Taste of the Southwest

We went on vacation last week to one of my favorite states to visit. New Mexico. Not because I worked three summers in the Sangre de Cristo mountains in the northwestern part of the state and have a bond with it. The state is different. Of all the states I have visited, it is the only one that feels DIFFERENT. Both New Mexico and Oklahoma have a lot of Native Americans, but Oklahoma looks and feels and tastes the same to me as any other state I’ve been to. New Mexico is different people, different food, different life. We stayed in Flagstaff, Arizona several years ago. I figured it would have the same feel as New Mexico being that it’s in the southwest. Felt pretty Joe American to me.

One of the best parts of New Mexico is the green chile. Ask for green chile on you enchiladas in Texas? You’ll get CHILI colored green. Yuk! Ok, so I’m exaggerating but you get the point. You walk into a New Mexican food restaurant in NM, and it states right next to most dishes, “Add green chile?” or “Red or green chile?” Not to be confused with a verde sauce. That is more tomatillo based.

New Mexico is known for their chile peppers. Namely, the Hatch green chile pepper, grown only in Hatch, NM. It’s not a variety of pepper, as there are four different types of chile pepper that could be called a Hatch chile. NM 6-4, Big Jim, Lumbria, and Sandia. There isn’t much difference between these and the Anaheim pepper. Except for maybe flavor. And that’s where Hatch comes into play. You don’t go to El Paso to get clam chowder do you? No. You go to New England. I even grow Big Jim chile peppers in my garden, but its definitely not a Hatch chile.

At most convenience store, grocery store, street stand, bowling alley in the late summer you’ll find people roasting and selling Hatch green chiles. Steve (my wife’s dad. We met her parents in Ruidoso for vacation) picked up a batch of chiles when they had arrived. Steve and I ate them breakfast, lunch and dinner. Stephanie and I had contemplated bringing some home with us but we really didn’t have the storage for them. Fortunately, after we had arrived home early this week Stephanie found a load of them at Albertson’s.

This evening I finally got around to roasting and storing them.

My Big Jim on the left and a Hatch chile on the right.

Big Jim chile pepper’s in the garden still growing.

On the grill.

When you roast them, you only want to get them partially black. If you leave them on too long there won’t be much left. The process shouldn’t take more than 10-15 minutes, keeping them turned.

Roasted. The smell is out of this world wonderful.

Soon after you remove them from heat, place the chiles in a plastic bag. This allows steam to build up and loosen the skin for removal.

After removing them from the bag, DO NOT RINSE THEM. You will lose flavor. Carefully take them out one at a time and remove the skin, seen above.

Skins removed. At this point you can cook with them, or place them whole into some baggies and freeze them.

I went a step further and hand chopped mine removing a small portion of the seed.

I portioned the lot into four small baggies. Now we can make them with breakfast, lunch, or dinner. You could even dip a chip or two. I was eating some as I was storing them.

So delicious!

Comments 2

  1. misti wrote:

    I’ve never had a hatch but it seems that they are now all the rage at the stores, at least over the last couple of years.

    Looks good! You’ll have to make some veggie enchiladas for me!

    Posted 13 Sep 2012 at 9:20 am
  2. Moosie wrote:

    Now I am hungry!!!!!!!! And I want some. The we’re on the news tonight too.

    Posted 16 Sep 2012 at 11:51 pm

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