Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Green Chile

Three days ago the weather was beautiful. It was even hot outside which allowed us to have margaritas and cigars (well, some of us) on the deck. Today it looks like this! Typical Colorado and the truth is we had an awesome fall which means we were a bit overdue for what showed up overnight.  And the other truth is that the meal I served then would have been a better choice for a day like today. But we can’t control the weather at least that I know of.

Fall is the time for green chilies. I know if you aren’t from the WEST you may not be aware of that. Green chilies are harvested in the fall after they have had plenty of time to grow and get plump, shiny and delicious. Depending on what variety you buy determines how spicy they will be. I prefer a mild Hatch green chile from Hatch, New Mexico. I also add about 25% hot chilies also from Hatch-that way I can control the spiciness of my chile. Some people like it really HOT so they make their chile just from the spicy variety. This is my way of warning you to watch out before you taste an unknown chile!

 I buy my chile off the street in bushels from vendors that have driven up from New Mexico. They actually roast them while you watch which creates that specific chile smell which to me means fall. Really, you should carry your own tortillas so you can wrap one up and eat it right there. Man, they are soooo good. (The reason you roast them is to take off the skin of the pepper which can be quite thick. If you want you can do it on a grill but it saves a step to have someone do it for you. After they are roasted you still have to take the skin off but without the roasting it would be next to impossible. That is why you see this big plastic bag.

After they are roasted they place them in a bag not only so I can get them home but so they can steam which makes the skins come off easier.) This year I think I was shorted so during the winter I may have to resort to buying them frozen in the grocery section. They are still very good but you don’t get to eat them fresh which is my favorite part.

It took me a few seasons to really get my chile the way I like it. Many people add tomatoes or cubes of pork but I prefer the taste of pure unadulterated chile. Chile is quite simple to make once the formula is right. Many books say that what I make is a green chile sauce however I think you can use it not just as a sauce but as a soup like any other. If you want you can garnish with cilantro, goat’s cheese, Monterey or cheddar cheese, sour cream, green onions or whatever you feel like. Make this your own! Of course you can also use it over enchiladas, tamales, quesadillas, chicken, etc. And the thickness of the chile is also determined by you. Thickening can be done with a bit of flour mixed with water and stirred into a warm broth. Stir it well so that it doesn’t turn into cooked lumps of flour. Let it cook a bit and it will thicken.

I served my chile to friends with empanadas and black beans, rice and tortillas as accompaniments. Of course we had lots of margaritas which caused us to take these beautiful hand shots. No, they are not my hands but I would take the rings and the hands! 

And last but not least, the hands also brought me these colorful mums that I had lots of fun practicing my photography on.

Now it is up to you. Find your green chili and get your taste buds turned on.

Green Chile

3T vegetable oil
1 large onion chopped
3 garlic cloves minced
2T flour
1 1/2c chopped mild green chile
½ c chopped hot green chili
Pinch of Mexican oregano
2 c chicken stock (I make this with Better Than Bouillon) Just mix a good spoonful into the hot water or directly into hot soup.
1 t salt- you may want to test as the bouillon does give it a nice degree of saltiness
 Tabasco- if you want it spicier

Heat oil and add onion. Cook about 5 minutes and add garlic. Cook another minute and stir in flour. Cook for 1-2 minutes stirring so flour doesn’t burn. Add chilies. Pour in stock and add oregano. Taste for salt and adjust if necessary. Bring to boil and cook for about 15 minutes on a low simmer. If you want it thicker add the flour water solution as mentioned above.

You are now ready to grab your tortillas and eat.

Use Hatch chilies!

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1 comment:

  1. Hi Abbe, great post. I love green chile. Totally agree it's good just as is, though more frequently I turn it into a pork chili. Great looking blog, BTW. Glad I discovered you. Thanks.