Cuisine of the Southwestern United States

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A pot of Chili con carne with beans and tomatoes

The cuisine of the Southwestern United States is food styled after the rustic cooking of the Southwestern United States. It is also known to be very popular in the west coast state of California. It comprises a fusion of recipes for things that might have been eaten by Spanish colonial settlers, cowboys, Native Americans,[1] and Mexicans throughout the post-Columbian era; there is, however, a great diversity in this kind of cuisine throughout the Southwestern states.[citation needed]

Southwestern cuisine is similar to Mexican cuisine but often involves larger cuts of meat, and less use of tripe, brain, and other parts not considered as desirable in the United States. Like Mexican cuisine, it is also known for its use of spices (particularly the chile, or Chili pepper) and accompaniment with beans (frijoles), cooked in a variety of manners. Note that "chili" generally refers to a thick stew or soup prepared with beans and meat, while "chile" refers to the peppers that grow in this region and have been eaten for thousands of years by the native people. Recently, several chains of casual dining restaurants specializing in Southwestern cuisine have become popular in the United States.

New Mexican cuisine is known for its dedication to the chile (the official "state question" is "Red or green?" which refers to the preferred color of chiles), most notably the Hatch chile, named for the city in New Mexico where they are grown. The New Mexican Cuisine is most popular in the southwestern states of New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. Texas has a version called Tex-mex, while Arizona's style of Southwestern cuisine is often called Sonoran.


Southwest and Tex-Mex cuisine are also present in other states such as Oklahoma, Illinois, Oregon, and Washington.[citation needed]

Southwestern dishes[edit]

Black beans
A burrito with enchilada sauce, often referred to as a "smothered burrito"

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Native Americans." (cached version). Accessed July 2011.

Further reading[edit]