Santa Fe. It is the capital of New Mexico (which is in fact part of this country) and the place I call home. There are many things I didn't realize were unique to NM until I left, but one thing I've always known is almost impossible to find outside the Land of Enchantment's borders: chile—red and green. And yes, that's chile with an "e."
This is not your average TexMex beans and meat chili, it's a decadent, flavorful, spicy pepper sauce that us New Mexicans put on basically everything. No shade to the Texan classic, but I just want to make sure the distinction is clear because apparently the spelling differentiation doesn't quite do it, similarly to how the "new" in front of New Mexico is still sometimes mixed up with our southern neighbors.
Some things in New Mexico may be a little different, but we still enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving feast when the time rolls around, just like everyone else. We can't, however, resist putting our own little spin on it. And this is how we do it:
1. The Potatoes
A key to the perfect Thanksgiving meal is the mashed potatoes. Rich and creamy and the perfect thing to soak up all the gravy on your plate. The taters in New Mexico might look a little bit more red than the average. We top the velvety side with our Red chile, a slightly sweet but always spicy sauce that might resemble Mexico's popular Mole.
A side that not too many people will see on their dinner tables this November is called posole. It is a savory soupy stew made from large corn kernals that have been simmered for hours. This is something else we like to cover in red chile.
Most people might wait for Christmas to roll around to whip out the masa and corn husks, but some New Mexicans will get an early start on the process and have freshly made tamales along side the turkey.
For those of you who have never tried tamales, first of all, where have you been? And second of all, it's kind of like a pouch of meat and chile made from nixtamalized corn dough and it's all wrapped in a corn husk (but please don't eat that part). New Mexican tamales are unique in their use of red chile and pork.
A very traditional custard dessert that originated in Spain but is very popular in New Mexico for special occasions. I've only had them once or twice but they are fairly easy to make and extremely delicious.
I'm thankful to have come from such a unique place. In The Land of Enchantment, I can still enjoy an incredible Thanksgiving meal with the ones I love, made up of all the same delicious foods as anywhere else, but I always know that ours will always be just a little bit spicier.