New Mexico Green Chiles: Trendy and Traditional, Healthy and Hot

How to Roast and Ready Your Own Green Chiles + Recipes: Easy Green Chile Scramble and Green Chile Stir Fry (vegan).

It’s late summer/early fall and the wonderful smell of roasting green chiles is wafting through the air all over New Mexico and many other places as well. That sweet smokey aroma means ‘home’, good memories and the best cooking of the year to millions of people. And it’s not just salsa and sauces we’d all be thinking of. Green chiles can play a starring role in many different kinds of recipes and dishes.

And right now, heaps of these wonderful chiles (harvested either from Hatch, NM or other areas) are showing up in grocery stores all over the country, particularly in the south and southwest. Despite their popularity they are still inexpensive and you can easily buy a pound or two, roast and peel them yourself, and then your are on your way to adding tasty little swaths of green chile to pizza, on top of burgers and sandwiches, and swirled into casseroles and stir fries, and more.

These chiles are slightly tangy, almost sweet and come in mild, medium and demon hot. Once roasted and peeled, they keep and refrigerate extremely well and can be frozen for at least 8 months. Many grocery stores and some farmers markets will roast your chiles for you in a barrel roaster if you buy in enough bulk. But nowadays, if you prefer, you can buy your green chiles pre-roasted and prepackaged in a variety of product types — canned, refrigerated or frozen.

Vitamin C plus Capsaicum equals Huge Immunity Boost

The scientific name is Capsicum Annuum ‘New Mexico Group’ and they are also known as Anaheim chiles in other parts of the world. They have tremendous food value and have long been thought of as a cold remedy and a ‘hang over helper’. This is probably because they include huge amounts of Vitamin C and capsaicin — two very powerful immunity boosters that work magic in tandem with each other.

Take a look at the huge nutritional boon provided by just 3.5 ounces of these chiles:

240% RDA of vitamin-C (Ascorbic acid)
39% RDA of vitamin B-6 (Pyridoxine) 
32% RDA of vitamin A 
13% RDA of iron
14% RDA of copper 
7% RDA of potassium

Add the fiery element of capsaicin ( anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic and analgesic all in one!) to the healthy arsenal above and you have a delicious immunity booster that can’t be beat.

Nothing smells better or tastes better than fresh NM green chiles being roasted and prepared right in your own kitchen. And you can easily do this all on your own. The only equipment you’ll need is either a bar-b-que grill, of any size or type, if you want to cook them outdoors or a toaster oven if you want to roast indoors.

You can roast your chiles in a regular kitchen oven, in the broiler using a broiler pan, but I don’t recommend it generally because it’s too easy to burn the chiles (rather than just blister-roast them) unless you can see them while they roast and have quick access to turn and flip.

Chiles in a toaster oven ready to roast
Roasted and blistered chiles ready to peel

Oven Roasting Green Chiles

  1. To oven roast your chiles, all you have to do is place them on a wire rack with the stem ends facing outwards. Put them on broil or the second to highest rack placement on high heat.
  2. After about 3-5 minutes the skins on the tops side should begin to blister and change color, lifting away from the flesh.
  3. Turn the chiles over to roast on the other side by grasping each one by the stem and carefully flipping over. Let it roast until most of the skin is blistered and changing color. (this process not only cooks the chiles but it makes the removal of the skins much more effortless).
  4. Remove the roasted, blistered chiles and place them on a plate, allowing them to cool completely.
  5. IMPORTANT: You may want to put on rubber gloves or some form of hand protection before completing the next step in case your skin is highly sensitive to capsaicum (this is what creates the burning sensation in your mouth, possibly could on your hands as well).
  6. Once the blistered chiles are cooled, the skins should be very easy to peel off, practically coming off by themselves. After peeling, slice off the tops with the stems and discard. There will be seeds left in the upper part of each chile: use a spoon or your gloved finger to carve out the left over seeds and discard.
  7. Now your chiles are roasted, peeled and ready for use. Store in an airtight container until you are ready to slice them, dice them, toss them in a blender or swag them over quinoa burgers — the sky’s the limit.

EASY Green Chile Scramble (vegan)

For Breakfast:

This Green Chile Scramble is vegan (No Eggs) and is the best hang-over or “not feeling well” remedy known to man as far as I’m concerned. It is always a treat and all that Vitamin C and capsaicum tends to perk you up right away. Obviously it’s a pretty good breakfast just about any day!

Ingredients: (2-3 servings)

  • 1/2 cup roasted, peeled green chiles, sliced into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 small sweet potato, baked, peeled and chunked to inch size pieces
  • 1 small-medium onion, sliced or chunked
  • 2 large tomatillos (or sub tomatoes) chunked to inch size pieces
  • 1 cup of silken tofu
  • 2 tablespoons Olive or sunflower oil
  • 1 tablespoon of Tumeric
  • 2 cloves of garlic, sliced or minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried Rosemary
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Now for the easy part:

  • put a med-large skillet on medium heat, add the cooking oil
  • add the silken tofu first — sprinkle the tumeric over it and stir — this will give it flavor and the cheerful yellow color of eggs.
  • Next add the sweet potato, the onions, the tomatillos and the garlic — stir in with the tofu and let them cook together for a few minutes
  • Sprinkle in the rosemary
  • Last, drop in the green chiles and stir to distribute throughout – let the mixture cook under cover for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Serve up this Green Chile scramble with a side of toast, orange juice and hot coffee/tea and you will have a fabulous breakfast, no doubt about it .

But if you are thinking more along the lines of lunch or dinner, the same basic ingredients above will also work wonders — with just a few changes and additions:

Easy Green Chile Stir Fry (vegan)

For lunch or dinner:

  • 1/2 cup roasted, peeled green chiles, sliced into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 small-medium Red onion, sliced or chunked
  • 2 large tomatillos (or sub tomatoes) chunked to inch size pieces
  • 1 cup of firm tofu – chunked to inch size pieces, marinated with soy sauce and /or sesame oil, or other marinate of your choice
  • 2 tablespoons Olive or sunflower oil
  • 1 tablespoon of Paprika
  • 2 cloves of garlic, sliced or minced
  • 1 cup Bell or banana pepper (whatever you have on hand) cut to inch size pieces
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon dried Rosemary
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Once again, place large skillet on medium to high heat and add the cooking oil.

  • Add the marinated chunks of tofu first and sprinkle them with the paprika, and stir
  • Next add the red onion, the tomatillos, the bell peppers, and the garlic and stir.
  • At this point, add about 3/4 cup of water to the mixture, to bring up the juices and create a natural sauce
  • Now add in the green chile and follow with the rosemary, salt and pepper to taste
  • simmer for about 5-8 minutes, adding a little more water if needed

And now you have a great main entree, ladled over a bed of white rice or paired with a helping a black beans and tortillas on the side. Can’t go wrong.

Just one more recommendation: Green Chile Cornbread is just about all you need to make any dinner, like the one above, complete. So easy to make: If you buy a sack or box of corn meal there will always be a cornbread recipe on the package. Just follow the directions on the box and stir in the green chile pieces at the last stage before placing in the oven. It will add wonderful taste and fragrance. (for vegan substitute plant milk for dairy milk and 2 tablespoons cooking oil for each egg).

I am a native New Mexican, so these Green chile recipes are close to my heart. I hope you will try them and love them as much as I do.

2 thoughts on “New Mexico Green Chiles: Trendy and Traditional, Healthy and Hot

  1. Great recipes! They sound delicious.

    Liked by 1 person

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