Loving the BITE: Homemade Green Chili Sauce

I grew up in the mountains of Southern Colorado, within 50 miles of the New Mexico border.  There are many things I loved about my childhood, and one of them is the smell of New Mexico Green Chilies.  I can still smell the aroma of chilies roasted at farmers markets and fairs, and peeled in my grandmother’s kitchen.  This week, we’ll skip the canned green chili sauce and use an authentic recipe that will bring your enchiladas, burritos, and huevos rancheros to life.  And, you’re in luck, because delicious New Mexico Green Chilies have a lot to offer cyclists in terms of cardiovascular health, immune function, metabolism, and wellness.

Recipe of the week:  Homemade Green Chili Sauce 

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ tsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ¼ onion, chopped finely
  • 13 oz. frozen chopped green chilies, or freshly roasted, peeled, and chopped green chilies
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 2 Tbsp water

Instructions:

  1. Heat oil over low heat in saucepan.  Sauté onion and garlic about 4 min.
  2. Stir in green chili, water, salt; bring to a boil.
  3. Cover and simmer over low heat for 12 minutes.
  4. Add cumin and black pepper to taste.
  5. Mix 2 tbsp water with 2 Tbsp flour.  Stir continually; add to sauce until slightly thickened, 1-2 minutes.

Comments:

I could add green chilies, and green chili sauce for that matter, to just about anything.  Burgers.  Pizza.  Eggs.  Of course, Mexican food.  Beanitos, anyone?  Okay, for once, maybe not a smoothie.  But still, the more you add this wonderful food, the more you’ll get great cardiovascular, immune function, metabolism and whole-body benefits.  Like red chili peppers, New Mexico or Anaheim Green Chilies give us:

Capsaicins: 

These are the nice little components of peppers that make them HOT.  They are also a potent inhibitor of substance P, a neuropeptide associated with inflammatory processes. The hotter the chili pepper, the more capsaicin it contains. The hotter the pepper, the more anti-inflammatory it is. Capsaicin is actually being studied as an effective treatment for sensory nerve fiber disorders, including pain associated with arthritis, psoriasis, and diabetic neuropathy.

And what’s more, capsaicins have anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, analgesic and anti-diabetic properties to boot.

Cardiovascular Benefits:

Chili Peppers have been shown to reduce blood cholesterol, triglyceride levels, and platelet aggregation, while increasing the body’s ability to dissolve fibrin, a substance integral to the formation of blood clots. Cultures where hot pepper is used liberally have a much lower rate of heart attack, stroke and pulmonary embolism.

Antioxidants: 

As a food full of antioxidants, chili peppers may also protect the fats in your blood from damage by free radicals—a first step in the development of atherosclerosis. In a randomized, crossover study involving 27 healthy subjects (14 women, 13 men), eating freshly chopped chili was found to increase the resistance of blood fats, such as cholesterol and triglycerides, to oxidation (free radical injury). In addition, after eating the chili-spiced diet, women had a longer lag time before any damage to cholesterol was seen compared to the lag time seen after eating the bland diet. In men, the chili-diet also lowered resting heart rate and increased the amount of blood reaching the heart.

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