New Mexico chile or New Mexican chile (Spanish:chile de Nuevo México, chile del norte) is a group of cultivars of the chile pepper fromthe US State of New Mexico, first grown by Pueblo and Hispano communities throughoutSanta Fe de Nuevo México, the modern peppers were developed by pioneer horticulturist FabiánGarcia at New Mexico State University in 1894, then known as the New Mexico College of Agricultureand Mechanic Arts.
The New Mexico chile peppers, which typicallygrow from a green to a ripened red, are popular in the cuisine of the Southwestern UnitedStates, the broader Mexican cuisine, and an integral staple of New Mexican cuisine.
The chile pepper is one of New Mexico's statevegetables, and is referenced in the New Mexico state question "Red or Green?"Chile grownin the Hatch Valley, in and around Hatch, New Mexico, is called Hatch chile, but noone cultivar of chile is specific to that area, which is smaller than the acreage usedto produce chiles with the "Hatch" label.
The peppers grown in the valley, and alongthe entire Rio Grande, from northern Taos Pueblo to southern Isleta Pueblo, are a signaturecrop to New Mexico's economy and culture.
The New Mexico green chile pepper flavor has beendescribed as lightly pungent similar to an onion, or like garlic with a subtly sweet,spicy, crisp, and smoky taste.
The ripened red retains the flavor, but addsan earthiness and bite while aging mellows the front-heat and delivers more of a back-heat.
The spiciness depends on the variety of NewMexico chile pepper.
== History ==Many types of peppers were first grown by Pueblo residents, who continue to grow theirown peppers each with a distinct pungency, sweetness, taste, and heat.
For example, the Zia Pueblo pepper has a bitter-sweetflavor when it matures into its red color.
When the Spanish arrived, they introducedEuropean cultivation techniques to the chile pepper, and eventually created cultivars intheir towns.
The New Mexican type cultivars were developed by pioneer horticulturist,Fabián Garcia, whose major release was the 'New Mexico No.
9' in 1913.
These cultivars are "hotter" than others tosuit the tastes of New Mexicans in their traditional foods.
Selective breeding began with 14 lineagesof 'Pasilla', 'Colorado', and 'Negro' cultivars, from throughout New Mexico and Southern Colorado.
These first commercially viable peppers werecreated to have a "larger smoother, fleshier, more tapering and shoulderless pod for canningpurposes.
"Internationally renowned expert on chile genetics, breeding, and germplasmevaluation, Paul Bosland, founded the Chile Pepper Institute at New Mexico State Universityto study New Mexico's iconic state vegetable and peppers from around the world.
== Cultivation ==New Mexico chile peppers are grown from seeds – and each of the individual pepper typesis specifically bred and grown to be disease-resistant and provide consistent and healthy plantswithin their specific regions.
Altitude, climate, soil, and acreage affectsa crop's taste and heartiness, making the New Mexican region unique for plant propagation.
The Rio Grande bosque, mountains, and highdeserts provide the appropriate regional environment for growing chiles.
To ensure that a variety's lineage remainsdisease-resistant and maintains optimal growth within its heritage region, seeds from specificplants are carefully selected.
An example of a New Mexican chile grown outsidethe state is the 'Anaheim' pepper which are extremely resilient in multiple altitudes.
A quirky aspect of the New Mexico chile pepperregards reintroducing seeds from their heritage soil since each successive generation becomessusceptible to disease and it loses its flavor.
Therefore, chile pepper farmers usually orderseeds from their heritage soils, every few generations, to reinvigorate their crop.
This allows the New Mexico chile pepper growersto perpetuate successful productions.
Seed distributors and sellers from New Mexico,California, and Colorado provide this service to farmers.
New Mexico chile peppers grown in New Mexicoare the most sought after, since their flavor, texture, and hardiness are heavily dependenton their growing environment.
The peppers were originally grown by the Pueblo,and each of their distinct Pueblo peppers grows best in its heritage soil.
This same trend has continued with other NewMexico chile peppers, those grown by the farmers among the Spanish, Mexican, and American frontiersmen.
Among the New Mexico-grown chile peppers,the ones with the most accolades are grown along the Rio Grande, especially along theHatch Valley.
A certification program was started in 2014, New Mexico Certified Chile, attemptingto certify the growing of New Mexico chile peppers.
The program tries to protect New Mexico chileconsumers from falsely labeled products, while protecting farmers from a potential diminishingof demand, and to allow larger amounts of New Mexico chile to be grown within the state.
Since the program is rather new, it has garneredsome criticism, especially in regard to restricting smaller farmers who have been growing peppersfrom lineages of more than 400 years of seeds.
=== Hatch chile ===Hatch chile refers to varieties of species of the genus Capsicum which are grown in theHatch Valley, an area stretching north and south along the Rio Grande from Arrey, NewMexico, in the north to Tonuco Mountain to the southeast of Hatch, New Mexico.
The soil and growing conditions in the HatchValley create a unique terroir which contributes to the flavor of chile grown there.
Most of the varieties of chile cultivatedin the Hatch Valley have been developed at New Mexico State University over the last130 years.
