I have talked about chilies before- sweet chili being a great side for a meal or jalapenos to top off a delicious dish. Now I want to draw your attention to the chilies with NO heat yet plenty of flavor. I have really become excited about Mexican cuisine and admire the simple process of extracting a deeper flavor when cooking the correct way with the right ingredient. I ask the guys at work questions all the time and they feed me with their childhood memories of mamma cooking in the kitchen. After putting some of their advise to the test I can understand why they still remember.
Yesterday I was playing around with the New Mexican Chile. It is a long deep red chili you buy in dried form just about anywhere in the States- for those of you in other countries, have a look and see if you can find it, it is well worth the search.
The New Mexican Chili has a very deep yet slightly smoky flavor with no heat. When I was making the salsa above, I heated the chilies in a small fry pan without oil to blister the skin. When the skin was an off black color and it swelled with the heat I then soaked them in boiling water to soften. Discarding the seeds and stem I blended it with fresh tomato, garlic and lime juice. The taste- fresh yet earthy. Wondering the best way to enjoy eating the salsa, I decided to make a beef stew with tomato paste, beef, veggies and stock. I popped it in the oven to cook, then for the last 30 minutes I folded the salsa through, left it uncovered and waited to see what happened.
WOW- The beef was as tender as can be, the flavor was rich with a hint of smoke, yet a touch of citrus from the lime juice- it was like a power house of flavor and to finish it off I added fresh cilantro and mashed avocado....The sad part about the whole meals was, I didn't even get to eat it! I had to work so I left it in the hands of Nic who happily informed me 'we all loved it' and ' Max hadn't eaten a meal this fast in ages'. Granted I was very happy to hear the 3 year old, 6 year old and the 30 something all enjoyed dinner, but a sample taste would of been nice!