During these final weeks of the farmers’ market, we’re seeing a good harvest of chile peppers here in Colorado. Some vendors cook them in a hand-cranked roaster right on the spot, and one of the best smells of autumn is the aroma of fresh-roasted chiles wafting through an outdoor market or parking lot.
Along with our locally-grown chile varieties, we also love the renowned Hatch chiles from Hatch, New Mexico. These chiles have a short harvest season in late summer, but you can often find them in the frozen section at the grocery store. Just remember, the longer you keep them in the freezer the hotter they get!
If you get the opportunity to buy some fresh roasted peppers at the farmers’ market, peel off the blackened skins and use the chiles for a great pot of green chile. Or freeze them for a treat later this winter.
Here’s our favorite green chile recipe, which you can easily multiply for larger quantities. It’s a simple preparation that really highlights the flavor of the chiles, and it’s naturally thick without the addition of flour (which I think can make green chile beige and pasty). It’s great served as is with tortillas on the side, or you can smother burritos, enchiladas or your favorite Mexican dish with it.
You can make the vegetarian version of this chile by omitting the pork and substituting vegetable broth for the chicken stock. The easiest way to control the heat is to begin by choosing your preferred level of spiciness with the peppers – mild, medium, spicy or extra-spicy. You can always also add fresh chopped jalapenos or habaneros to this recipe if you really like a kick!
HOMEMADE GREEN CHILE
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound lean pork, cut into 1″ cubes
- 1 medium onion, chopped fine
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 1/4 pounds fresh long green chiles, roasted, peeled, seeds removed and coarsely chopped — or 16 ounces frozen, thawed, chopped green chiles like Hatch chiles
- juice of half a fresh lime
- 1-1/2 cups chicken stock
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Sauté the pork until evenly browned and remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel to drain. Return the pan to the heat and add the onion, garlic, cumin and oregano. Cook, stirring often, until the onion just begins to brown. Add the green chiles and lime juice and cook, stirring often, for five minutes.
Return the browned pork cubes to the pan, add the chicken stock and stir well. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and black pepper, cook for a few minutes more and serve. 6 servings.