dominant flavors. Although this mix can be made year-round, historically, spring, summer and autumn were spent gathering and cultivating these seeds to be consumed in winter time, while telling stories and playing string games with the family at home. We share this recipe in the hopes that we remember our ancestral taste and food relatives.” Continue reading
Served with a Three Sisters Ragout
Chef Jack Strong offers up this salmon and shrimp dish. “Three Sisters,” he explains, “is a Native combination of corn, beans and squash that is a traditional ancient farming technique. These three ‘sisters’ depend on each other to grow and thrive when planted together.” Continue reading