|make your stomach happy||.||
I'm an equal opportunity food-scarfer, and there's nary a cuisine I've tried that hasn't had some aspect of it that I enjoyed. But I do, I'll admit, play favorites. And there's no doubt about it: during the six years or so that I spent living in the Southwest, the sun-drenched, spicy, earthy flavors of the region's Mexican-inspired cuisine snuck their way into my soul. Living in the cold rainy UK now, I'm a long way from my old home in the scorching desert. Fortunately, though there's not a whole lot I can do to import that blue-sky good weather I miss so much, I can still recreate some of my favorite foods, getting a little taste of the Southwest sunshine with every chile-packed bite. Here's one of my favorite menus: chile colorado, homemade refried beans and a lime-spiked avocado and spinach salad. Add a big margarita and enjoy!
Note: Both the beans and the beef make excellent leftovers, and can be frozen if you like, so I always make the big quantity even when I'm just cooking for me and the boy.
dried red New Mexico chiles
1 First wash the chiles to get rid of any lingering debris. Pull off the stem, then shake out the seeds. Toss the deseeded chiles and a cup and a half of water in a pot, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let it sit for about five minutes, until the chiles are nice and soft. Pull out the chiles with a slotted spoon, but don't toss the soaking liquid. Give the soaking liquid a very little taste (careful: though these aren't terribly hot as far as chiles go, they still pack some heat); if it's bitter, it can go down the drain, otherwise, toss about a 1/3 cup in with the chiles in a small mixing bowl (if you've had to ditch your soaking liquid, substitute a 1/3 cup of fresh water).