Well, it is wordy Wednesday, or something funny like that, that Emma came up with! Ha. Well anyway, speaking of Emma, she has asked me to write this week’s blog. I think I am up to the task, but y'all can be the judge.
So, for a completely non-photography related topic, today we will discuss one of the other loves of my life, Green Chile. Don’t worry, Jesus, my hubby, my bebe on the way, Disney, cooking and of obviously photography are still right up there at the top. BUT, since it was just August, the month of the most magical roasted chile smells, we shall talk New Mexican - and, just in case you forgot, that is the neighboring state to the left of us here in the big T… and no, a passport nor pesos are required to visit, just an empty stomach.
New Mexico, “The Land of Enchantment” - yes, folks, that is my home states’ motto, and one can only conclude they must simply be talking about the food… for I am afraid there is little enchanting about the rest.
So, New Mexican cuisine is most commonly famous for its green chile. Did you know there is a whole article written out there to inform you on the best route to take state-wide to find the “Best Green Chile Cheeseburgers”?
Green chile isn't just for enchiladas, it is for EVERYTHING. Do you remember the line in Forest Gump where Bubba is talking about his shrimping venture? Well Bubba says this:
“Anyway, like I was sayin', shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. There's uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There's pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That- that's about it.”
Sara says this:
Green chile is the food of the southwest. It tops everything… burgers, sandwiches, crackers and cheese. It adds delight to cream dips, cheese dips, salsa, and hot sauce. It goes into enchiladas, salads, stews, and soups. You can stuff it, fry it, casserole it. You can wrap in bacon, can add it to your bacon and eggs in the morning. I make my Thanksgiving dressing with green chile, my cranberry sauce with green chile, and chile relleno casserole as a side on Thanskgiving.
Green. Chile. Is. Life.
What the heck is it though? Is it umm like a bell pepper, or like ummmmm on of those Jal-A-Penos (Jowl-a-pee-knows)?
No, sort of, not really, but maybe.
Green Chile is grown all over New Mexico, but most likely here in Texas, you have heard of Hatch Green Chile, which comes from a town in Southern New Mexico, called…Hatch. Each August, HEB/Central Market and several other places and restaurants feature this delectable pepper. At HEB and Central market you may have even gotten the sweet waft of roasting chile as they fire it up in one of the special roasters.
Green chile has a skin like a bell pepper, and can pack the heat like a jalapeño, although usually you are given a choice when purchasing if you want mild or hot green chile. Mild is good for the Texans - you need to work your way up to hot… (we already sweat enough in Houston as is). It has a distinct and earthy flavor - I even like to throw some on the grill, char and peel off the skin and then just eat like that, with a sprinkle of salt…. so I guess you can even eat green chile plain.
You can really only get fresh green chile here in Texas during the early to mid part of August. Each year, I myself, head to HEB, talk to my fav produce man and get between 25-50lbs to take home and freeze. Then, I don't have to concern myself with whether or not I will have enough for all the stated things above that I like to eat on a fairly regular basis. HOWEVER, do not fret, I have learned the HEB (at least the one in Sugar Land) carries frozen Bueno chopped green chile (but only in the hot - so beware) just in case you are in a pinch. Or, I suppose, you could always buy it canned, but, let’s be honest, it sucks. Costco does also carry some 505 brand in a jar, which is better than the canned, but still far in-superior to the frozen or fresh.
Mmmm, I might add, at this moment, 9:23PM on a Tuesday evening, my stomach is now officially growling and my mouth salivating from all this green chile talk.
What should I do about that? I do have some Green Chile Pasole that I made last week in my fridge that I could eat, or instead, maybe I will just share with you some of my favorite green chile recipes and photos.
When you go to the store and buy fresh roasted chiles, they come (if you are a normal person, not buying 10000000 lbs) in a little container. When you eat them, now or later, you will need to removed the charred skin. Unless you are eating a green chile freshly chopped (which is also delicious, like a jalapeño or bell pepper), you will want to roast it or have it roasted and then remove the skin...
From here you can do many of the items mentioned... although topping a cheeseburger is amongst my favorite!
If they are hot chiles, you will, like when chopping a jalapeño, make sure to remove the seeds and WASH your hands well afterwards (avoiding touching your face and eyes, ouch!)
When storing them in the freezer you can do it a couple of ways - I like to do a combination. I will lay 5-10 chiles flat in a quart-sized bag, and then freeze them flat, so they are easy to break off later, a few at a time (we shall not waste green chile). I also like to puree some in my blender and freeze in 1-2 cup amounts, also flat in a quart bag, for things like green chile, soups, dips etc. Finally, I also like to roughly chop some chile, also storing in 1-2 cup amounts, for things where I like the chile to be more pronounced... pasole, enchiladas etc. With all of it, I freeze flat and it should last at least a year in the freezer. Once unfrozen, do not re-freeze.
Recently some of my dearest friends came over, and I taught them how to make Green Chile Pasole and Red Chile (another day, folks) Carne Adovada.
In New Mexico, we often get asked the question, "Red or Green?" And my response, like many amazing people I know is this, "Christmas" because some of my favorite things in this world, combine the use of both, red AND green chile! Here is a photo of the green chile pasole next to some red chile I made the next day...
Well that is it for now, you are saying "phew, that WAS wordy for a Wednesday," but I had to share about one of my most favorite things so you would try it for yourself!
-------- Here is a recipe for Green Chile Pasole, a delicious soup with pork, green chile, and hominy, NOM -------------
BUT, I have to say, I have always made this to taste, so if you have questions, let me know, hahahhahhah
Green Chile Stew or Pasole - My Dad's Way!
This is great for a stew, and also over sopas, cheese fries, yum!
How to Make:
Serve in a bowl with tortillas for dipping. You can top with sour cream, cheese, onions, radishes and cilantro. Or if you haven't added the hominy, serve over fried potatoes... or if you are like me, next to some red chile!
Green Chile Sauce
This is sauce for enchiladas or burritos or anything delicious that should be smothered in green chile sauce. NOM!
How to Make:
You will make a roux…
Take 1/2 cup of bacon grease with a few table spoons of oil and heat in pan. Heat it up, and add your garlic and onion (finely chopped) and sauté until beginning to brown.
Turn heat down to low.
Add 1/2 cup of flour to mixture and using a whisk stir in. It should be thick but not super clumpy. You want to make a paste, letting the flour brown for about 1 minute while stirring.
Now, add your broth, one cup at a time, whisking to incorporate. Add about half of the broth, and you will want it to be the consistency of a good gravy. You may not add the whole 32 oz, you may, depending on how thick your flour mix was.
Now add your green chile. If it is HOT I would only add 1-1.5 cups, if mild, 2 cups. let that cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add salt to taste, you can add more green chile if you want more.
At this time, sprinkle some oregano, pepper, and cumin in for taste.
**Everything is to taste