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Monday, August 29, 2011

A New Mexico Newbee Roasts Green Chiles

It's chile harvest season in New Mexico and it's a big deal.  On street corners, in grocery store parking lots and alongside the roads are trucks and tables piled with bags and baskets of large green chiles, just picked and ready for roasting either at home or right there. Last year in Albuquerque at upscale ABQ Uptown mall, there were chile roasters there, too. No one is too fancy for green chile in New Mexico.

Plastic bags with just roasted chile, bags and baskets of fresh chile.
 Heck, even Wal-Mart sells chiles with a guy roasting them for you right outside the store.

 The smell of roasting chiles is a reminder that fall is coming and it's time, like squirrels do with nuts, to stock up on New Mexico's favorite food. There are lines of people waiting for their chiles and folks will roast them right there. Most people are going for a year's worth of chile and since chile is in or on most foods most days, that's a lot of green.

My mom and dad would bring home fresh green chiles from vacations, roast them in their broiler, and freeze them, but I never got into all that, content to be gifted some frozen care packages when I visited. I had a "grasshopper and the ants" mentality when it came to green chiles.

But I figured, what the heck, I might as well take advantage of all these fresh chiles, so I bought a basket of chiles for ten dollars and decided to roast them myself.

It was a splendid day for chile roasting: temperate weather and the rain had just stopped.

So I popped them on the Weber. I wanted to grill the chiles until the skin was blistered because that's how you get the skins off.

These were about ready. I didn't realize that they might explode, and a couple times I ended up breathing chile fumes from an explosion. Now I need respiratory therapy. Note to self: 1. Don't lean over the barbie and 2. Poke a knife in each chile before you pop it on the grill.

It took about 5 minutes for the chiles to be nice and blistered. From there I put them in a large bowl with a damp towel over the top so they could sweat. After I was all done roasting, I took the chiles to the sink where I pulled out the stems, shook out the seeds, and packaged them in plastic bags. Tom was upstairs in bed by this time. "What the hell are you doing down there? It smells like a chile factory!"

By the time I was done, there were 22 small and 2 large plastic storage bags filled and ready for the freezer. I think we have a year's worth.

And maybe next chile harvest season I'll have the guy with the roasting basket do it for me!

1 comment:

  1. Good for you, Bridget! I am newer to New Mexico than you are and I'm not attempting to roast chiles yet. But I am sure getting addicted to them! Now it seems like there's something missing if I have a cheeseburger sans chile.


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