Monday, September 2, 2013
It's Hatch Green Chile Time!
Labor Day weekend heralds the beginning of the annual Hatch New Mexico Chile Festival, a two-day celebration of their world-famous crop. The festival attracts over 30,000 visitors from all over the United States. Festival goers can sample famed green chile recipes, watch the crowning of the “Chile Festival Queen”, or toss a horseshoe in celebration of their most famous crop. In a “wonder-of-wonders” moment, I found out that Wegman’s in Hunt Valley was having a “Hatch Chile Event” this weekend. I got some on Friday and made Green Chile Cheeseburgers (See my recipe here: http://ricksragin.blogspot.com/2013/03/green-chile-cheeseburgers-ala-owl.html )
Having been to Albuquerque and Sante Fe, Ruth and I savored these delicious chiles in everything from Omelets, Green Chile Stew and Green Chile Cheeseburgers. I went and bought 6 bags of them at Wegman’s to process and freeze for the coming Fall and Winter nights when you need a heart-warming bowl of Green Chile Stew to warm you up. (See my Green Chile Stew recipe here: http://ricksragin.blogspot.com/2013/03/hatch-green-chile-stew.html)
To savor these delicious chiles, you first need to remove the skins. This is done by roasting them over an open flame. Wegman’s had two big roasters on-site and would roast the chiles for you if you bought a 40 lb case. Since I have a 160,000 BTU wok burner, I decided I would do that myself.
After charring the chiles, I put them in a big covered pot to steam for about 20 minutes. This makes removing the skins much easier, which you do by gently scraping them with a sharp knife.
Once the skins are removed, you can cut them open and remover the seeds and veins.
Then you run the roasted and cleaned chiles through a food mill.
I use the coarse grinding blade so the chiles retain some texture. 10 pounds of chiles yielded about 7 cups of pureed chile.
To prep them for storage, I lightly oiled a muffin tin and spooned in the chile puree.
I popped them in the freezer until they were frozen solid. Once frozen, the 1-cup portions are removed from the tin, put in a vacuum bag and sealed. These can be stored in the freezer and thawed to make your favorite Southwestern dishes!