Frequently, people ask me about shipping them green chile. They also ask so many questions about getting green chiles off season. I gladly tell them the following facts.
Green c;hiles are in season here in New Mexico from late July/early August until frost or about the middle to late October. Green chilies are relatively perishable, making them time-consuming to pack in layers of paper to prevent mass spoilage and shipping is fairly expensive.
What to know? Almost anywhere green chilies can be found in supermarkets year round at a somewhat higher price than in season, but so much less costly than shipping them from here. People tell me that they never see them for sale, but in fact they are most always there. They are called Anaheim chiles in grocer's lexicon. How did that name stick?
The first popularity of green chilies is credited to the Ortega family who started growing New Mexico chiles in Anaheim, CA in the late 1800's. They found they could get three crops in California rather than just one in New Mexico. They developed a fire roasting method and began canning their green chiles. Also, grocers started carrying the fresh ones decades ago, calling them Anaheim chilies due to their original origin. In the winter, green chilies grown from New Mexico seeds are grown in Mexico and South America.
Another point that irritates me is that many people a call them peppers. Do you know who is responsible for calling them peppers? It was Christopher Columbus (whose holiday was celebrated this week in some parts) who thought if he took the inidiginous chiles he found in the Americas back to Europe and called them "peppers"--that Europeans would take to them and they would be cheaper than black pepper. Needless to say the marketing experiment failed but the name stuck!
Another regional popularity is Hatch chiles. I can remember when Hatch was just a wide spot in the road in southern New Mexico. Some great marketers began the Hatch Chile Festival that grew and grew and the locals began importing green chiles from all over New Mexico to sell. Few are actually grown in Hatch, but people have found them to be quite good and the name has really grown in popularity. In fact they are the same green chilies you get from most any valley in New Mexico.
Green chiles vary in heat units just as do ripe red chiles, but they differ in food value. Green chiles are much higher in vitamin C and when they seasonally become ripe and red, they are much higher in Vitamin A and much lower in Vitamin C....which is rather amazing as Vitamin A is the "sight vitamin" much more needed in the winter with the longer nights.
The health of a chile which comes from capsaicin, which is created in the placenta just under the stem and transported by the veins and seeds throughout the chile flesh is the same--no matter whether it is red or green.
I like to call the pods chilies with an "e" ending and call the bowl of meat with red chile sauce chili...just to differentiate the two. And while I am at it, all chiles are members of the nightshade botanical family and they are a fruit.
Green chile powder is relatively expensive due to the tedious drying process. Green chiles are over 90% water, making it time-consuming to create green chile powder. I am placing ours on a 20% off special for the rest of the week. Green chile powder is most often used as a condiment to add heat and spice to sauces and various dishes that need "pepping up" depending on your palate.
I am rescheduling the October 25-29 week long class to March 7 - 11, 2022. Covid has taken its toll with registrations. Hopefully by March everyone will be desiring having fun cooking chiles and learning lots of techniques in March!
Our Red Chile Class set for October 21 at 5 PM is almost full, and there are still a few openings for our Southwest Holidays Cooking class set for December 2 at 5 PM and our Gifts from a Southwest Kitchen set for December 16 in the aftrernoon.
Here are two favorite fall recipes....
CHILE-CORN CUSTARD CAZUELAS
The green chiles in this recipe form a lovely and unusual crust for the golden custard. For greatest flair, prepare in and serve in earthenware bowls (cazuelas).
Yield: 12 servings
2 dozen large, fresh New Mexican green chiles, parched, and sliced open
6 eggs, beaten
4 cans (15 ounces each) yellow cream-style corn
1 ½ cups yellow cornmeal (if desired, crumbled tostado or taco shells may be substituted)
1 ½ teaspoons salt (reduce amount if using salted tostados)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon baking powder
12 Tablespoons sweet butter melted
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (not necessary to grate if using a food processor or blender; can use low or no-fat cheddar or Jack cheese to reduce fat)
1. Butter 12 ovenproof earthenware bowls or individual casseroles. Then peel the chiles, remove the stems, and rinse out the seeds, leaving the chiles whole. Place two whole, sliced open chiles in each casserole, big or stem end up, slightly above the rim of each bowl. As uniformly as possible, stretch the two chiles to cover the bottom and sides of each.
2. Place all the remaining ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until well blended.
3. Pour into the individual, green chile-lined casseroles, dividing the mixture evenly. Bake 30 minutes at 375F, then reduce the temperature to 325F for another 10 minues, or until an inserted knife comes out clean. These keep amazingly well. I’ve kept them in a 150Foven for 3 to 4 hours while waiting serving time and they really do not suffer. Place the casserole dishes on a service plate to serve.
CORN AND BACON CHOWDER CHILI
The smoky flavor of bacon adds character to almost any chili, soup, or stew, and here, paired with corn and potatoes, it makes this chili extra-special. For a veggie version, simply skip the bacon, use 3 Tablespoons olive or vegetable oil to sauté the vegetables, and add a drop or two of liquid smoke.
Yield: serves 2 to 4
6 slices bacon, cut crosswise into ½ inch wide pieces
2 cups chopped onions
3 cups diced unpeeled russet potatoes (2 to 3 potatoes)
4 fresh green chiles, parched, peeled, stemmed, and chopped, or 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chiles
4 fresh red chiles, parched, peeled, stemmed, and chopped (see Note)
2 cups fresh, frozen, or canned corn (if fresh, cut from 1 large ear of corn)
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups whole milk
½ cup heavy (whipping) cream or evaporated skim milk
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Hot pepper sauce (optional)
1 teaspoon crushed caribe chile
1. Place the bacon in a large saucepan or pot over medium to medium-low heat, and cook until it is crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate and set it aside.
2. Drain most of the bacon drippings from the saucepan, leaving just a thin layer on the bottom. Add the onions and potatoes and cook, stirring, until the onions are translucent and the potatoes are slightly browned around the edges, 5 to 7 minutes.
3. Add the green and red chiles, corn, broth, milk, and cream and stir well. Add the cumin and salt, cover the pan, and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
4. Stir in the bacon. Taste the chili and adjust the seasonings as needed, adding hot pepper sauce to taste (you can also pass it at the table, if you prefer). Serve sprinkled with the caribe chile.
Note: If you can’t find fresh red chiles, chop 1 jar (4 ounces) drained pimiento strips and add several drops hot pepper sauce to taste.