It’s early September, and that means it’s green chile harvest time. The most celebrated crop in New Mexico is back and ready to be roasted and added to stews and sauces, poured over omelets and enchiladas, piled on top of cheeseburgers, made into jams and chutneys, and just about anything else one can conjure up.
Here in the Midwest we were lucky to find some authentic green chiles from the Hatch region of New Mexico at our local grocery store, so my husband and I did what normal people would do – buy 10 pounds of them.
Ever since our first trip to New Mexico a decade ago, we’ve been mesmerized by these little green, flavor-packed fruits that come in varying degrees of hotness – from mild to med and hot to really hot!
Unfortunately the chiles we purchased locally were pretty mild - lacking that kick we’ve become accustomed to.
After this realization, we did what normal people would do – order 20 more pounds of them straight from the source in New Mexico.
Once we acquired our chiles, came the fun part – roasting, peeling, seeding and freezing them.
This is how New Mexicans roast chiles…
This is how Midwesterners roast chiles…
Let’s just say we improvise.
You can roast chiles on a standard grill by removing the flavor enhancers, Weber’s description for the tepee-like bars that prevent meat drippings from hitting the flames.
Removing them allows flames to reach the chiles directly. If you leave them in, flames will release from the sides creating an oven effect.
"You don't want to cook them, you just want to blister the skin so you can peel them easily," said my husband, the obsessed green chile enthusiast (he reminds me that he did graduate from the Santa Fe School of Cooking, twice).
"Cooking them too long will cause your chiles to become mushy," he adds.
Upon removal from the grill, pack the chiles in a bag and zip it up. The chiles will sweat which further helps when removing the skins.
And what will we do with 30 pounds of green chiles? We’ll make Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas, Hatch Chile con Queso and have plenty for the whole year.