Franni Ferrero enjoys the fall air in Santa Fe with her husband Jeff and one of their pooches, Flaco. "That's 'Skinny' in Spanish," says Franni. Franni hosts a tamale-making party for her parents, cousins, niece and friends. "It's a wonderful way to celebrate my dad's birthday. We share a lot of laughs and good conversation."

"We love our chile in New Mexico," says Franni Ferrero, of Santa Fe, New Mexico. "In fact, our state question is 'Red or Green?' It means do you want red or green chile on your meal? Because my mom was raised here, we always had a lot of green chile growing up. I didn't know that everyone didn't eat it!

"During chile season in late summer and early fall, many New Mexicans buy fresh chiles and roast their own. But just about every grocery store and a lot of the local farms sell and roast the chile while you wait. We typically buy chile by the bushel or gunnysack."

The roaster is essentially a barrel on its side that can be hand-cranked while it burns. "They light that baby up, throw your chiles in there and--if they are really good--they'll do it just right so the chiles are easy to peel," explains Franni, who packages and freezes the chiles to eat into the next season.

"People who visit our state during the fall seem to really enjoy this wonderful tradition. The delicious smell of fresh green chiles being roasted always makes

my mouth water. It just makes you want to cook traditional meals that have been around for decades."

Some of those tried-and-true chile recipes come from Franni's Spanish-Basque mother, who grew up in New Mexico ranch country as one of eight children.

"My grandfather was the majordomo where they lived, an official in charge of the irrigation system. My mom did a lot of cooking for the family because my grandmother was busy farming the 30 acres on their small ranch."

Franni is thankful to live close to her parents, who have been married for 66 years, and shares many meals with them. Her mom can't be on her feet for too long, so she sits in a chair near the kitchen and guides Franni's father through their favorite recipes. "My dad wasn't anywhere near the kitchen when we were growing up, but at almost 90, he's learning to cook," says Franni.

"He makes a killer Reuben and is an excellent chopper. He'll get everything

ready for the enchiladas and then my mom will come in and make them."

New Mexican enchiladas are stacked open-face, rather than rolled like Mexican enchiladas. "We put a corn tortilla in hot oil to soften it, tap the grease off from it, layer with pork and red chile, onion and cheese, then stack another. You fry an egg and put it on top."

Franni's family gets together a few times a year to make another New Mexican delicacy, tamales. "We start early in the morning and if there are a lot of us here we might make as many as 200. We sit around the table and catch up on each other's lives. My mother is in charge and keeps us in line to not pick at the food too much while we're working! This year, I'll make some Green Chile Stew to keep us going. It's a great cold-weather dish, but we eat it all year long. It's great served with flour tortillas."

Franni shares the recipe for her mouthwatering stew here, plus a fresh Pico de Gallo starring chipotle peppers, and her brother Peter's recipe for a delicious quiche with Southwestern flavor.

----As told to Emily Tyra

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Green Chile Stew

Franni likes to serve this hearty dish with flour tortillas for scooping up the delicious sauce.

  • 2 lbs. boneless pork, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 TB. flour
  • 2 TB. butter, lard, oil or bacon drippings
  • 1 Cup chopped onion (1 large onion)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (1/2 tsp. MINCED GARLIC)
  • 3 Cups chopped, peeled tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • 2-3 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 tsp. GARLIC SALT
  • 1/2 tsp. MEXICAN OREGANO
  • 1/4 tsp. GROUND CUMIN
  • 3-5 Cups water
  • 1-2 tsp. PORK SOUP BASE
  • 20 whole green chile peppers, peeled and chopped (or four 4.5-oz. cans chopped green chiles)

Lightly coat the pork cubes with the flour. In a large, heavy skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Brown the pork in small batches and remove to a bowl. Add the onion and garlic to the skillet and cook until softened. Return the pork to the skillet. Add the tomatoes, potatoes, GARLIC SALT, OREGANO and CUMIN. Add enough water to cover the contents of the skillet. Stir in the SOUP BASE. Cover and let simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally and adding water as needed. Add the green chiles and simmer for 30 minutes or longer, until the flavors are blended. Add extra water and SOUP BASE as needed.

