|Deena Chafetz teaches a chile workshop at Santa Fe School of Cooking. Below: peppers for sale from farmer Matt Romero. (Selina Kok for the Boston Globe)|
Red or green, warming up to chilies in Santa Fe
SANTA FE - “Red or green?’’ In New Mexico, those three words make up the official state question. If you want both red and green chile pepper sauce, you ask for “Christmas.’’ “We put them in everything and on everything; it’s what makes our cuisine special,’’ explains Deena Chafetz, a chef and teacher of the “Chile Amor’’ class at the venerable Santa Fe School of Cooking. After this 90-minute workshop, which costs $50 per person, you’re in a better position to decipher menus, know what’s in chili-infused guacamole, carne adovada (pork marinated in red chili), pizza with green chili sauce, and green chili beer. Early on, you can get what we call “chile chap,’’ which are chapped lips from low humidity further irritated by hot food, certainly a rite of passage for any visitor from a more-humid climate. We are 16 students from around the country, unified on our most burning question: Which is hotter, red or green? Her answer: It depends.