I ended up in Albuquerque all because of a road trip. A dear friend of mine was moving there and the plan was for me to drive out there with her and return home two weeks later.
Three months later, I had an apartment, a job, and new state drivers license. I thought I was going to stay for six months and then make the move to Colorado. But, if you know the beauty of New Mexico, then you know that no one stays for a short time. My six months turned into six years.
I arrived to this new place in late August, right around the time the green chile harvest was beginning to show up at the pop up stands and in local markets. I vividly recall the first time we went out to eat and the server asked me if I wanted red or green chile to accompany my meal. Now to me “chili” was a Texas Red Chili, full of ground meat and heavy on the cumin, so I could not understand why the server was asking me if I wanted chili, let alone the green kind! On my cheeseburger? I could not understand. But in just a few weeks, I completely understood. Green chile was a gift to this pale, blonde midwestern girl from Ohio. I fell in love and have longed for these chiles ever since.
It’s been well over 10 years since I lived in New Mexico and yet every Fall, I crave green chiles. On each street corner through New Mexico, there are vendors roasting fresh Hatch Green Chiles and selling them by the pound. The smoky spicy aroma fills the air and you can’t help but think about how to add green chile to everything… from burgers to ice cream. There is no wrong way to enjoy green chiles in New Mexico and that’s all right by me.
My personal favorite is to enjoy roasted green chile sauce smothered over my eggs. This dish is the perfect cure for a slight hangover or a head cold. Lucky for us, Heinen’s sells freshly roasted green hatch chiles, so I no longer have to order them online. I’ve seen them roast the chiles right in the parking lot where that enticing smell can lures even the most chile-averse person into a new appreciation for the potential of the green chiles! Should we have a terroir here in the states, Hatch, New Mexico should be one of the first regions to be designated. Hail the mighty green chile!
Green Chile Sauce
- 3 cloves of garlic
- ½ large yellow onion
- 1½ pounds tomatillos
- 2 pounds Green Chiles
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Husk the tomatillos.
- Skin and quarter the onion.
- Place the chiles, onion, garlic, and tomatillos on a baking sheet. Be careful not to over crowd the pan. This may take more than one pan.
- Drizzle with olive oil and roast about 15-20 minutes.
- Remove pan from oven and allow to cool. Once cooled, remove the skin from the chiles. Be sure to remove the seeds based on the heat level you want—the more seeds you keep, the more spice you’ll have.
- Remove the garlic from the skin.
- Place all ingredients in a food processor. Blend until to desired consistency.
- Place in jar. Refrigerate. This sauce should last for about a week in the refrigerator.
This is also a great base for a green chile stew. Interested in that recipe? I’ll gladly share! Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
—Kelli Hanley Potts is a passionate devotee of “the lost skills of the home.” Her mission is to help people rediscover the rewards of doing it yourself; to reconnect with kitchen, pantry and table, through her company The Agrarian Collective.