New Mexico cuisine: comfort on snowy day

It’s a cold winter’s day in Santa Fe and my mind goes to comfort food. The quintessential comfort food of my childhood was pot roast. It was slow cooked with potatoes and carrots with thick gravy redolent of the flavors of the slow-cooked meat. The rich aroma filled the house and made my stomach grumble in anticipation. As an adult, my comfort food horizons expanded to include chicken and biscuits, chicken-fried steak and just about any food that involved gravy.

New Mexico cuisine

Ranchos Plaza Grill, Ranchos de Taos, NM photo/Steve Collins

Since moving to New Mexico, I’ve found comfort in the local Northern New Mexico cuisine, a food that came out of a hard living style and probably sustained people in remote mountain towns in the dead of winter. Things like carne adovada, posole, green chile chicken stew, albóndigas and perhaps, the basis of all New Mexico cooking, red and green chile.

New Mexico cuisine

Carne adovado and sopaipillas at Ranchos Plaza Grill,  photo/Steve Collins

What I’m craving today, is the wonderful and unusual carne adovada we had on a snowy day this winter at Ranchos Plaza Grill in the historic Plaza in Ranchos de Taos, NM.  We sat at a window table overlooking the historic St. Francis de Asis church immortalized by Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams. We watched the heavy snow fall as we savored the rich flavors of New Mexican comfort food.

St. Francis de Asis, Taos, NM

San Francisco de Asis in Ranchos de Taos, NM, photo/Steve Collins

Carne adovada, the epitome of fiery comfort food, is usually marinated overnight in red chile and then slow-cooked (with more chile added) until the meat falls apart.  Chef, Adam Medina, marinates the pork in his grandmother’s secret red chile recipe over night and then grills the pork instead of slow cooking it. It was one of the best renditions of this dish we’ve tasted.

New Mexico cuisine

Looking out at the snow while warm and snug inside the Rancho Plaza Grill, photo/ Steve Collins

If you’re in the Taos area, stop in and taste carne adovada or any of the other New Mexican comfort food dishes on the menu and, if it’s snowing outside, ask for a window table and watch the snow come down as you savor your carne adovada and perhaps remember the comfort foods of your past.

What are your favorite comfort memories?

Ranchos Plaza Grill is at 8 Ranchos Plaza, Ranchos de Taos, NM 87557 (575) 758-5788

For more on New Mexican cuisine:
New Mexico cuisine: a food glossary
Tasting New Mexico: a love letter
Enjoy this posole recipe:


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4 Responses to “New Mexico cuisine: comfort on snowy day”

  1. Lane
    January 15, 2019 at 6:57 am #

    Perfect timing for today! Our thermometer says -5º!!!!
    Lane recently posted..Four Corners: Four Fun FactsMy Profile

    • Billie Frank
      January 15, 2019 at 8:11 am #

      That means ours reads around that, too. Nice little dusting of snow on the ground this am- but brrr!

  2. Leigh
    January 15, 2019 at 8:08 pm #

    I have shoveled snow for three days in the past week so I love the sound of some Santa Fe comfort food. If only I could tele-transport a plate of that food to my home. It sounds delicious.
    Leigh recently posted..Luminous Landscapes: Entranced by Light in Bryce Canyon NPMy Profile

    • Billie Frank
      January 15, 2019 at 10:32 pm #

      Wish I could! You’ll just have to come and visit!!

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