Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

The Flavor Of The Southwest For Fall

Terra Restaurant at sunset at Four Seasons Rancho Encantado Santa Fe.

Four Seasons Rancho Encantado Santa Fe

As we move into fall, few places evoke the seasonal shift, like Santa Fe. Here, the cooler temperatures are framed by sweeping desert landscapes of piñon pine, spiny cacti, craggy terrain, and brilliant pastel-colored sunsets. There’s a reason artists like Georgia O’Keefe made a home here. Perhaps one of the best places to enjoy the autumn months is at the historic Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado in Santa Fe. Once a working dude ranch at the turn of the century, the expansive 57-acre high desert property tucked up in the Sangre de Cristo foothills was once a hidden gem for Hollywood celebrities such as John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, and Robert Redford under the private ownership of Betty Egan. Today, it’s a recreational escape for all to enjoy.

A few miles from Santa Fe’s historical center, the resort is one of the region’s most peaceful retreats. Cozy villas featuring Southwestern decor and breezy patios are spread throughout the property, with ample hiking trails and outdoor amenities to enjoy. Rancho Encantado is also home to one of the area’s most celebrated restaurants, Terra. Here executive chef José Fernandez, a native of Barcelona, ​​blends the bold flavors of New Mexican cuisine with his Spanish heritage for an elevated dining experience. I recently had a chance to catch up with Fernandez, who shared some of his inspirations for the fall menu.

Executive Chef José Fernandez baking bread in the outdoor horno at Terra Restaurant at Four Seasons … [+] Rancho Encantado Santa Fe.

Four Seasons Rancho Encantado Santa Fe.

Jessica Dupuy: What are some of the culinary influences you draw on when creating your menus

José Fernandez: Being born and raised in Spain, my roots and way of cooking will always be in the back of my mind when creating dishes. Over the past few years, I’ve learned and matured as a chef by thinking more about the region I live in and incorporating local ingredients into the food. He also shared a couple of his favorite fall recipes.

Dupuy: How do you weave in Southwestern ingredients?

Fernandez: I start with what the area and season have to offer, looking into the ingredients’ flavor profile to see if it fits the vision and direction we would like to go. Then, the team’s creative side begins to create a sense of place while integrating our backgrounds and personal experiences.

Dupuy: What are some of the Southwest flavors that you enjoy using?

Fernandez: When I think about the Southwest in terms of food, I think about corn, beans, squash, chiles, and bison—to name a few. These are my first go-to ingredients. I believe the native American heritage is super valuable, and we must embrace it.

Dupuy: What are some fall flavors people will experience on the menu this season?

Fernandez: The new menu is full of earthy, somewhat spicy, and local flavors that celebrate the fall season. We have a couple of new mushroom dishes, including the Earthy Mushroom Soup that features crispy cauliflower and Santa Fe chili oil. For fall-inspired pasta, we’re also debuting Mushroom Ravioli with Santa Fe balsamic glaze, piñon, and radicchio.

Dupuy: Anything you were particularly excited about developing for the menu?

Fernandez: I really put some time and dedication into creating our Hatch Chile and Cheddar Cheese Cornbread. It took some trial and error to perfect the right recipe and use of local ingredients to represent the regional flavors and feature and recognize local traditions. I make it in a custom-built clay horno (oven) in the chef’s garden to commemorate the traditional Native American cooking style.

Dupuy: What about the dessert menu? Anything fun guests can look forward to?

Fernandez: Our fresh-made Boozy Churros recipe with Carajillo coffee sauce and Poblano liqueur cream is to die for. It immediately evokes a sense of joy when the plate arrives at the table.

Executive Chef Jose Fernandez at Terra restaurant at Four Seasons Rancho Encantado Santa Fe.

Four Seasons Rancho Encantado Santa Fe.

Hatch Chile & Cheddar Cheese Corn Bread

Makes one loaf

2 cups cornmeal

1 1/3 cup All Purpose Flour

1/3 cup Whole Wheat Flour

1 1/14 tablespoons baking powder

1 1/2 tsp sea salt

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

4 eggs.

1 cup sour cream

1 3/4 cups buttermilk

3/4 cup olive oil

½ each fresh jalapeno, chopped.

¼ cup chives, chopped

1 1/3 cup Chopped Hatch Green Chiles

1 cup cheddar cheese, diced

Preheat oven to 340 degrees. Grease a nonstick loaf pan. In a large mixing bowl, shift the corn meal, all-purpose flour, wheat flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a mixer, cream the butter and sugar together at low speed until smooth. (About 2 minutes.) Add the eggs one at the time. Add the flour mix slowly, and then add the liquid ingredients and the sour cream until smooth. Add the chives and jalapeño.

Fold in the hatch chiles and cheddar cheese. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Hatch Chile & Jalapeno Jam

1 Pound Chopped Roasted Hatch Chile

6 1/2 cups Sugar

7 grams of pectin

3/4 cup Rice or Apple Cider Vinegar.

1/4 cup Lemon Juice.

Selection of clean, unused Mason jars.

In a heavy pot place all the ingredients, bring it to a boil until it reaches 220 degrees. Simmer for five additional minutes. Set aside and cool down to room temperature before refrigerating. Can jam according to manufacturers instructions.

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