Feb 24, 2013

Vegan New Mexico Green Chile Stew + Hopi Blue Corn Tortillas

Driving through Albuquerque on my way home from Colorado, I was able to purchase some New Mexico chiles. Happy me! I know I’ve mentioned these chile peppers before but I must reiterate… they’re wonderful! I would sometimes attend events in Datil, the little high-desert town where I lived, and there would always be a green chile stew that someone brought. But it would usually be too hot for me to eat! New Mexicans like their chiles HOT. This stew is traditionally made with pork. I’ve veganized it with pinto beans instead and I must say, it’s pretty yummy! And easy, too. I hope you’ll try it.

~ for the stew


  • 4 cups roasted green New Mexico chiles (see notes)
  • 3 cups cooked, rinsed pinto beans
  • 1 cup cubed potatoes
  • 1 cup corn niblets
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 TBS veggie base
  • 1 TBS low sodium soy sauce (I use Bragg’s Liquid Aminos)
  • a little water if needed, if it gets too thick

Place all ingredients into a soup pot and simmer until potatoes are tender. If you’re using frozen chiles, they give off quite a bit of water so you won’t need to add much, if any. If you’re using fresh, you will want to add some water to create a stew-like consistency.
Makes about 10 cups.

Blue corn is one of many different varieties of corn grown by the Hopi and Pueblo Indians. It ranges in color from gray to blue to almost black, and is used in breads, dumplings, sauces and drinks. Of course, most people have only seen it used in blue corn chips! Blue corn tortillas are traditionally made without salt, as below, for salt is thought to mask the full but subtle taste of the blue corn.

~ for the tortillas


  • 1 1/2 cups blue corn meal
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1- 1 1/2 cups whole spelt flour
the dough
checking the thickness of the tortilla… looks good!
ready to go into the pan

  1. Place corn meal in a medium sized bowl and pour boiling water over. Stir to mix well.
  2. Let sit for fifteen minutes.
  3. Mix in one-half cup of the spelt flour.
  4. Spread 1/4 cup of the spelt flour onto a work surface. Turn the mixture out over the flour. I used some wax paper on my countertop since I don’t own a marble slab and it worked fine.  
  5. Knead for 2 to 3 minutes, incorporating another 1/2 cup of spelt flour into the dough (if needed, use a little more). The dough will be soft but not at all strong. Return the dough to the bowl and cover.
  6. Let rest for 30 minutes.
  7. Using a measuring cup, portion off 1/4 cup of dough for each tortilla.
  8. Smush the dough in your hands and form it into a tortilla, using your fingers and the heel of your palm, shaping into a flat tortilla about 6 inches in diameter. Use more flour as needed. They tend to fall apart easily. I tried using a rolling pin for this step and it really was so much easier (and more fun!) to shape them with my hands. More authentic, too, as I’m sure the Hopi did not have rolling pins!
  9. Heat a griddle or heavy skillet over medium to medium-high heat, making sure that it is hot before you cook the first tortilla. The ideal tool for this is a cast iron skillet as it holds the heat well and distributes it evenly. I don’t own a cast iron, so I used a heavy stainless steel sauté pan. I formed each tortilla as the one before was cooking. This technique works well as long as you move fast and don’t dawdle. Keep a close eye on your cooking tortilla as they cook very fast, about 2-3 minutes on each side. You may need to play with your heat setting before you get the perfect temperature. They will be flecked with brown on both sides.
  10. When they’re done, wrap them in a kitchen towel, stacked one on top of another.
Makes 8-10 tortillas
I love how rustic these tortillas look when they’re done!
Helyn’s Notes: You can use some other kind of chile peppers for this dish but if you do, it won’t taste quite the same. There are fresh Hatch chile peppers available online but only in the late summer months. You can also find them canned on Amazon but I’ve never tried them. If you live anywhere in the southwest you can find them roasted and freshly frozen in almost every food market (which is what I used).

Healthy trails amigos!

6 responses to “Vegan New Mexico Green Chile Stew + Hopi Blue Corn Tortillas”

  1. Jake says:

    I make this receipe every late Summer when Hatch green chiles are in season. It is insanely amazing. I lived in New Mexico for a few years and fell in love with green chiles there. This vegan version gives me the same chile wonderfulness I remember from New Mexico, but without the pork. I add 2 cups of water since I use fresh, roasted chiles. I also cut the potatoes in small, 1/2 inch cubes to make sure they cook fast enough. Larger cubes take too long to cook, and the green chiles will get mushy, which is a cardinal sin!

  2. Helyn says:

    That's great Jake! Thanks for sharing… Wish I could find some fresh NM chiles here! I miss them.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for your comments. I'm on a business trip in New Mexico and had some of the green chile stew.
    I did not eat the meat , so I decided to look for a vegan solution. So happy to find. Will try to find some of the chiles

  4. Helyn says:

    You're welcome! Enjoy.

  5. Barbara says:

    Is the stew super spicy?

    • helynskitchen says:

      Barbara, it all depends on how hot the chiles are that you use. You can tailor it to suit your own taste. If you have access to the frozen chiles (Bueno brand) you can choose mild, medium or hot.

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