Claud, the kids, and I spent last week in beautiful sunny California. It has been well over a year since I have been there to visit my parents. As we headed to Thousand Oaks, my home town, I eagerly anticipated spending time with my mom. We both are similar in how we plan our days around what and where we will eat. We love food. So, I was certain we were all in for some tasty meals.
Between the Mexican food at Ventura Harbor, the Chinese food themed cupcakes for Daphne's birthday party by the pool, the French pastries with coffee we enjoyed in Malibu, and the homemade deli style sandwiches we devoured at the Los Angeles Zoo, one would be hard pressed to choose a favorite meal that week. Everything was so unbelievably good and surprisingly international.
However, the decision is an easy one for me...the tri tip dinner with homemade green chili from New Mexico (but shipped from Denver) was undoubtedly the best meal of the week.
My mom, Sally Varga, making the Denver chili recipe
On day two of our week with my mom and her husband Doug, a package arrived from my grandmother. Actually, a slip of paper arrived on the door step telling us that we missed our package. A look of panic came over my mom's face.
"Get in the car," she said. I obliged. "We must have just missed him. I bet he's still in the neighborhood. We'll find him!" She said with strong determination. We drove frantically through her gated community and just about to exit the gates was the mail man. Whew! I jumped out of the car and flagged him down like a crazy person with a huge smile waving my brown slip in the air.
He stopped and grabbed the box from the back of his truck. He was happy because it had "perishable" written all over it and he was worried whatever it was wouldn't last much longer in this heat.
Denver Green Chili
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 Tbsp. flour
2 C. New Mexico Green Chilis, roasted, peeled, and diced
1 C. water, chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 can of stewed tomatoes, diced
Salt and pepper
Pour the olive oil in a skillet on medium high heat. Saut the onions in the olive oil until translucent. Add the flour and cook until it begins to brown. Add the chili peppers. Add the broth or water and the tomatoes. Let this cook for about ten minutes until it begins to thicken up. Add salt and pepper to taste.
The package contained green chili from New Mexico. We always call it Denver chili but the chili actually grows in New Mexico. So, the chilis are from New Mexico and this recipe is from Colorado. I know, it's confusing...but it really doesn't matter. What matters is how absolutely delicious this stuff is. I took the box and got back into the car with my mom. We giggled a little and knew we were in for a delicious dinner later that night. We went home to cook.
My grandmother always has green chili on hand. We eat it with everything when we are at her house. She also always has homemade tortillas which are out of this world; but, I will save that for another article.
Denver chili tastes great on eggs, with meat, or even on its own as a stew. You can put it on a burrito or in a sandwich on potatoes or rice. It's fabulous in a breakfast burrito. It goes with so many different things. The problem is we can never find it in the markets in California. So, as a special treat, my grandmother mailed us some.
I looked on the package and saw that it cost her a small fortune to ship it to us and figured there must be a better way. There is! You can order the green chili for $14.75 at www.nmchili.com. You should do this. If you buy the fresh chili, or grow your own green chili peppers, which I did last summer, you will have to roast them, place them in a plastic bag for twenty minutes, and then peel them and dice them up. You can roast them on the grill or in the oven on a high heat or broil until the skin bubbles and begins to turn dark brown.
I think making the chili from fresh is fun; but, it is time consuming and some people might prefer having this process already done for them. It is so much quicker that way. There is something about the flavor of these particular chilies from New Mexico that is just superior to other chili peppers. You won't be disappointed.
As far as the Denver green chili recipe goes, you can make it as a meaty dish with pork or beef, or you can make it vegetarian, which is how we made it last week at my moms. We did eat it with tri tip, which is not so vegetarian. If you want to include the meat in the green chili sauce, just saut the meat with the onions before you add the chili peppers. I have had it many different ways and love it every time. Also, you can buy these peppers in mild, medium or hot depending on your preference. I love the hot...the hotter the better.
So, my mom took the chili out of the package of dried ice and we began to get our ingredients together for the meal. As I said, she served it with marinated pieces of tri tip and she also included homemade pinto beans and Spanish rice. It was spectacular and, by far, my favorite meal of the week.