Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Green Chile Stew

One of my favorite parts of mid September is that it’s Hatch chile season. That’s when the tasty, spicy, pungent green chiles flow from Hatch, New Mexico to a market near you. They are to green chiles what Dom Perigon is to Champagne. They make the best green chile sauce, green chile enchiladas, or as we’ll see here today, green chile stew.

You can buy the Hatch Chiles already roasted and peeled at places like Central Market or Whole Foods, but it’s a lot cheaper to buy the fresh and roast them yourself, and it’s a lot of fun too. Plus, the aroma alone of the roasting peppers that floods your back yard is worth the effort.

Green Chile Stew

8 New Mexican Green Chiles, roasted, peeled, stems and seeds removed, chopped
2 pounds lean pork, cut in to one inch cubes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large potato, peeled and chopped into ½ inch cubes
2 cans beef broth
3 cans chicken broth
1 can water
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon white pepper
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1 jalapeno, diced
Dash Mexican oregano

To roast the chiles:

Prepare a medium hot charcoal fire. Place the chiles on grate over fire, and allow the skin to blacken and blister.

Turn chiles so that all sides are exposed to the fire.  Remove from fire and place chiles in a freezer sized ziplock bag for 10-15 minutes.  This will allow them to sweat, and the skin will slip right off.
After 15 minutes in the bag, note how easily the skin peels off:

 Cut the stem end off the chile and squeeze out the seeds, then coarsely chop the chiles. 
Meanwhile, brown the pork in the oil, remove and drain.
Add the onion and garlic to the oil and saute until soft.

Next, place all the ingredients in a soup pot and simmer for two or more hours. Chop a little extra fresh cilantro to garnish the soup when you serve. Voila, Green Chile stew!

Note: In researching recipes for Green Chile Stew, I came across several that included tomatoes. I’ve tried it this way, and it does make a very flavorful stew, but I noted in my research that their use was controversial in some circles, and most New Mexican purists avoided tomatoes. Since I’m no stranger to ingredient controversies, i.e., beans/no beans in Texas chili (I’m firmly in the ‘no beans’ camp, but that’s for another article) I decided to leave out the tomatoes. Its keeps the stew greener anyway.

Viva los chiles,


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