In New Mexico we’re not that interested in what you do for work. Or if you’re married, single, all-of-the-above, none-of-the-above, or other. The question we’re burning to ask is: Red? Green? Or Christmas? It’s a question that makes for some fiery – excuse the phrase – debates around the dinner table.
Some peacemakers will say there’s no right or wrong answer. There are folks who like red chile, folks who like green and heck, some people like Christmas – a bit of both.
But not everyone is so kumbaya calm. You hear grumblings. They’ll say that people who like Christmas can’t make up their minds. They dither. Vacillate. They’re fence sitters. Others think that Christmas lovers are just gluttons. They want it all and now. They can’t imagine making it through one meal without red and green – so they get ‘em both.
But in this Christmas season is there perhaps a kinder, gentler way to look at the great chile question? I turned to all-knowing, all-consuming Chef Johnny Vee to get his take. “I love that we associate red and green with Christmas so it’s a perfect fit for our state question…Red or Green?”
But surely there’s a right answer and a wrong answer, isn’t there? “I’m like Santa,” said Chef Johnny, who come to think of it does bear an incredible likeness to St. Nick. “I love both especially at this time a year…not on everything but snuck in here and there…warms us up in winter!”
Have you got a favorite? Let us know. In the meantime, remember that blessed are the peacemakers, so here’s a handy recipe for Christmas Chile Corn Bread.
Christmas Chile Cornbread
This is good – very good. Great with a bowl of soup or hearty stew. Yummy alongside a plate of scrambled eggs and it makes a mean stuffing. This is pretty mild but with a bit of a kick. Just ramp up the salsa mix if you want something spicier.
Makes about 10-12 servings
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup sugar
½ cup sour cream or crème fraiche
1 ¾ cup whole milk
½ Tbsp Los Chileros Christmas Salsa Mix (or more to taste)
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp baking powder
¼ cup corn, canned or frozen
¼ pine nuts (optional but very tasty)
1 cup shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
Preheat the oven to 400˚ F and grease an 8×12” baking dish.
Pour the milk into a measuring cup and add the Christmas salsa mix, giving it a good stir. In a large bowl, beat the softened butter and sugar together then add the eggs and sour cream or crème fraiche and mix until well blended. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder together then stir in the corn meal. Add the milk and dry ingredients to the butter/sugar/egg/sour cream mix, alternating between dry and milk. Mix in the corn, nuts and cheese.
Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the top is brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool before serving if you can bear to wait.
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