Content Produced in Partnership with Discover Ruidoso
Green Chiles aren’t just a staple of New Mexican cuisine; they’re a way of life. This versatile ingredient is a key component of Spanish, Mexican, and Native American foods. It's not uncommon for some recipes to call for the fare to be smothered like a salsa, while others have green chiles baked right into the dish. Described on Man v. Food as “lightly pungent like an onion, or with a subtly sweet, spicy, crisp, and smoky taste like garlic,” green chiles are not burn-your-mouth-off hot like a jalapeño, but instead offer a nice warm heat when roasted, so don’t be afraid if you’re not into spice. If you happen to come July through early September when it’s Hatch green chile season, well, let’s just say you hit the jackpot.
The next time you find yourself in New Mexico — and Ruidoso in particular — sample some of these creative delicacies made with the Southwest’s best and get ready to give your tongue a tingly treat. Be careful, though, once you experience green chiles in all their glory, pretty soon you’ll be craving them.
Dishes to seek out:
1. Green Chile Cheeseburger – A standard offering at most taverns, Hall of Flame Burgers and Chileo’s are standouts for their juicy, all-American pub fare.
2. Green Chile Apple Pie – Upping the creativity factor, who said green chiles can’t be dessert? Tina’s Cafe offers this unique treat that combines sweet and spicy flavor profiles in a slice big enough to share. Despite the massive portions, there’s no shame in going back for seconds.
3. Green Chile Burrito – Another traditional offering, you can get a burrito smothered in green chile at almost any Mexican restaurant, but our go-to picks are Porky’s and Casa Blanca for meals the size of your head (these are not meant to be hand-held, you’ll definitely need a knife and fork).
4. Green Chile Peanut and Pistachio Brittle – A delightful snack from The Fruit Stand, pistachios are another local New Mexican treat that combine salty, sweet, and spicy notes. Get a bag to go, they make a great gift to bring home for family and friends.
5. Green Chile Stew – This is considered the “standard” way to eat green chile — and Coloradans and purists will tell you it's the only way. You can sample green chile stew at Lincoln County Grill. If you’re less hungry, get a cup (not a bowl) and a side salad because it can be heavy and a bit dense with the pork.
6. Green Chile Potato Soup – A more creative concoction, Cornerstone Bakery’s signature soup contains chunky potatoes and green chiles simmered in chicken broth I like to call nectar of the gods. Kidding, but it was so good I took another cup to go. For double the green chile action, you can get it as a side to the Hatch Green Chile Cheddar Club.
7. Sandwiches on Hatch Green Chile Cheddar Bread – Cornerstone Bakery knows you’re above basic wheat or white toast.
8. Green Chile Wine – Called Besito Caliente, which translates to “a little hot kiss” from Noisy Water Winery, this bright green liquid the color of mouthwash is an acquired taste, but it's milder than it smells and has won a handful of awards. You can sample it for free with the purchase of a wine flight for $5, which includes your choice of three other local blends.
9. Omelets – Tina’s Café boasts a green chile pork omelet, but you could also get any of their omelets smothered in a rich green chile cream sauce that’s thick enough for dipping (and licking the plate clean).
10. Santa Fe Quiche – One of their signature dishes, Cornerstone Bakery takes filo dough and builds their quiches inside out so the ingredients are all wrapped in a nice doughy pouch. The pastry is stuffed with eggs, bacon, ham, bell peppers, onions, cheddar cheese, jalapeños, and you guessed it, green chiles.
11. Green Chile Beef Jerky – Another standout snack from the Land of Enchantment, you can try this house-made jerky at The Fruit Stand – but be warned, it does have a kick.
12. Green Chile Butter – An artisan product you can pickup at Noisy Water Winery, spread this upgraded butter on toast or an English muffin for a morning jolt. It may even do the job of coffee.
13. Southwest Mac and Cheese – We love mac and cheese that’s creamy and has just a hint of heat. You can pick up this iconic dish from Cornerstone Bakery.
14. Green Chile Cheesesteak – This man-sized sandwich is humongous, greasy and meaty. Find it at Big D's Downtown Dive in Roswell.
15. Green Chile Cheese – With the purchase of a wine tasting at Noisy Water, you’ll also get a complimentary cheese tasting to pair your sips with. Along with creative fusions like bacon cheddar and sun dried tomato basil cheese, they have both green chile cheddar and green chile jack to nosh on.
16. Hawt Bird Quesadilla – Bar food from the Hidden Tap, pair your local thirst-quencher with a bite of tortilla, chicken and green chile cheese.
17. Green Chile Tamales – A favorite Mexican dish, tamales from Tina’s Café are simply a must.
Bonus: Plenty of artisan vendors and gourmet shops around Ruidoso sell green chile seasoning salt, salsas and jams to bring home with you, which is a great way to add a touch of Southwest to your cooking. You can also bring home a bushel of chiles to experiment in the kitchen (pre-roasted!) if you check a bag of ice (like most vegetables, they must remain cool).