Tocabe: American Indian Cuisine + Green Chile Stew

Let’s state the obvious: winter is the best season of the year for flexing your culinary muscles.

Just think about it– the techniques of slow-cooking, roasting, braising and broiling are the hallmark of many world cuisines. But who wants to do that in the middle of a 90* summer day?

I certainly don’t.

When I heard about Green Chile Stew from Tocabe restaurant in North Denver & Greenwood Village, CO, I was SUPER excited.

Tocabe's Greenwood Village location. Photo credit Adam Larkey

Tocabe’s Greenwood Village location. Photo credit Adam Larkey

Here was a recipe I’d never tried before– and the perfect excuse for breaking out a great-big stock pot.

But more than that– it was an occasion to learn all about a type of cuisine I didn’t know anything about:

American Indian Cuisine– specifically, the food of the Osage Nation.

One of the co-owners of Tocabe, Ben Jacobs, took some time to answer a few questions about American Indian cuisine and cooking.

ZAGAT 30 UNDER 30 - Colorado

Ben Jacobs of Tocabe for ZAGAT’s 30 Under 30 – Colorado. Photo credit: Adam Larkey

YSA: Tocabe is an American Indian restaurant. Can you give our readers an understanding of the flavor profiles and types of food available at the restaurant? How has the restaurant and its offerings developed over time?

Ben: We have several styles of presentation from which to choose – from a base of Frybread or Grilled Bannock Bread to Wild Rice Bowls and Salads. Flavors are bold but not too spicy, and by marinating our proteins we’re able to enhance the natural flavors of the meats and then showcase the seasonal vegetables and salsas we serve with everything.

YSA: Are the dishes specifically inspired by the Osage Nation, or are other Nations represented?

Ben: Many of the items on the menu have origins in the Osage tradition, but we have also expanded our offerings to showcase other regional American Indian tribes’ cuisines. We travel the country working in different tribal areas to further educate ourselves in different culinary traditions. We are passionate sourcing as much as we can from American Indian food purveyors.

Tocabe's Bison Ribs. Photo Credit: Adam Larkey

Tocabe’s Bison Ribs. Photo Credit: Adam Larkey

YSA: What are some hallmarks of Osage Nation cuisine, versus other Nations/Regions? I’m from Connecticut and got a very brief education on the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation as a kid, but it’s no secret that education on America’s American Indian cultures is lacking.

Ben: Our Frybread recipe is from Osage Nation, actually it’s my grandmother’s exact recipe. We do seasonal rotations of soups and stews that have strong ties to traditional Osage recipes.

Tocabe's Bad Hunter Salad. Photo Credit: Adam Larkey

Tocabe’s Bad Hunter Salad. Photo Credit: Adam Larkey

YSA: Of all the “ethnic” foods that are represented in the American dining scene, how do you think we can have First Nations or Native American foods be better represented?

Ben: Many of the foods that we eat on a daily basis actually have a tradition in American Indian cuisine – from corn, to beans and squash to potatoes, wild rices and herbs. It will take more establishments like ours and food education (like this article) for people to better understand where the food they enjoy actually comes from.

YSA: If people wanted to learn more about Native American cuisine at home, what are some resources they could turn to?

Ben: There are some really good Native American cookbooks out there – we recommend that route over a general internet search.

YSA: And if people wanted to visit or eat at Tocabe, how can they learn more about you guys?

Ben: A great place to start is our website

Now, I would be remiss if I didn’t give you one taste of Tocabe’s fine food:

TOCABE Green Chile Stew 2

Tocabe’s Green Chili Stew, Photo Credit: Adam Larkey

Green Chile Stew

You know, 100% perfect for the upcoming “Big Game”

(I’m assuming the guys at Tocabe are rooting for the Broncos, no?)

Green Chili Stew
Print Recipe
4-6 people
4-6 people
Green Chili Stew
Print Recipe
4-6 people
4-6 people
Servings: people
  1. Peel and cube the potato into 1/2 inch diameter pieces and set aside.
  2. In a sauté pan on medium heat, cook the ground beef and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Break into serving sized pieces (whatever size you want).
  3. Cook the green chili powder, if you are using, into the beef.
  4. While the beef is cooking, place 4 cups water in a stock pot with the potatoes and bring to a boil. Cook the potatoes until fork tender; do not cook until the potatoes mash.
  5. When all the rawness is cooked out of the beef, turn off the heat. Slowly add the flour while mixing into the beef in order to make a roux. Mix the flour into the beef completely until no dry flour remains
  6. Once your roux is complete, add to the stockpot with the cooked potatoes. Add the green chiles, corn, 2 teaspoons salt and 2 teaspoons black pepper. Fully mix all the ingredients and place the stockpot back on the stovetop.
  7. Bring up to temperature on medium heat, stirring occasionally. This may take up to 30 minutes or more. Feel free to add cheese or sour cream, if desired.
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Tocabe’s Locations:

Denver:  Greenwood Village:
3536 W 44th Ave,

Denver, CO 80211
(720) 524-8282

8181 E Arapahoe Rd,

Greenwood Village, CO 80112
(720) 485-6738

Hours at Both Locations: 
Monday – Saturday 11 AM – 9 PM
Sunday 12 PM – 8 PM

green chili stew from tocabe restaurant in denver. american indian food.

Featured Image: Tocabe’s Fry Bread. Photo credit: Adam Larkey



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