By Kelley Coffeen
Local flavors catch my attention… no more so than the creative combinations introduced by Chef Alfredo Vargas at De La Vegas Pecan Grill. I recently popped in for a visit and taste with Chef Alfredo. I am continually impressed with his commitment to local flavors using the freshest ingredients and searching out the best selections for his menu. Chef suggested the Green Chile Chicken entrée which was paired with a glass of 14 Hands Riesling. The presentation was colorful and inviting. I was presented with a full plump, juicy chicken breast crowned with an inviting sauce (I couldn’t wait to try!) and fresh asparagus. I was intrigued. I have tasted many versions of grilled, roasted or baked chicken and green chile living in the southwest, however, the Chef Alfredo’s chicken was so tender and seasoned perfectly. The hand cut chicken breast was stuffed with fresh roasted green chile (with just the right amount of flavor and heat) and aged cheddar cheese and pan seared to perfection. It was then nestled in a bed of green chile risotto (which was outstanding!) and served with several spears of freshly grilled asparagus. Heaven!
Green Chile Chicken is enhanced by the warm chile and cheddar cheese filling oozing out as I enjoy it. Hatch Green Chile, a staple ingredient in Chef’s kitchen, captures the regional flavor of chile in New Mexico, grown just a few miles north. Chef’s ultimate goal is to bring the best from the field to the table at De La Vegas. So he works closely with the Franzoy team at Young Guns Produce Company (www.younggunsproduce.com ) who offers a variety of green and red chile varieties grown along the Rio Grande River, around the small village of Hatch, New Mexico. They have been growing and harvesting Hatch Chile for over 25 years and continue to spread the word and flavor. Notably, Hatch Green Chile was recently featured on the cover of Sunset Magazine (March 2013) crowning a burger with style and taste!
As a family owned restaurant, De La Vega’s Pecan Grill takes great care in offering service beyond the expected, by selecting a wine to enjoy with any entrée. Chef described our wine selection, 14 Hands, a 2011 Riesling from Washington state as “… the best friend to chile,” . He went on to explain how well it “… compliments spicy flavors, including chile and curry and will not overpower the entrée.” It is obvious that Chef is fearless in the kitchen and presides over each entrée with perfection, honing the skills he acquired at the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, in Las Vegas. Chef told me he enjoys sharing his culinary knowledge with others and hosts cooking classes from time to time. I occasionally check their website for info on new classes and events ( www.pecangrill.com) . Additionally, De La Vegas offers a “Chef’s Table” with selections made by Chef Alfredo just for you, creating a personalized culinary experience for any guest. Loved visiting with Chef! I will be back soon…