Green chile. No other food takes me back to my childhood quite like green chile. New Mexico green chile, to be exact. New Mexico, because that’s where I grew up and, well, because they grow the best chile in the country! Make that the world! There’s not much that doesn’t taste better with some green chile in or on it. Eggs, sandwiches, beans, burgers, burritos, fried potatoes! You name it, it’s better with green chile. I have to say, my very favorite food ever is green chile rellenos (green chile stuffed with cheese, battered, then fried). And, in case you don’t know, green chile beats the socks off of poblano peppers when it comes to rellenos. I’ll never forget the first time I ordered chile rellenos in a restaurant in Texas and they brought out poblano peppers. I was ready to send it back to the kitchen for the real thing! The next best thing to eating green chile is smelling the wonderful aroma that fills your house as you roast it. If you have never tasted fresh-roasted green chile from New Mexico, I’m telling you, you’re missing out! So how did I end up with NM green chile in my kitchen when I live all the way over here in Missouri? Did I stumble upon it in a grocery store or farmer’s market? Sadly, no, though it is shipped around the country. (Check your local sources) But I did do the next best thing; I ordered it from Diaz Farms in Deming, NM. Deming, home of my family’s roots, although I grew up in nearby Las Cruces. After doing some research online, I found that Diaz Farms had the best prices (IMHO) and most reasonable shipping. Of course, you have to know that this chile is so WORTH paying shipping costs just to be able to eat it! 🙂
This burlap bag contains 35 pounds of green goodness. So what do you do when a large box of green chile arrives at your doorstep?
Step 1: Panic! But only if it’s been a really long day (NOT the day you were hoping it would arrive), and you are trying to help grandchildren with homework and it’s supper time, but nothing’s cooking.
Otherwise, just go ahead and rejoice.
Step 2: Breathe in some of that green goodness, say to yourself, “Self, you can do this,” and as soon as supper and homework are over, dig in!
Step 3: Being careful to protect your hands, wash all of your chile well.
Step 4: Dry it thoroughly. You want to roast, not steam, it.
Step 5: Place it on a baking sheet, covering with foil for easy cleanup. (Or do what I did; ditch the pan and cover the top rack of your oven with foil)
Step 6: Roast under the broiler until skin is blistered on one side, flip and repeat. (Watch carefully)
Step 7: Remove from oven and place in a paper bag to then steam. The skins should now easily slip off. (A general consensus seems to be, the chile tastes better if the skin is left on during freezing)
There are several options for removing the seeds. You can do this prior to roasting (as I did with some of mine). Simply slit the chile from top to bottom, then carefully remove seeds and membrane.
Caution! Make sure to protect your hands during this process! You can do this with gloves, although I’ve heard you can also use oil. Use extreme care when handling the chile, especially the membranes, and make sure your hands are thoroughly washed immediately after removing gloves. Whatever you do, DO NOT touch any part of your body with hands that may contain residue. Trust me on this. The oil in the chile’s membrane burns like fire, only there is no relief once the oil gets into your skin. (Not even a prescription burn cream will work. I won’t say how I know this, just believe me) All those websites that pop up when you Google “how to stop burning from green chile” are useless. The alternative method to removing seeds is to remove them after roasting. Use the same caution above, although in my opinion the oil is not as strong once cooked. For this reason, I recommend you do NOT seed the chile prior to roasting. The chile can now be used in a meal or frozen for later use, especially in the case of 35 lbs worth. This is what 35 lbs of green chile, roasted and bagged for the freezer looks like:
I am set, though this will be long gone before next year’s crop is ever planted.
I also ordered 10 lbs of NM pinto beans and a 2 lb bag of red chile powder.
Yum! Good food ahead! I will be posting some recipes as we dive into our cache of New Mexico treasure. Coming up, green chile rellenos and red enchiladas. Nothing quite like it, que no?
This post is part of Real Food Wednesdays blog carnival.