Christmas Enchiladas and that Green Chili Sauce
I promised to share recipe inspiration after a recent girls trip to Santa Fe. First a quick recap with general impressions of Santa Fe. I loved the feel and atmosphere of that place. It’s hard to describe the vibe…new age-y? spiritual? artsy? Yes, most definitely artsy. Chili peppers were everywhere! I learned a new word; “ristras”. Ristras are vertical arrangements of dried, large chili peppers. These ristras hung from lamp poles around the center town square. Along the periphery of the square were fun jewelry stands, cute shops, and restaurants serving dishes loaded up with those peppers.
We even had our own little ristra outside the nice house we rented. There was a last minute mix up with our Airbnb. Fortunately for us the place we ended up with was even nicer than the original. An added bonus was that it was also closer to all the amenities, particularly the art galleries on Canyon Road and the cute little town square.
What is the difference between Mexican food and food served New Mexico? I’m still questing for answers to that question. My research may require another trip 😉 One thing to note is that the food in New Mexico is often served with either a red sauce or a green sauce poured over the top of it. The green sauce was especially prevalent in Santa Fe. There were many menu items with green chilis. The green sauce was often pureed green chilis. Sometimes the green sauce had tomatillos.
When ordering in restaurants we were often given the choice of red sauce, green sauce, or if you couldn’t decide, both! Having both sauces was termed, “Christmas chilis” – red and green sauce, get it? Not having to make too many decisions while on a relaxing girls trip sounded like the right option for me.
At the start of the trip I always chose the Christmas chilis option. I even had it on my breakfast one day. It was fun to experience both sauces. By the end of the trip I figured out that I prefer the green sauce. For me the green sauce was not only lighter, but also a bit easier for to digest.
I’m not one to be a short order cook at home. I’ve done that for too many years when our kids were younger and pickier. These days it’s one dinner, eat it or leave it (and go hungry!). I did, however, decide to give Christmas chili sauces a shot at home with enchiladas. I made one tray of enchiladas with red sauce and one tray of enchiladas with green sauce. Man did the family love that!
It was a popular dinner night! Funny how such small change, using a different sauces, makes such a big impact. In case you missed the original enchilada recipe post, Skinny Crockpot Enchiladas, you can find it HERE. To make Christmas enchiladas follow the enchilada recipe but hold off on adding any salsa or red enchilada sauce until after the chicken is cooked up. Take the cooked chicken mixture and separate it into two bowls. Add your salsa or red enchilada sauce to one half saving some for on top. Add green enchilada sauce or pureed green chilis to the other half (again saving half for on top). The rest of the recipe is the same. Wrap in tortillas, sprinkle in light cheeses, and bake.
Coincidently, as I was in the midst of writing this post, I got a photo from my hubs, Bob, who ventured down to the LA area this week for work. Being that much closer to Mexico, L.A. is loaded with good Mexican food. By the looks of this photo, Christmas chili sauce is not reserved for Santa Fe and New Mexican cuisine only…
Hope you try the sauce switcheroo. If you make Christmas sauce enchiladas share with me which you prefer – the red or the green sauce?
Peace & Hugs,