If you’re new here, you might not know I originally hail from New Mexico, land of green chile heaven. Green chile must be one of the few foods that is still truly regional. Sure, you can buy cans of the stuff on shelves almost anywhere, but it’s nothing like the real thing. I mean, it would be like buying a frozen New York or Chicago-style pizza and claiming it’s as good as the real deal.
So imagine my surprise two weeks ago as I was strolling my usual Farmers’ Market and, lo and behold, there was an honest-to-goodness metal barrel roasting chiles over an open flame. Could. N’t. Believe it.
Now they were Anaheim chiles, not legit New Mexican chiles, but I’ll take it! Anaheims are a milder variety that came from New Mexican chile seeds planted in California, but they are missing the NM’s signature face-kicking spice. See? Gotta have that New Mexico terroir for the true experience, but the flavor is close enough to satisfy a poor exile in Oregon.
I’ve been eating green chile in everything lately: eggs, meatballs, and this little ditty that is simple, tasty New Mexican soul food. And of course, the “mac” is Paleo-compliant spaghetti squash-noodles (squoodles?).
1 spaghetti squash
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter, lard, tallow, coconut oil, or cooking fat of choice
1 lb. ground beef or bison
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
28 oz. can/box/jar diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. cayenne
sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
≈ 1 cup chicken or beef broth (optional)
1) You’ll need to plan ahead of time so the squash can be ready. Stab the squash a few times with a knife and roast it whole in a baking pan at 375°F for one hour. Let it cool enough to handle, then cut off the ends and slice it in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and membrane with a spoon, then use a fork to shred the squash into “noodles.” Place your mac in a bowl, pour olive oil over, S&P, then stir together and set aside.
2) Meanwhile, melt cooking fat in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add ground meat and onion, stirring occasionally until onion is translucent and meat is nearly cooked through. Add garlic and green chiles, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, spices, and S&P. Now add broth until mixture is a little looser than your typical thick chili, but not soupy (this step can be skipped if you want it thick or if your tomatoes added enough liquid). Stir everything together and simmer over medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes.
3) When chili mixture is ready, plate a handful of spaghetti squash mac on a plate, top with copious amounts of sauce, and have at it. What are you waiting for?!