Thursday, September 8, 2011

Green Chiles By Moonlight

It's green chile season, but just barely.  If you want green chiles from anything other than a can, you'd better hurry.  I almost missed it.  Don't be like me.

The green chiles grown in New Mexico are the best, according to conventional wisdom.  They're usually sold by the bag, pound, or bushel, and at the end of the summer they're at the grocery store, farmer's market and roadside stand. 

Some folks have nifty tumbling roasters to spin the lovely green chiles over a flame.  As for the rest of us, any flame or broiler will work.  Because, you know, roasted chiles can be bought for somewhere around $3.50 per pound or you can be me and find the un-roasted ones for $.59 at Whole Foods!  You heard me.  FIFTY-FREAKIN NINE CENTS PER POUND!!! 


For that price, we'll roast our own chiles.  And by "we" I mean "Cabbage."  Because I know he's up for playing with man-fire.

So there we were.  Our big Saturday night entailed the two of us on the back porch, in the humid darkness, by the light of the gas grill.  It was so romantic.  We put the baby to bed, grabbed a couple of beers, and slipped into something comfortable.  For me, that was old running shorts with my hair in a kung fu knot on top of my head and dirty bare feet on the concrete of the porch.  For him, that was a chore-dirtied t-shirt and a splint.  You know.  For his newly mangled, broken finger.

Ok, so romantic it wasn't.  But it doesn't take much to amuse us, and it was just the kind of companionable little adventure we enjoy figuring out together. 

All I really knew about roasting chiles was to, well, add fire to chiles and wait till they blacken.  Then, I figured, they needed to be steamed in a bag.  I checked with Google for some backup and we got started.

But first, a sip of beer.

We washed the chiles well, then dried them and put them on a hot grill.

I'd say it was about 470 degrees.  Actually, I have no idea but it was pretty dang hot.

At that point I noticed Annie was hanging out near the back porch, so I decided to say hi and blind her with my camera flash.

You're welcome, Annie.

About 5-7 minutes on the first side, and those pretty green chiles turned black as night.  Dark as soot.  Crisped, incinerated and like the black hole of chiledom.

Never fear, that's just the tough outer skin.  We didn't want it anyway.

So after the chiles blackened on one side, Cabbage used his mangled birdclaw to turn the peppers over.  If you have a mangled birdclaw, please use it to roast your chiles.  It's the best way to do it.

If you have a spazoid colt available to watch you from his mega-stall, please include him, too.

After the flip, the fully grotesque consequences of your roasting will be obvious. 

A few more minutes on the new side, and those lovelies needed to come off the grill.  Onto a cookie sheet they went, and then into a large Ziploc bag. 

We sealed them and allowed them to steam for at least 30 minutes before they were divided into smaller parcels.

Hello in there, my little chiles.  I see you steaming.   I'm going to eat you.  Not today, not tomorrow, but you will meet your chile destiny. 

[This would usually be the point at which I would purchase the chiles...]

When you freeze your chiles, don't take the skins off, or seed them.  They will last better, and taste fresher, if you leave them as-is.    When you're ready to use the chiles, defrost them and remove the burned outer skin, stem, and seeds (if you want it hotter, leave more seeds).  They're ready for your recipes and will taste amazing!

The chiles we roasted will be glorious.  They'll probably become the foundation of a big pot of pork green chile this fall or winter...  Yesssss....  Green chile made from our family recipe.  No tomatoes.  Tomatoes are lovely but do not belong in green chile.  You know what belongs in green chile?

Green chiles.

And now I know how to roast them.  And you can, too. 


  1. You really are your mother's daughter :) Love ya'

  2. Love your blog's new look. Love to read your posts - they always bring a smile to my face. :)


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