At home or at Campo, the restaurant he oversees at Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm in Albuquerque, chef Jonathan Perno likes to welcome guests with spiced New Mexican pecans. You won't see this in most spiced-nut recipes, but Perno blanches them to reduce some of the bitter tannins in the skin that can sometimes overwhelm the pecans' delicate flavor.
Pistachios are a relatively recent addition to commercial agriculture in New Mexico, where abundant sunshine makes them easy to grow. New Mexican chef and five-time James Beard Award semifinalist Jonathan Perno showcases them in an otherwise straightforward green bean dish. The nuts and roasted beans create a toasty flavor that blends beautifully with the chile-infused turkey and potatoes.
New Mexican chef Jonathon Perno shares his favorite raw sauce of bracing cranberries tamed a bit with apple and sugar. The orange goes in unpeeled so it adds both juicy sweetness and the essential oils from the skin. This relish complements any roast turkey but makes a great match for the complex flavors in Perno's chile-glazed bird (see Associated Recipe).
Referred to affectionately as simply "red chile" by locals, this sauce is super-versatile. Try it to flavor turkey and mashed potatoes for a Southwestern-style Thanksgiving (see Associated Recipes). Dried New Mexico red chiles vary in heat, so be sure to check labels at the supermarket for a level of spicy that's right for you.
The New Mexico state question is "Red or Green?"—that is, which color chile do you like? Chef Jonathan Perno, considered a key interpreter of New Mexican cuisine, tempers the red chile sauce with orange juice to glaze the bird. He calls for a spatchcocked or butterflied turkey, which cooks more quickly and evenly. Ask your butcher to do it for you to save time.
The deep orange color of this mash may make your brain think you're about to tuck into some whipped squash, but one taste tells you otherwise. The homemade New Mexican red chile sauce is a good match for the russets, letting just enough of their earthy flavor shine through.