Thursday, September 30, 2010

Green Chiles and Hot Air Balloons - Fall is a Magical Season in New Mexico

Starting around Labor Day, we start smelling the lovely odor of roasting green chile. In New Mexico, September marks the Hatch Chile Harvest.  Hatch is a small agricultural town in Southern New Mexico famous for the finest green chile in the world. Hatch Green Chile Peppers are very tasty and are often bought fresh by families in 30 pound burlap bags.  The chiles are then roasted for about 10 minutes in large steel mesh cannister commercial roasters that rotate while a propane flame roasts the chiles, making the skins peel off easily.

Of course, if you have smaller quantities, you can roast your own chiles at home.
My 30 pounds of Hatch green chile, after being roasted and peeled, filled 16 Zip Loc freezer bags (14 for my family and 2 for my friend Marilyn who says she can't get these in Los Angeles).  I freeze them for the coming year of good eating.

Here are some dishes I make with my green chile:

Green Chiles and Cheddar Cheese Scrambled Eggs
with fresh chopped garden tomatoes

Green Chiles and Cheddar Cheese Scrambled Eggs (serves 1-2)

1 or 2 roasted New Mexico green chiles (chopped)
2-4 eggs, beaten
1/2-1 c. cheddar cheese

Heat your frying pan with 1 T. butter or vegetable oil, pour in beaten eggs and,stirring often, let it harden to a soft consistency.  Add chopped green chile and cheddar cheese, sirring until the eggs are firm.  Serve with chopped fresh tomatoes on the side. 

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas with Spanish Rice

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas (1 dozen)

1 whole uncooked chicken
8 New Mexican Chiles, roasted, peeled and seeded
1 dozen corn tortillas
5 c. cheddar cheese, shredded
4 c. Green Chile Sauce (see recipe below) or Commercial Green Chile Enchilada Sauce1 t. salt
1/2 t. ground cumin
1 c. chicken stock
1 medium yellow onion, chopped fine
2/3 c. vegetable oil
Cook a whole chicken in boiling water that covers it for 15 minutes, turn off the heat and let it sit in the hot water for an hour.  Take the chicken out and cool for 15 minutes (save that chicken stock for the future-freeze it or use it for soup), then take the meat off the bones with your fingers.  Chop up the chicken into 1/2 in.  cubes and put about 3 c.  into a large bowl. Add chopped roasted green chiles, onion,  salt, cumin, and chicken stock. Mix well. Put meat mixture and cheese and green chile sauce in separate bowls by the stove.  Coat an oblong pyrex or metal baking dish with oil or non-stick spray, add a thin layer of green chile sauce to bottom of dish. Preheat oven to 350 F.   Heat the oil in a frying pan (med. high) until hot, add corn tortillas (1 at a time) for 15 seconds, turn over with tongs or slotted spoon, dip into green chile sauce to coat both sides, place in baking dish, put about 3 T. chicken mixture and 2 T. cheese, roll it up and place, side by side in 2 rows in the baking dish.  Finish the other 11 tortillas in the same manner.  Pour remainder of green chile sauce over the top and sides of the rolled enchiladas.  Sprinkle the remainder of the cheese over the top.  Bake in oven for 20 minutes and serve. 

Recipes for the following two dishes can be found in the excellent cookbook  "Red or Green: New Mexico Cuisine" by Clyde Casey available from Southwest Flair or Amazon.
Green Chile Corn Soup

Green Chile Stew

You can make your own Green Chile Sauce (Chile Verde) at home.  Follow the Green Chile Sauce (not Salsa) recipe here:

Billy Vasquez, the 99 Cent Chef has a great recipe on his blog for roasting your green chile and making a Green Chile Cheeseburger.

Other delicious recipes using New Mexican Green and Red Chiles can be found in the Cucinas de New Mexico cookbook published by the Public Service Company of New Mexico with recipes on-line  .

You can order the book for only $11.95 (no additional charges for overseas mailing). Proceeds go the Good Neighbor Fund, a program to help low income families in New Mexico pay for their electricity.

Chiles that mature become bright red and are then dried and ground into chile powder. In New Mexico, our custom is to tie a bunch of red chile pods into a ristra to dry. 

Then, we hang up Red Chile Ristras in our kitchens to use a dried chile pod or two in cooking year round.  We often hang the bright ristras by our front doors or in our homes to decorate. Nothing quite like a bright red chile ristra to greet our guests during the Winter Holidays.  It says "Bienvenidos, please come and share our warm home and spicy dishes!"

The first week of October brings the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta . Here's the first day for the balloon mass ascension on October 2, 2010 - about 7:30AM, viewing it from Tramway Blvd. on the Sandia Pueblo:

Yes, that is a flying Pepsi can. 

Before the balloons are inflated... can eat.  Here's Amanda eating a barbequed turkey leg.

You can walk among the balloons when they are being filled with hot air, eat a lot of junk food or enjoy a picnic, buy souvenirs, listen to live music, play on the carnival rides, and get your camera ready for the ascension of the balloons or the Night Glowdeo.  It's an Albuquerque Party for all (kids and families especially welcome)!

Here are pictures from the Special Shapes Glowdeo.  After it gets dark, the propane flames are fired in unison that wows everyone there. When the wind gets blowing, though, everything is shut down.

If you go, do the "Park and Ride" option. The traffic is just too much if you try to drive to Balloon Park. 

Besides, you can take a nap on the bus ride back.

1 comment:

  1. Probably the first time I have wanted chili verde before I have even had my morning coffee. Yummmm. The aroma must be amazing when you roast them.