Hatch chile can be purchased locally in manyparts of the Southwest.
Some distributors use the "Hatch" name, butdo not actually grow and process their chiles in the Hatch Valley.
To protect Hatch and other New Mexican growers,state legislators passed a 2012 law prohibiting the sale in New Mexico of peppers describedas "New Mexican" unless they were grown in New Mexico or came with a prominent "Not grownin New Mexico" disclaimer.
Chiles grown around the town are marketedunder the name of the town, and are often sold fresh-roasted in New Mexico and neighboringstates in the early autumn.
=== Pueblo chiles ===Pueblo chiles have been cultivated by the Puebloan peoples of New Mexico for centuries.
The Acoma Pueblo chile pepper is mild, witha lightly flavorful pungency.
The Isleta Pueblo chile pepper develops afruity sweet flavor as it grows into its red chile state.
The Zia Pueblo chile pepper develops a bitter-sweetflavor when it matures into its red color, and its heat is similar to the 'Heritage 6-4'.
Theseancient Pueblo varieties should not be confused with chile peppers grown in Pueblo, Colorado,a variety of the guajillo chili, otherwise known as the mirasol pepper.
They are distinct in and of themselves, butare not related to New Mexico chile.
=== Rio Grande chile ===Along the rest of the Rio Grande, outside of the Hatch Valley, multiple other locationsgrow award-winning chiles in their own right.
Towns and cities across New Mexico have strongchile traditions, including; Chimayo, Española, Corrales, Lemitar, and San Antonio; and fromBosque Farms to Los Ranchos de Albuquerque in the Albuquerque area.
=== Outside of New Mexico === ==== Anaheim pepper ==== An Anaheim pepper is a mild variety of thecultivar 'New Mexico No.
9' and commonly grown outside of New Mexico.
It is related to the 'New Mexico No.
6 and9', but when grown out of state they have a higher variability rate.
The name 'Anaheim' derives from Emilio Ortega,a farmer who brought the seeds from New Mexico to the Anaheim, California, area in 1894.
Thechile "heat" of 'Anaheim' varies from 500 to 2,500 on the Scoville scale.
== Uses == === Food === Green chiles are served roasted and peeled,whole or diced, and in various sauces.
The most common uses for these diced chiles,or sauces, is in enchiladas, burritos, burgers, french fries, or rice.
They are also served whole raw or as friedor baked chiles rellenos.
New Mexican-style chiles rellenos follow themuch more traditional Mexican technique of being covered with egg batter and fried, althoughvariations and casseroles do exist.
In addition to local restaurants, many nationalfood chains such as McDonald's and Jack in the Box offer green chile on many of theirmenu items.
The red chile, the matured green chile, is frequently dried and ground to apowder.
These dried or powdered peppers are turnedinto a red chile sauce.
The dried peppers are rehydrated by boilingin a pot, and then blended with various herbs and spices, such as onion, garlic, and occasionallyMexican oregano.
The red chile powder is usually simply blendedwith water, herbs, and spices.
Serving both red and green chile sauces ona dish is sometimes referred to as "Christmas" style.
Both green and red chile can be dried andturned into a powder, though this is more common with red chile.
==== Roasting ====Chile roasting refers to roasting of green chiles, most commonly occurring during harvestseason, in autumn, throughout New Mexico.
The process can be done at the time of purchase,in an oven (horno), or at home.
The commercial process, done at purchase, usually involvesan operator taking the part as chile roaster which involves standing near and turning acylindrical cage drum over propane fueled flames, ensuring the chile pods are heatedon every side, as they shed their skins; this ensures the chile skins blister appropriately,to allow for easier peeling of the chile.
This process is the most popular method, sincethe smell has become a staple during the early New Mexican autumn, it offers a physical displayof the chile, it offers the sound of the chiles crackling, the sight of the blistering andfalling skins, accompanied by the widely distributed smell of the roasting peppers.
Horno-roastingthe chiles, while done less often, is a traditional method of roasting the chile.
A more common method is simply roasting overan open flame on gas stove-tops and grills.
=== Art ===A ristra is an arrangement of drying chile pods, and is a popular decorative design inthe state of New Mexico.
Some households use ristras as a means todry and procure red chile.
The red and green chile peppers are oftendepicted in New Mexican artwork as symbols of New Mexican cuisine.
== Sub-cultivars ==Though most New Mexico type peppers are long pod-type peppers, that ripen from green tored, the multitude of New Mexico type cultivars have a slight variance in taste, and widelyvarying appearances and heat levels.
Some varieties may turn yellow, orange, orbrown.
The most common New Mexico chile peppers arethe 'New Mexico 6-4', 'Big Jim', 'Sandia', 'No.
6', and 'No.
The improved 'Heritage 6-4', 'Heritage BigJim', and 'Sandia Select' cultivars provide a better yield and uniformity.
Peppers like the 'Chimayo', 'Velarde', 'Jemez','Escondida', 'Alcalde', 'San Filipe', 'Española', and several others, represent what is knownas New Mexico's unique landrace chiles, which provide their own unique tastes and usuallycommand a higher price.