Did you know that the official question for the state of New Mexico is: Red or Green? If you are from New Mexico (or have just been transplanted from some other state) you will know this question refers to what type of chile you want on your food. My preference is green. Oh, and yes, I like my chile hot. Not burn your mouth off hot, but I definitely want to feel the heat.
Now that we are living back in New Mexico, my husband and I and even our kids were very excited to be able to buy fresh green chile again. Around mid-August through mid-September is chile season around here. And the best chile comes from Hatch New Mexico. In fact, New Mexico even has a law that says it is illegal for other chile growers to put the name Hatch on their chile if they are not grown in the Hatch region. Almost every grocery store in New Mexico towns sell bushel bags of green chile. Then you take them outside and have them roasted. The roasting blisters the skin so that it slips and peels off easily. Then we sit for the next hour and peel and chop the chile up to freeze and use in recipes all year. Here is a short video that shows the roasting machine that is outside the grocery stores.
Here is a picture of some of my family members peeling roasted green chile.
So, I am sure the next question you may have is: What do you use green chile in? We happen to love the flavor and heat of the chile. So I use the chile in tacos, taco soup, pinto beans (also known as frijoles con chile) enchiladas, burritos. A favorite breakfast is huevos rancheros, this is corn tortillas topped with eggs, red or green chile sauce and cheese. Yum!. Matthew even told me the other day I should add some green chile to the homemade mac and cheese I make.
This is a great tradition that I am glad I can participate in and use all year long. To sum up the depth of feeling that New Mexicans can have for chile season, I have a quote from a man walking into the store while I was getting my chile roasted. He said, “Roasting chile, the greatest smell in the world”.