The second St. Just book is Death and the Lit Chick, a 2010 Anthony nominee. Her short story "Bookworm" was also nominated for a 2011 Anthony. She is currently writing a new series for Minotaur that begins with WICKED AUTUMN, a Library Journal pick for best mystery of 2011. Visit her at gmmalliet.com .
And now G.M.~
On a recent vacation my husband and I taste-tested chili sauce, both green and red—they call this Christmas sauce—for three meals a day at nearly every restaurant in town and never got tired of it. (Someone told me food spiced with chilis is not fattening because it speeds up the metabolism. While that sounds like an old wives’ tale, I choose to believe it and always will.)
This green chili recipe below that I’m calling Chili Today is a variation of the recipe taught at the Santa Fe School of Cooking. I’ve twice been lucky enough to attend classes there, and to be taught by Deena Chafetz and Noe Cano. If you’re visiting, I recommend it highly. Or at least visit their store, which is stocked with many of the ingredients and implements used in the classes. (No, I don’t work for the school or the New Mexico tourism board—I’m simply a fan.)
The beauty of this green sauce is its simplicity. Only a few ingredients are needed, it’s pretty much fool-proof, and you can use green chili as a garnish with almost any dish, not just with Mexican/New Mexican foods:
¼ cup canola or grape seed oil [olive oil has too strong a taste]
1 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
4 or 5 New Mexican or Anaheim chiles (about 2/3 cup, peeled and chopped)
1-1/2 cup vegetable stock or water
Freshly ground coriander seed, to taste (optional)
Salt to taste (optional)
(Some recipes call for flour as a thickener but it’s not needed and can give the chili a floury taste. And while Deena’s recipe calls for chicken stock, I’m going for a vegetarian version here. One time I substituted shallot for some of the garlic and onion—not very New Mexican, but it tasted good to me.)
Char the chilis until the skin is blackened and easy to remove. I bought a special grill for this that fits over a stove burner, but you can simply broil the chilis on a foil-lined sheet in the oven. Turn the chilis over at least a couple of times as they roast so they’re blackened on all sides.
Place the roasted chilis in a plastic bag and let them steam for a bit. (This step isn’t strictly necessary, but the skin comes off easier this way.) Then scrape the skin off using paper towels. The chilis are hot, of course, so handle with care. Cut off the stems, and cut the chilis in half lengthwise; remove the seeds before chopping the chilis into ¼-inch squares.
Heat the canola or grape seed oil in a medium saucepan and sauté the onion on high until softened. Add the garlic and sauté, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add the green chili, the coriander seed (optional), and stir in the stock or water. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes or until thickened. Salt to taste (optional).