I discovered Chicken Posole while in New Mexico and I had no idea how easy it is to make. Everyone LOVES this recipe!
What words come to mind when you think about New Mexico?
If you’d asked me this question a short six weeks ago, I would have said something like “hatch chiles, southwestern food, dry and hot”. Aside from the allure of visiting Hatch, NM and seeing my favorite chile growing before my eyes, I didn’t have a burning desire to visit.
So go ahead…ask me today which words come to mind when I think about New Mexico. Because now that I’ve been there, now that I’ve seen its countryside, held its earth in my hands and hugged more lovely people than I could ever count…the words I have for this incredible state are numerous and heartfelt. More than anything, it’s the people I remember most. It’s the feeling of pride and kindness and generosity that I took home with me. You know that saying that goes something like “People may not remember exactly what you did or said, but they will always remember how you made them feel”? That quote embodies my visit to New Mexico more than any other. That quote IS my visit to New Mexico.
I have a lot of favorite memories of this trip, but if I had to choose, one of the top would be my visit to the Hill Farm in Las Cruces. I had the pleasure of enjoying a “Farm-to-Table Tour” of the farm, although I’d describe it more like “cruising around the farm in Jay Hill’s truck, his dog Sam riding in the back, hearing stories of the Hill family, the pride they have in their role in the farming industry and, above all, lots of laughs”. Jay is an unassuming guy, intelligent yet humble, and his passion for farming and his state is infectious. I’d assumed that most of the farming done in the area would be chiles, but Jay’s farm produces pecans, onions, pinto beans and numerous other crops. Jay has even won national recognition as one of five agricultural ambassadors, an honor given to him by the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (I found that out after I’d left the farm; he’s far too humble to share that himself).
So there we were, taking a leisurely drive around the farm, and I was loving every second. We came upon another pickup truck when Jay stopped, chuckled and said, “Well, now you’re going to meet Jim”. We hopped out and a man who I’d assumed was one of the farm workers walked over with a big smile and an even bigger hug, all for me. I was instantly in love with this man and Jay and their farm and their warm, open hearts. As we were walking back to Jay’s pickup, Jim yelled, “Jay, stop by the house and get this lovely lady a bag of pecans out of the freezer.” Turns out that Jim is actually Jay’s dad, and we did swing by the house and I did get that bag of pecans. I’m not sure I’ve ever received a better gift! The pecans are now in my own freezer and I smile every time I see them.
Jay Hill is also an incredible photographer. With his permission, I lifted the two photos below from his Facebook page, along with the captions he wrote. I’ll let Jay and his photos speak for themselves:
I have 33 acres of hay left to bale tonight, and after watching the storms roll in I knew we were going to get rained out. I went down to the field to check and see if we had been hit, and there it was. We are dry in the south and it looks like we will get our window of opportunity! The wild gamut of emotions I go through day to day is ridiculous, but the views more than make up for it! Blessed to be a Southern New Mexico Farmer!
Take a minute to look into the heavens at night. Look at all of the stars shining down on this great country. I like to think these stars are the souls of our men and women who gave all, and they continue to watch over us. God placed us all in different places with different jobs, and those who serve, and have served, give us opportunity to accomplish our jobs with peace in mind. I have been granted the opportunity to do what I love and without our soldiers sacrifice I know I wouldn’t have these opportunities. Words cannot describe the gratitude I have for those who have fought and died protecting our freedom! My hat is off to the family’s who have waited on love ones they were never able to hold again. God Bless America!
And that was just the start of our day.
After we left the Hill Farm, we headed over to Ol’ Gringo Chile Co., where I was treated to a salsa tasting and some seriously killer food. The Ol’ Gringo Chile Co. makes not just salsas, but they also make a red chile and a green chile sauce, intended to be used in any number of dishes, including the Chicken Posole recipe I’m posting today. Three of their employees, Ivonne Sotelo, Gabriel Holguin and Nohemy Sotelo, all made recipes of their own for me to sample, and yowza, were they good! In addition to this Green Chile Chicken Posole, they also prepared a Red Chile Con Carne and a Green Chile Chicken and Rice Casserole. I’m not much of a jarred sauce for dinner girl, but I’m not kidding when I say that I’ll be ordering a case of both the green chile and the red chile sauces (I would have already but their generosity means I still have several of each left). Last week I had a New Mexico dinner party where we all sampled these dishes; no one could believe that they’d been made with jarred sauces! I sent my friend Shelly home with a couple of jars as well as some salsas for my parents. I still can’t decide which recipe is my favorite, but I suppose since the Chicken Posole was posted first, there’s the answer. Don’t fret, though, the others will be coming! The Red Chile Con Carne is so simple it’s almost not a recipe; just brown some pork, add the sauce and let it simmer away. Serve with some tortillas and boom! You’re done. And the flavor is deep and rich, almost buttery. My favorite salsa is their Aztec Meoqui; it is SERIOUSLY hot but it makes a killer dip mixed with some sour cream!
Our next stop was ¡Ándele! Restaurante in Mesilla for some seriously good food and hospitality. I let my hosts, Keith Whelpley (who manages the marketing side of Ol’ Gringo) and Chris Faivre, Director of Marketing & Communications for the Las Cruces Convention & Visitors Bureau, do my ordering for me. Again, these were down-to-earth guys who just wanted to share their love of Southern New Mexico; I never once felt anything but authenticity, passion and pride from these lovely folks. They were happy to take the reins and ordered us a lot of amazing food! I sampled tacos, enchiladas, even their posole…all were delicious. And if you have the chance to enjoy their food, too, my best advice is to save room for their homemade ice cream! I was so full my seams were bursting but I ate every last bite. And I’d happily do it all again!
