The Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta 2002

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by Mary Jane Wilan


The Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta

Report from Santa Fe:

The Santa Fe
Wine & Chile
Fiesta 2002


Festival Chef Recipes

Prime Rib with Piñon Chile Sauce

Avocado and Ancho Chile Cheesecake with Crab Fondue

Crab Fondue

Grilled Pork Tenderloin in Pipian Verde

Southwestern Bread Pudding

Tequila Sauce (for Southwestern Bread Pudding)

It was a throng of foodies and wineies two thousand strong!

The Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta culminated Saturday, September 28, 2002, with The Grand Food & Wine Tasting. Participants were treated to tastings of 450 wines from 90 wineries and a selection of gourmet preparations from 65 of Santa Fe’s top restaurants, and I’ve included a tempting survey below. The tasting was an excess for the fun of it! The final finale, if you can handle more wine and excellent food, concludes with a Grand Finale Wine Luncheon, held on Sunday, with two hours of gourmet delights. However, there were numerous other events in this five day celebration of food and wine. Many Santa Fe chefs and invited guest chefs prepared grand breakfasts, luncheons and dinners, pairing food, chile, and wine. There were also wine seminars conducted by leading wine experts.

The Santa Fe chefs who worked their culinary magic at special dining events during the five-day fiesta were: Lois Ellen Frank, chef /author; Xavier Grenet, Executive Chef, Ristra; Ryan Hardy, Executive Chef, Coyote Café; David Huertes, Chef/Owner of El Meson; Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison, Chefs/Authors; Mark Kiffin, Chef/Owner of The Compound; Deborah Madison, Chef/Author; Mark Miller, Chef/Owner, Coyote Café; Martin Juan Rios, Executive Chef of Old House Restaurant; John Kelly Rogers, Executive Chef at La Casa Sena; Lane Warner, Executive Chef, La Plazuela. These chefs were also involved in the Grand Tasting on Saturday; some were cooking while others were signing their cookbooks.

Walter Whitewater, Sam Etheridge, and Lois Ellen Frank


Walter Whitewater, Sam Etheridge, and Lois Ellen Frank were there to autograph copies of their new cookbook, Foods of the Southwest Indian Nations.


Four outstanding guest chefs were also involved in the special dining events: Andrew DiCataldo of Patria in New York; Nancy Oakes of Boulevard in San Francisco; Daniel Patterson of Elisabeth David in San Francisco; and Julian Serrano from Picasso at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.

The guest wine experts included Robert Bath, RLB Wine Group; Alexis Bespaloff, wine columnist;Peter Hiers, Wine Educator; and Joseph Spellman, Master Sommelier. They held wine seminars and tastings throughout the days of the fiesta.

Tasting tents at the Festival


The huge tasting tents at the Festival.


Before the Grand Tasting began, I spoke with a few chefs and got their feelings about the event. Why do you participate? You’re in a big tent giving out samples for 2,000 people and you have minimal cooking facilities. Why? Sal, from the Bull Ring Restaurant, said it is a great opportunity to be involved matching wine and food. He was being a purist that day, however, pairing grilled beef tenderloin with deep, red wines. Celebrations Restaurant was serving green chile gumbo, with gulf shrimp and andouille sausage flown in from the heart of Cajun Country in Louisiana. Celebrations’ Chris Tynan and Matt Eaton said they liked the event because it was like “one big party.” It was also good publicity for the restaurant, and people from the Event would come to the restaurant to eat more of their specialties.

Santos Matute of the Corn Dance Café, echoed similar thoughts. It was great publicity, and many of the same out-of-town people come to the Event year after year. Santos was serving a terrific buffalo red chili that is also served at the restaurant. Fernando Olea, owner of El Encanto, had people lined up! He was serving a delicious dish–sauteed shrimp in garlic, tamarind sauce, topped with mole. He loves the Event; he told me it is not only fun, but it is the best culinary event in Santa Fe. He has only missed one year of participating since it started in 1991. Geronimo Restaurant owner, Cliff Skoglund, has participated every year; he too agreed that it is one of the best food events of the year. “It’s good for the economy, the restaurant, and it’s fun.” He said it was like culinary “show-off time.” He should know; Geronimo was serving grilled lobster, basil slaw, and parmesan cakes. The chef at Geronimo is Eric DeStefano, who was responsible for the long lines at their booth!

Patricia Spangenburg, from The Inn at Loretto, was serving Avocado Ancho Chile Cheesecake with Crab Fondue. She says they do the event because it is fun and has become a tradition. She likes the pairing of food and wine and called it “a culinary feast of flavors and ecstacy for the palette.” And, you can have a great time, and it’s legal. Café Pasqual’s chef, Preciliano Ruiz, was preparing a traditional Chile Pasado, pasado meaning “of the past.” It’s made from sun dried green chile that had been rehydrated,, a very traditional New Mexico dish. Assisting him was Noreen O’Brien-Nation, who said that this event is “the essence of Santa Fe.”

The last chef interviewed was Chef Tom Kerpon from The Inn of the Anasazi who was serving Diablo Shrimp with an Habanero and Guacamole Sauce. He commented that this was one of the finest food events done all year, and besides, all of the chefs got to see and talk to each other! He said it really gives a sense of community. It has to be true; there was not one frowning face in the crowd. Maybe it was because of the wine!

