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Make a Breakfast of Carne Adovada with Eggs

“One of the glories of New Mexican cooking, carne adovada is meltingly tender pork marinated and braised in freshly ground red chile sauce,” write Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison in “The Rancho de Chimayó Cookbook” (Lyons Press, $24.95). “Nothing makes a more thrilling start to the day in home kitchens, the dish usually would be made a night or two ahead for dinner, since it slow bakes for several hours and improves with a day or two’s age. Pairing it with creamy eggs creates a perfect match of soothing and rousing.”

Carne Adovada with Eggs

Carne Adovada with Eggs

Carne Adovada with Eggs

3/4-1 cup Carne Adovada, warmed (see related recipe here)
Canola or vegetable oil for frying
2 large eggs
Salt, to taste
Black, pepper, to taste

Pour a thick film of oil into a heavy medium skillet over medium heat.

Eggs are most often prepared sunnyside up for this dish. Crack the eggs into the skillet and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Fry until the whites have set.

Quickly spoon carne adovada onto a plate in a lery about 1 inch thick. Top with eggs. Serve immediately.

Makes 1 serving.

From “The Rancho de Chimayó Cookbook” by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison

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Savor the Intoxicating Flavors of the Rancho de Chimayó

Long before I ever visited New Mexico, friends told me of the special red chile that comes from the town of Chimayó, which the locals would string together in ristras to dry in the sun.

Sharon Stewart’s photographs fill the cookbook.

That may seem odd given how many chiles, both red and green, are harvested throughout the state, but you’ll find Chimayó chile powder sold in in towns throughout the region and often at prices higher than others from across the state. That little extra is worth it to those who like the balance of sweetness, heat and intensity that marks the heirloom chile.

It’s also one reason that many travel to the tiny town each year to stock up. Another is the Rancho de Chimayó Restaurant, which the Jaramillo family has been running for almost 50 years. In honor of its approaching golden anniversary, Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison’s “The Rancho de Chimayó Cookbook: The Traditional Cooking of New Mexico” (Lyons Press, $24.95) has been reissued and updated — and what a pleasure it is to have.

This was one of the Jamison’s earliest books, before they went on to write “Texas Home Cooking,” “Smoke and Spice” and others in a career that has earned them four James Beard Awards. For this edition of “The Rancho de Chimayó,” they have gone back to update their history of the restaurant, which Arturo and Florence Jaramillo, opened in 1965, and expanded on the number of recipes included.

rancho cookbook1The entire volume speaks to a culture that embraces its history in both the foods that are served and the methods used, from using chicos instead of pinto beans when available to secrets for making tamales. The Chile con Queso recipe is made with Velveeta, which may not seem traditional, but the Jamisons remind us that this processed cheese food dates back to the 1920s and quickly became a staple in New Mexican homes because it melts so easily and smoothly, so they still use it in this dish even as more and more cheeses are becoming available.

The authors also offer a fascinating story of the Chimayó chile itself. It seems that the chile was so sought after in the 1880s that residents would trade it for what they needed. In dealing with the folks from San Luis, “they would exchange 140 pounds of wheat or 16 pounds of beans for two of the scarlet ristras,” they write. “Their potatoes fetched far less, only a ristra and a half for a full sack.” The Depression hit Chimayó hard and the price of the chile took a nosedive, when a ristra went from about $1 apiece down to 35 cents.

rancho signIn the restaurant, you’ll find chiles in most every dish, which is one way in which it separated itself from the crowd and drew the attention of food writers and chile lovers alike. Most have taken to its signature dish, Carne Advocada, which takes a little time to prepare but is worth every step. The end result, whether you make it with Chimayó chiles or what you can find at the market, is rich and deeply satisfying. You control the level of the heat in the dish, by using chiles only as hot as you can handle.

This is a stew that tastes better a few days after you prepare it, so don’t be in a rush to eat it. Also, save a little of the adovada leftovers to be used for breakfast with a fried egg on top. Fans of New Mexican cuisine know that the fried egg appears on stacked enchiladas there, so this seems like a natural variation. Corn tortillas on the side of that bowl, to sop up every last bit of that thick sauce and any egg yolk, would also be a great idea.

A few other recipes I’ve enjoyed were the restaurant’s Classic Margarita, made only with tequila, triple sec and lemon juice (not lime). That’s right: No syrup, no agave nectar and no sugar to pollute the flavors. Plus, their Sour Cream Apple Pie with a streusel topping is both easy to made and disappears quickly, especially when you serve it with a scoop of ice cream on the side. The book recommends vanilla, but we tried it with both cinnamon and dulce de leche, both of which gilded the lily quite well.

By the way, the restaurant has its San Antonio connections, which extend beyond those of us who make regular trips there. Laura Ann Jaramillo Ross, the original owners’ daughter, and her daughter, Lauren Belen Jaramillo Ross, live in town. They, too, are said to visit Chimayó regularly. And who wouldn’t, when there are Chimayó chiles and Carne Adovado to be had?

Sample some of “The Rancho de Chimayó Cookbook” with these recipes:


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Rancho de Chimayó’s Carne Adovada Is a Treasure for Chile Lovers

“Connoisseurs generally consider the village of Chimayó’s heirloom red chile to the best available. Its flavorful balance of sweetness and heat is one of the secrets to Rancho de Chimayó’s signature dish, Carne Adovada,” write Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison in their updated “The Rancho de Chimayó Cookbook” (Lyons Press, $24.95). “Not enough true Chimayó chile is grown today to use in all of the restaurant’s dishes, so it is saved for this specialty. Another variety of New Mexican red can be substituted in the recipe, of course, but the resulting flavor won’t be quite as complex. The dishes reaches a peak of flavor when the preparation is spread over two days, so that the pork can marinate in the red chile overnight. Carne adovada is among the spiciest and most popular items on the restaurant’s menu and, like the local chile, is considered nonpareil. Accompany the meat with beans and posole or chicos.”