While we were enjoying our lunch on the patio at ¡Ándele!, Keith mentioned that Jim, Jay’s dad from the farm, just happened to be sitting inside having lunch, too. He was sitting with two other gentleman and I came around the table so Jim couldn’t see me. I heard him say “she’s a food blogger” just before taking a bite of his lunch. I leaned down and whispered in his ear, “Yes, she is!” and laughed as he jumped out of his skin! We all had a good laugh at that and I had the pleasure of chatting with him a bit more before getting back to my lunch. But not before we took this picture together:
The next morning, I woke up in my hotel room and checked my Facebook page. I found the most unexpected surprise from Keith, one of my tour guides from the day before. My heart was so full from the amazing experiences I’d had and this lovely, thoughtful comment only confirmed what I’d already known…that the people in this lovely town in this lovely state are people I will always treasure. The food? AMAZING. The people? The best way I can describe them is that the food would never taste as good as it does without the love they all put into it. Here’s what I shared on my Facebook page in response to Keith’s message:
Yesterday was an amazing day. If you’ve been following along, you know that I’ve been on the Visit New Mexico tour and hopefully been enjoying seeing what I’ve been up to. I knew before I even arrived that I would fall in love with the food of New Mexico, but what I didn’t expect is that the people here would win my heart. I have met SO MANY friendly, kind and generous people here and my heart is so full. I have just one day left here and I will be incredibly sad to say goodbye to NM and its outstanding food, culture and rich heritage. To prove my point, this is what I woke up to, written on my Facebook wall by Keith Whelpley, business director for Ol’Gringo Chile Co.:
“Yesterday I had the pleasure of escorting Kristy Bernardo of the wicked noodle on a Farm-to-Fork tour in the Mesilla Valley here in Southern New Mexico. She is not what I expected. Food blogger. Food snob? NOT! She was curious, gracious and infectious. She won the hearts of everyone she met. For sure, she has a place in Southern New Mexico — where you find Mexican food Unplugged. Thanks for a fun time Kristy. If you ever break an axle while driving through the Mesilla Valley, we may not fix it, but you’ll never regret breaking down here. All the best in your food travels. ( I wonder, if you love food they call you a foodie. Does that mean if you love HOT food, you’re a hottie?)”
Keith, if it’s true I won the hearts of everyone I met yesterday, then mine is split between each and every one. I am humbled and honored to have been given the unexpected pleasure of meeting you all. From the moment I arrived here, I have felt as if I have a second home and a new family. I’ve always wondered why I have such an affinity for Hatch Chiles and now I know that it’s the love the people here put into them. I’ll be sorry to say goodbye to New Mexico tomorrow but I’m returning home with much more than I arrived with (and I don’t just mean all the great chiles, pecans, booze, salsa, beans and numerous other goodies you’ve all given me)! I’ve always loved cooking with chiles but I’ll never again be able to do so without smiling and reminiscing about the incredible time I’ve had here in your wonderful state. THANK YOU!!
I’ve done a lot of traveling as a result of this little blog, everywhere from Alaska to Africa. But nowhere have I ever felt like I had an instant second family as I did with the gracious people of New Mexico. I’m getting paid to write three articles and, quite honestly, I would gladly have done it all for free. And I’ll be posting many more than just three articles; there are simply too many great recipes to share and create to limit my experience to just three posts. I’ll try not to get too sappy in the next ones and stick to the recipes that I know you all come here for. But I simply couldn’t hold back this time…New Mexico, you officially have my heart.
Although I’d tried chicken posole before my New Mexico trip, it was there that I truly fell in love with it. La Posta had an incredible version (although it’s their margarita recipes and their red chile sauce that I’ll be sharing with you soon) and ¡Ándele’s! was also fantastic. This chicken posole recipe is right up there with those and, I promise you, every person you make this for will be asking for the recipe! It’s so simple with Ol’ Gringo’s sauce and it freezes beautifully so make a double batch! I served my Chicken Posole the way it was served to me: with shredded green cabbage, chopped cilantro and thinly sliced radishes as accompaniments. And, of course, a good squeeze of fresh lime!
I’m posting the chicken posole recipe exactly as it was shared with me by Ol’ Gringo, but I did make some minor adjustments. Split chicken breasts were on sale so I used those in place of breasts (remove the skin first). I simmered my chicken for quite awhile, too – about 45 minutes or so – just because I had the time and several other dishes on the stove at the same time. Once all the chicken posole ingredients were in the pot, I simmered it for at least another hour; again, because I had the time and it can only get better the longer it simmers. Having tasted their quicker version, however, I can attest that both ways are delicious!
This Chicken Posole is but one of many recipes coming your way from New Mexico! Tomorrow is Pineapple Jalapeño Salsa from Double Eagle restaurant and Thursday I’m bringing you my own creation, Creamy Hatch Chile Soup with Fresh Summer Corn (hatch chiles courtesy of Young Guns Produce). Then, throughout the next few months, I’ll be posting a few more here and there as promised. You definitely won’t want to miss the margarita recipes!
I’d like to thank Visit New Mexico for sponsoring my amazing trip and its resulting posts and recipes. You are all amazing to work with and I will be forever grateful that you chose me to participate in this fantastic campaign!
- 3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 1 #10 can Hominy, drained and rinsed
- 2 jars Ol’ Gringo Green Chile Sauce, Hot, Medium or Mild
- ½ Bunch of Cilantro, finely chopped
- Cilantro, lime, sliced radishes and cabbage for garnish
- Boil chicken breasts in broth until cooked.
- Remove chicken from broth and shred finely.
- Add Ol’ Gringo Gourmet Green Chile Sauce, shredded chicken, half of the cilantro and hominy to the chicken broth.
- Simmer for 20 minutes and serve.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro, sliced radishes and cabbage. Add a squeeze of lime for a zesty flavor!