Prep. time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours
Serves: 6-8

Nutritional Information: Servings 8;
Serving Size 1 1/2 cups (385g); Calories 290; Calories from fat 90; Total fat 10g; Cholesterol 85mg; Sodium 320mg; Carbohydrate 23g; Dietary Fiber 3g.

Need any spices for this recipe?

Spice Price Quantity
Garlic Salt 1.4 oz. 1/4 cup jar $3.99
Oregano Mexican .4 oz. 1/2 cup jar $3.79
Cumin Ground .9 oz. 1/4 cup jar $3.55
Garlic Minced 1.2 oz. 1/4 cup jar $3.79
Pork Soup Base and Seasoning 8 oz. jar $10.85

Southwestern Quiche

According to Franni, "This delicious quiche dish came from my brother, Peter. It's got that Southwestern taste and substitutes corn tortillas for pie crust."

  • 2-3 strips bacon
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 small bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 Cup sliced mushrooms, optional
  • 1 medium red or gold potato, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 2-3 green chiles, diced
  • 2 corn tortillas, toasted and quartered
  • 2 Cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 Cup milk
  • 1/2 Cup half & half
  • 3/4 tsp. GARLIC SALT
  • 1/4 tsp. GROUND CUMIN
  • 1 tomato, sliced

Preheat oven to 350°. In a frying pan over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp. Set aside on paper towels to drain. Add the onion, bell peppers and mushrooms to the pan and cook until softened. While the veggies cook, chop the bacon. Remove the veggies from the pan. Place the potato slices in the pan and cook until lightly browned on both sides.

Spray a 9-inch pie pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place half of the green chiles in the bottom of the pan. Cover with the tortillas. Sprinkle with half of the cheese. Top with the veggie mixture and the bacon. Place the potato slices over the top and finish up with the remaining cheese. In a bowl, mix together the eggs, milk, half & half, GARLIC SALT and CUMIN. Pour the egg mixture over the quiche filling. Place the sliced tomato and remaining chiles on top. Sprinkle lightly with GROUND CHIPOTLE or ARIZONA DREAMING and bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes.

Prep. time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 40-45 minutes
Serves: 6-8

Nutritional Information: Servings 8;
Serving Size 3/4 cup (178g); Calories 250; Calories from fat 150; Total fat 16g; Cholesterol 150mg; Sodium 380mg; Carbohydrate 13g; Dietary Fiber 2g.

Need any spices for this recipe?

Spice Price Quantity
Garlic Salt 1.4 oz. 1/4 cup jar $3.99
Cumin Ground .9 oz. 1/4 cup jar $3.55
Chipotle Pepper Ground 1.2 oz. 1/4 cup jar $5.59
Arizona Dreaming .9 oz. 1/4 cup jar $4.09

Pico de Gallo

Franni writes, "A great salsa that everyone enjoys! This is one of those 'to your taste' recipes. Typically, you should have slightly more tomatoes than onions and enough of the chipotle peppers to have them throughout the salsa. Then, add just enough cilantro to 'color' the dish."

  • 6 WHOLE CHIPOTLE PEPPERS or 2-3 jalapeño peppers
  • 6 small to medium vine-ripened tomatoes
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/4 Cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp. GROUND CUMIN (optional)
  • 1-2 limes

Soak the CHIPOTLE PEPPERS in enough hot water to cover them. While the peppers are softening, chop the tomatoes and onion into 1/4-inch pieces and place in a serving bowl. Remove the CHIPOTLES from the water, split them open and remove the stems, seeds and veins. Chop the peppers into 1/4-inch pieces and add to the bowl. Add the cilantro, GARLIC SALT, PEPPER and CUMIN and mix well. Squeeze the lime(s) over the pico and mix well. Let the pico marinate for about 45-60 minutes before serving with your favorite tortilla chips.

Prep. time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: none
Serves: 3 Cups

Nutritional Information: Servings 12;
Serving Size 1/4 cup (68g); Calories 15; Calories from fat 0; Total fat 0g; Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 240mg; Carbohydrate 4g; Dietary Fiber 1g.

Need any spices for this recipe?

Spice Price Quantity
Chipotle Peppers Whole .5 oz. bag $3.79
Garlic Salt 1.4 oz. 1/4 cup jar $3.99
Penzeys Freshly Ground Pepper 2.4oz 1/2 cup jar $5.69
Cumin Ground .9 oz. 1/4 cup jar $3.55