New Mexico doesn’t just have signature dishes – we have our own cuisine. Sure, you can find some of these foods beyond our borders. But it’s more enjoyable to eat these dishes where they were invented — or perfected! (Fine, we’re biased.) So, if you want a taste of New Mexico, tuck into these 16 dishes. Please note that they are
not ranked in order of culinary superiority.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Blue corn pancakes
Blue corn improves everything, from tortillas and pizza dough to muffins and pancakes. Yellow corn is fine and dandy but blue corn adds a welcome nuttiness to dishes. Take blue corn pancakes up a notch by topping them with New Mexican piñon nuts.
2. Piñon coffee
Alternatively, sip on piñon nut coffee, which gives your morning joe that little extra something. This pine nut comes from the piñon pine and its delicate flavor is beloved by New Mexicans.
3. Breakfast burrito
In New Mexico, the first meal of the day often involves a breakfast burrito. Potato, egg, and cheese are the core ingredients, enhanced by add-ons like bacon, chorizo, or carne adovada. Sometimes the cheese is melted over the outside of the tortilla while other times it's sprinkled inside. The egg on top is optional, but some swear by it. Douse this bundle of wonder with green or red sauce.
4. Carne adovada
Carne adovada is what happens when pork is marinated in a puree of onion, red chile, and spices for 24 hours or more. The result is delicious.
5. Posole (also spelled pozole)
Posole is hominy corn that has been boiled in a combination of water and lime. This causes the corn to puff up and gives it an entirely different texture and taste than regular corn. You'll probably encounter it as a side dish or sometimes as a soup.
6. Green chile stew
If you’re in New Mexico and feeling under the weather, don’t expect people to bring you chicken noodle soup. To recover quickly, you need green chile stew. This dish also makes regular appearances at potlucks. Everyone’s recipe is a little different and, although pork is the most common meat choice, some prefer beef.
7. Chile rellenos
No one claims that chile rellenos were invented here. But perfected? Order this dish and judge for yourself.
8. Frito pie
There’s chile and then there’s chili. Frito pie is all about the latter. It’s topped with cheese and sometimes served in the bag.
When you order tacos in New Mexico, it’s likely that you’ll receive soft shell tacos. These taste fresher and are less messy – a definite advantage if you fancy a taco on your lunch break and don’t want to return to work wearing its contents!
10. Biscochito (sometimes spelled bizcochito)
Our state cookie is crumbly and traditionally made using lard. The dominant flavor is cinnamon with a distinctive undertone of anise. It isn’t Christmas without biscochitos but, thankfully, you can find these cookies year round.
11. Red and green sauce
Some people might say that a condiment doesn’t belong on this list. Those people would be wrong! Red and green sauce is integral to so many of our dishes that it deserves a spot in the New Mexico Food Hall Of Fame – if only such a place existed.
You can find rolled enchiladas anywhere but here they’re frequently served flat and arranged in a stack.
13. Green chile cheeseburger
The green chile component of the GCCB (green chile cheeseburger) can either be in the form of a sauce or just chopped chiles. Restaurants vie to win awards for the best one and the battle is intense.
Sopaipillas can either be served as a savory or sweet dish. Savory ones are stuffed with cheese, beans, and sometimes meat. Sweet versions of this fried dough are accompanied by honey, which should be liberally drizzled on top.
15. Indian taco
Frybread with taco toppings. What's not to love?
16. Green chile on pizza
Chile improves any dish and pizza is no exception. Most pizzerias in New Mexico offer it as a topping. Try it with ham or pepperoni.
How many of these have you eaten? What other food or drinks would you add to this list?