Sunday, August 16, 2009

70 Pounds of Hatch Green Chile

Truth be told I'm not quite sure how many green chiles we bought yesterday - various places here label the burlap bags as 30 or 35 or 40 lbs of chiles. The crop of chiles that are trucked up north from Hatch, New Mexico are not actually one variety of chile - some are Big Jim, some are Sandia, etc., depending on how much heat you select when you purchase a bag to be roasted. All the people waiting for their chiles to be roasted in front of me chose extra-hot but DH is a chile lightweight so we chose two bags of mild.

While some cooks prefer the chiles late in the season in September for a more mature flavor and a greater proportion of chiles that have turned red, I always buy mine as soon as possible once the crop arrives because the early chiles are much juicier and meatier. That is also why I prefer Hatch green chiles over poblano chiles - they are so much thicker and more substantial for filling. I think the flavor is better as well. The sound and aroma of a bunch of chile roasters is incredible.

Although you can get them pretty much anywhere, I buy my chiles at the discount produce store called the Farmer's Market at Eubank and Snowheights in Albuquerque. They have really great prices. Yesterday they had 4 roasters going at once hooked up to two propane tanks to deal with the demand. They even have chairs placed in shade while you're waiting for your chiles to be roasted. Inside the store they also have bins of chiles if you prefer to roast your own along with pre-roasted chiles in small freezer bags seen at the front of the photo.

Here's one bag roasted and ready to be put into freezer bags and frozen. My favorite use of green chiles (and the recipe we made last night) is to stuff them with a savory mashed potato mixture and serve with a chile-scented tomato sauce - that recipe is in my southwestern recipe booklet Fiesta Vegan. I really think green chiles are versatile and can be used on practically anything - I adore them on pizza.

It turns out I still have room in my little chest freezer so I'm going to ask DH to bring home another bag of hotter roasted chiles this week. If you don't live nearby, you can buy frozen Hatch green chiles online but shipping is expensive. Many places also sell them bottled but of course the best option is to come to New Mexico during chile-roasting season!


Chery said...

I love love the smell and taste of fresh roasted chiles. Your book is great!

KAnn said...

I still hope to get to Santa Fe this fall but I am enjoying roasted Hatch chillies right now from Whole Foods (where I work) a longtime vegetarian and a lover of all things New Mexican, I am just delighted to have discovered your blog! Just ordered a used copy of your book through Amazon and look forward to the new one.

Nanette said...

I agree Chery - I'm always trying to find new ways to use chiles.

Nanette said...

Thanks Kann! There are places you can get frozen green chiles here so even if you get to Santa Fe late you can still get some.

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