It’s Sunday morning, and if you’re like me, you wake up thinking of a great breakfast. Something with extra strong coffee with half and half and honey, hot green chile, runny eggs, maybe some beans and potatoes. This is how we eat here, and not surprisingly, the simplicity of a New Mexico breakfast, the recipe for which has been around hundreds of years, falls in line with Michael Pollan’s new Food Rules. I’ve been reading Pollan, thinking about how I’ve spent practically every day of my life thinking about what I put into my mouth (ask any woman – I’ll bet you 8 out of 10 have the same answer. We’re taught from early adolescence to agonize over calories and fat content and whether the burger is a worse choice than the steak. . .) and it s a welcome relief to finally have someone say, “Eat!”
Pollan’s rules are simple. First of all, eat. Just try to eat whole foods, fresh foods, avoid ingredients that the normal person wouldn’t keep in their pantry, and optimally choose foods grown close to home. Don’t eat foods with ingredients a third grader couldn’t pronounce. He says, “It’s not food if it’s delivered through the window of your car.” (I sorta beg to differ on this one – has he never been to Hurricane’s in Albuquerque or had a carne adovada burrito from Golden Fried?) My favorite rule is “Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” So my breakfast falls right in with his guidelines.
Yes, the New Mexico breakfast is a perfect example of Pollan’s rules followed. I want eggs (whole foods, and grown by a neighbor out by Revelto Creek), corn tortillas (made in Albuquerque, full of fiber), green chile sauce (love my Hatch green chiles, although I’m also a huge fan of the Wagner Farms green chile in Corrales) and pinto beans. I frequently wake on Sunday wishing I lived closer to the Frontier (previous post) or the Guadalupe Cafe in Santa Fe (omg! I can’t believe I used that term, but really, is there better breakfast food in the world?) or Weck’s in Albuquerque or Dick’s in Las Cruces. If I were more ambitious I would run a comb through my hair and pull on my sweats and go into Logan to the Angler’s Grill (formerly the Fireside Inn) and have huevos rancheros, which are, I have to say, quite yummy. But I’m enjoying the way the lake looks this morning and thinking of eating on the deck, and I decide a couple of over easy eggs with my leftover pinto beans and green chile sauce will do just fine.
And in honor of the traditional New Mexico breakfast, I’m going to give you the recipe for the simplest green chile sauce I know. You’ll need a couple of garlic cloves, just a few chopped onions, olive oil, flour or corn starch for thickening, and at least 1/2 cup of green chile. I always recommend fresh green chile – if you’re lucky enough to live where you can get it. Our local FFA chapter sells and roasts bags of chile each Labor Day weekend, and I had the foresight to buy three towsacks full last September – we go through it soooo quickly. By July I’ll be buying Bueno frozen chile at Logan Food Market, but until then, we’re having fresh chile right out of the freezer! If you can’t get fresh, you can always order Bueno from www.weshipchile.com. And please take time to go to their website and see their great recipes at www.bueno.com.
My Very Simple but Delicious Green Chile Sauce (serves two):
Chop two cloves garlic and 1/4 onion and then saute both in a couple tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. After they’re thoroughly sauteed, throw in at least 1/2 cup chopped green chile (I always add more because I want leftover sauce). Mix a tablespoon of flour or cornstarch with a cup of water (thoroughly dissolving the dry into the liquid) and then pour this liquid into your green chile to thicken the sauce. Mix thoroughly and let simmer for five to ten minutes. I always add some black pepper and garlic salt (can you ever have too much garlic flavor?) to my mix, but you may want to wait until you get to the table for that. Add water to your mixture if it’s too thick.
While your eggs are frying (in olive oil spray if you want to go totally healthy), dip a corn tortilla in your green chile sauce and lay it on a plate. Eggs go on the tortilla (scrambled is fine if you’re not a fan of the runny yolk), and then smother your eggs with the green chile sauce. I was lucky enough this morning to have leftover pinto beans (I make a pot almost weekly – they’re the perfect, inexpensive addition to any meal, and with some cornbread and onions and fresh chile, can be their own meal), so I added those as a side dish. And headed out on the deck to celebrate the day.
I’m all for eating healthy. I’m all for not thinking so hard about the food I eat. And I’m mostly for enjoying every bite. Luckily the food in my native state of New Mexico allows me all those privileges!