Carne Adovada

Carne Adovada

Carne Adovada

Chile Sauce and Marinade:
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces (about 25) whole dried New Mexican red chile pods
4 cups water
2 tablespoons diced yellow onion
1 tablespoon crushed chile pequin (dried hot New Mexican red chile flakes)
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried Mexican oregano

3 pounds thick boneless shoulder pork chops
Shredded romaine or iceberg lettuce and diced tomato, optional

Warm the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until just golden. Immediately remove from the heat.

Break the stems off the chile pods and discard the seeds. It isn’t necessary to get rid of every seed, but most should be removed. Place the chiles in a sink or large bowl, then rinse carefully and drain.

Place the damp pods in one layer on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 5 minutes, watching carefully to avoid burning them. The chiles can have a little remaining moisture. Remove them from the oven and let cool. Break each chile into two or three pieces.

Purée in a blender half of the pods with 2 cups of water. You will still be able to see tiny pieces of chile pulp, but they should be bound in a smooth, thick liquid. Pour into the saucepan with the garlic. Repeat with the remaining pods and water.

Stir the remaining sauce ingredients into the chile sauce and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce will thicken but should remain a little soupy. Remove from the heat. Cool to room temperature.

Trim the fat from the cut and cut it into 1- to 2-inch cubes. (If you plan to use the meat in burritos, the cubes should be on the small size.) Stir the pork into the chile sauce and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Oil a large baking dish that has a cover.

Transfer the carne adovada and its sauce to the baking dish. Cover and bake until the meat is completely tender and sauce has cooked down, about 3 hours. Stir once about halfway through. If the sauce remains watery after 3 hours, stir well again and cook uncovered for about 15 minutes more.

Serve hot, garnished with lettuce and tomato, if you wish.

Ahead-of-time note: Carne adovada is a perfect make-ahead dish. It will keep improving for at least several days. Add a couple of tablespoons of water before reheating in the oven or on the stove.

Variation: Chicken adovada can be made in a similar fashion. Use 3 pounds of chicken breasts cut into cubes as above. Bake for 2 to 2 1/2 hours until very tender.

Makes 6-8 servings.

From “The Rancho de Chimayó Cookbook” by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison

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A Sour Cream Custard Is a Welcome Addition to Apple Pie

Sour Cream Apple Pie

Sour Cream Apple Pie

You might not think that you can improve on apple pie, but this recipe from the Rancho de Chimayó Restaurant in Chimayó, N.M., makes a powerful argument. The streusel topping alone will be enough to entice some, but it’s the custardy filling with eggs and sour cream that really takes it over the top.

The recipe is one of many in Cheryl Alter Jamison and Bill Jamison’s 50th anniversary edition of “The Rancho de Chimayó Cookbook” (Lyons Press, $24.95). They explain its harvest-time appeal, when apples are at their freshest: “Chimayó cooks need a supply of tasty apple recipes for the period in late summer when the orchards are brimming with fruit. This streusel-topped pie needs no accompaniment, though a bill ball of vanilla ice cream can gild the lily if you wish.”

Cinnamon and dulce de leche ice creams also work beautifully. And apples at any time of year will make this pie a welcome treat.

Sour Cream Apple Pie

Pie Crust:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, well chilled, cut in small cubes
4 tablespoons lard or vegetable shortening, well chilled
3-4 tablespoons ice water

1 1/2 cups sour cream
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided use
3 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup flour, divided use
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 – 1 1/4 pounds tart or tangy baking apples
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, well chilled, cut in small cubes

Sour Cream Apple Pie with a streusel topping.

Sour Cream Apple Pie with a streusel topping.

Grease a 9-inch pie pan.

Prepare the pie crust. In a food processor, pulse together the flour and salt, then scatter the butter over the flour and quickly pulse several times just to submerge the butter. Scoop the lard into small spoonfuls and scatter them over the butter-flour mixture; pulse again quickly several more times until they disappear into the flour, too. Sprinkle in 2 tablespoons of the ice water and pulse again quickly, just until the water disappears.

Dump the mixture onto a work surface. Lightly rub the dough with your fingers, adding more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, as needed. When the dough holds together when compacted with your fingers, it’s ready. Pat the dough into a fat disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Roll out the dough with a floured rolling pin on a floured work surface into a thin round about 2 inches larger than the pie pan. Arrange the crust in the pie pan, avoiding stretching it. Crimp the edge evenly, and refrigerate the crust for at least 15 additional minutes.

Preheat the oven to 357 degrees.

Prepare the filling. Whisk together in a medium bowl the sour cream, eggs, vanilla, 1 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, nutmeg and salt until smooth. Peel and core the apples, then slice them very thin. Arrange the apple slices in the pie shell. Pour in the sour cream mixture, coating all of the fruit.

Bake the pie for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking until the filling is puffed and golden and the apples are tender, 40 to 45 additional minutes.

While the pie bakes, stir together in a small bowl the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and 1/3 cup flour with the cinnamon and pinch of salt. Blend in the butter with your fingertips until the topping mixture forms small clumps.

Remove the pie from the oven. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Scatter the topping evenly over the top of the pie and bake until browned lightly, 8 to 10 minutes.

Cool the pie on a baking rack for at least 45 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 1 pie serving 8 or more.

From “The Ranch de Chimayó Cookbook” by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison


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