September 9, 2012

Hatch Green Chile Sauce

ready to roast

Fresh chiles were not a regular part of my family's nightly meal making.  The main source of chiles came in the form of the ever useful and popular chili powder spice.  Even after living in the southwest for many years, I would pass by the fresh chiles without a thought purchasing the occasional jalapenos. Bell peppers were the pepper of choice in my family.  Then I met a friend from New Mexico and she introduced me to Hatch, New Mexico green chiles.  Her love of green chiles was inspiring; she made green chile stew, green chile chicken enchiladas, green chile burritos and tacos, green chile breakfast burritos, green chile stuffed burgers...and the list goes on.  I am ever so grateful that she shared her enthusiasm and recipes with me.  Green chiles are a wonder food adding spice and flavor to classic dishes.  For many years I have relied on Bueno green chiles - Bueno is a brand from Hatch, New Mexico and Hatch is the town where the chiles are grown.  Unfortunately, Bueno frozen chiles are only sold in the southwestern states.  I love seeing cars on I10 coming from New Mexico with burlap bags of green chiles on their rooftops.

This year I branched out and roasted my own and put them up in the freezer. When the chiles roast, the house smells peppery and spicy.  I was afraid of the tedium of the skin peeling part as a previous roasted red pepper kick turned me off to tedium of peeling the roasted peppers skin.  I am glad to say that the green chiles peeled with ease.

Roasting Green Chiles
Green Chiles
Set your oven to broil moving the rack close to your element.    I set my rack on the second notch below as the flames were lighting my chiles on fire.
Spread washed and dried green chiles on a baking sheet.
Place in oven and turn chiles until blistered and black on all sides.
I used the smell of charred skin to signal me when to turn my chiles but it was about 6 minutes. 
I turned the chiles 3 to 4 times makings sure all sides were blistered.
Remove from oven and cover with a damp towel right on the sheet pan (creating steam) and rest for 15-20 minutes.

chopped and ready to use for green chile sauce


Green Chile Sauce

Makes 1 1/2 to 2 cups sauce
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 of medium onion finely chopped
1/2 cup roasted green chiles
1-2 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4  teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon or to taste salt
2-3 tablespoons cornstarch
2-3 tablespoons cold water

In a medium sauce pan over medium heat add oil and onions and cook until softened.
Add green chiles, chicken broth, spices and salt.
Bring to a boil and cook for 10 to 15 minutes.
Add cornstarch to a bowl adding 2 tablespoon of water and stir until smooth. 
Whisk cornstarch slurry into the green chile sauce over medium heat.
Bring to low boil and cook for 5 minutes
Adjust the thickness according to preference by adding more cornstarch slurry or more chicken broth.  I prefer sauce to be thickened but not thick like a gravy.
Taste sauce and adjust seasonings to taste preference.

Green Chile Chicken Burrito
Ristras are a way to preserve chile pods for later use.  In New Mexico they are used a decoration especially at Christmas time.  I bought a fresh ristra made with Hatch chiles to send to my sister and hung it in my closet for 1 week and it started molding so I had to put it out side and dry it.  It turned a pleasing red color peppered with black spots from the mold.

Ristras hanging at a chile festival.



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