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Southwestern Cooking 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, American Indians, and Mexicans throughout the post-Columbian era; there is, however, a great diversity in this kind of cuisine throughout the Southwestern states.


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. 

Chili con carne, fajitas, certain kinds of chiles rellenos (stuffed chilis), and various steak-chili combinations are particularly well-known Southwestern foods.  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.

New Mexican cuisine is known for its dedication to the chili (the official "state question" is "Red or green?", which refers to the preferred color of chilis), most notably the Hatch chili, named for the city in New Mexico where they are grown.

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