So, if you can take off for Santa Fe for five days of culinary and wine cruising, consider this venue. You won’t be disappointed. The chefs are very accessible, creative, and want to please the palette. The venue for the Grand Tasting on Saturday is beautiful–huge tents are constructed around the Santa Fe Opera Complex, with great vistas. Finally, as Bobby Flay always says: ” Get out and eat America–it’s waiting for you!” And you will find some of the most creative food in America here in Santa Fe.


Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta:

Phone (505) 438-8060


Prime Rib with Piñon Chile Sauce

This recipe is from The Bull Ring. I have reduced the amounts proportionately, as the recipe I was given was for restaurant servings.

  • 8-pound prime rib of beef

  • Grill spices

  • Red onions, sliced

  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced

  • ½ cup olive oil

  • 1 cup piñon nuts, toasted and ground

  • 1 cup almonds, coarsely ground

  • ½ cup red chile powder, lightly toasted

  • 1 cup chicken stock, more if needed

Coat the prime rib with grill spices and cover with onions. Cook prime rib for 20 minutes per pound at 325 degrees F. Reduce the heat to 225 degrees F for rare, until the roast reaches 120 F at the center.

Lightly saute the garlic in the olive oil.

Combine the garlic in a blender with pinon nuts, almonds, red chile powder, and chicken stock.

Slice the prime rib and serve with the sauce.

Yield: 10 to 12 servings

Heat Scale: Mild

Avocado and Ancho Chile Cheesecake with Crab Fondue

This recipe is from the Inn at Loretto.


  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1 cup breadcrumbs

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted


  • 1 3/4 pound cream cheese

  • 1 large egg

  • ½ cup heavy cream

  • 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated

  • 4 ripe avocados

  • 1/4 cup ancho chile puree

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F

Combine crust ingredients and press the mixture firmly into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan.

Using the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, blend the cream cheese and avocado. Add the egg and continue beating until the mixture is smooth, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Add the cheese and season with salt and pepper.

Pour the filling into the springform pan and swirl in the ancho puree to create a marbled effect.

Bake the cheesecake in the pre-heated oven until firm, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool thoroughly on a rack. Serve at room temperature with warm crab fondue (see recipe).

Crab Fondue

Use over Avocado and Ancho Chile Cheesecake with Crab Fondue

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

  • 1 cup shallots, finely minced

  • 1 cup white wine

  • 1 quart heavy cream

  • 2 sprigs of fresh tarragon

  • 8 ounces jumbo lump crab meat

  • Chopped tarragon for the garnish

Heat the oil in a skillet and saute the shallots until they are translucent. Deglaze the pan with the wine and reduce the mixture by half. Add the cream and tarragon and reduce by half; the cream should coat the back of a wooden spoon.

Remove the tarragon and fold in the crab meat.

Spoon the mixture over the Avocado Ancho Chile Cheesecake and garnish with the chopped tarragon.

Yield: Serves 10-12 as an appetizer or 6 – 9 as an entree

Heat Scale: Mild

Grilled Pork Tenderloin in Pipian Verde

This recipe is from the Old Mexico Grill.

  • 4 pounds pork tenderloin

  • ½ pound pumpkin seeds, toasted

  • 3 ounces peanuts

  • 2 ounces whole garlic, peeled

  • ½ pound white onions, peeled and chopped

  • 1 pound tomatillos

  • 3 serrano chiles

  • 3 ounces sesame seeds

  • 3 ounces romaine lettuce

  • 2 ounces radishes

  • 2 ounces cilantro

  • 6 ounces chicken base

  • 1/4 cup corn oil

  • Sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds for the garnish

Cut the pork into 3 ounce pieces and pound until it is very thin. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic and grill to desired doneness.

Brown the next four ingredients in a small amount of oil.

Cook the tomatillos and serranos in a small amount of water until they are soft.. Drain and save the cooking liquid.

Puree all of the ingredients (except the oil) until they are smooth, using some of the cooking liquid.

Place the oil in a saute pan and cook until the mixture begins to thicken and the fat rises to the top. Then, strain the mixture.

Pour the mixture over the pork and garnish with the sesame and pumpkin seeds.

Yield: 9 to 10 servings.

Heat Scale: Mild.

Southwestern Bread Pudding

The Pink Adobe Restaurant offers up this delicious dessert.

  • ½ pound stale French bread

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1/4 pound butter, melted

  • ½ cup golden raisins

  • 1/4 cup pinon nuts

  • 3 eggs, beaten

  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

  • 4 ounces evaporated milk

  • 8 1/4 ounces of crushed pineapple with juice

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • 3 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Break the bread into bite-sized pieces, and soak it in the milk Squeeze the bread with your fingers to eliminate the excess milk and discard the milk.

Set the bread in a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Mix gently but thoroughly.

Pour the mixture into an 8 inch by 12 inch buttered baking pan. Bake for one hour or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve with the Tequila Sauce (see recipe).

Tequila Sauce (for Southwestern Bread Pudding)

Here’s the sauce for the bread pudding.

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 egg

  • 1/4 pound butter, melted

  • 1/3 cup good quality tequila

  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

Cream the sugar and egg together. Add the butter and pour into a medium saucepan. Over a low flame, stir until the sugar is dissolved.

Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the tequila and lime juice.

Serve over the bread pudding.

Yield: 12 servings


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