Green Chiles do not get hotter when they are frozen--that is if you leave them unpeeled. Removing the peeling subjects them to freezer burn or dehydration and as they dehydrate, they taste hotter, only because they are dried out and the piquncy or capsaicin is more concentrated.
A benefit to keeping the peeling on when freezing is that they peel so much easier than they do if just parched. Just run water of any temperature over the frozen chiles--and the skin just slips right off. Always leave the peel on as well as the stem on when freezing them and freeze them like berries--drained and slightly separated on a sheet pan. Once solidly frozen, place them in a freezer weight bag. And don't forget to label with the date and type of chile, such as mild, medium or hot.
And, if you would like to learn to cook some really special, favorite green chile recipes, register while there is still space for the August 26 class. We will be cooking two award-winning Green Chile Stews, Green Chile Apple Pie and much more.
The August 20-22 weekend class is just around the corner and if you can come, I am placing it on a very special half price sale for the next three days. We will be cooking green chiles several ways in the class, plus many New Mexican traditional favorites.
Following is my very favorite Green Chile Sauce. It has so much more flavor than the average sauce most restaurants serve and yet is so easy to prepare. It is good with or without the poached chicken. For poached chicken, I prefer to simmer a whole chicken on it's back in double rich chicken stock which has a splash of pickled jalapeno juice or a whole jalapeno and a splash of vinegar or lemon juice. When cooking the chicken, start the heat on high, then after the bubbling starts, reduce to low and cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until the legs move easily. Then cool the chicken in the broth or stock to allow the juice to reabsorb into the chicken flesh for moist, very flavorful meat. Then remove the skin and bones and place in 1 cup amounts in freezer weight bags and label.
NEW MEXICO GREEN CHILE SAUCE
This basic, yet versatile sauce without the chicken can be used to create enchiladas, or pour over chimichangas or burritos. Seafood, beef or beans can be substituted for the chicken.
Yield: 2 cups
1 Tablespoon butter or lard
2/3 cup chopped onion
2 Tablespoons flour
1-1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup (or more) coarsely chopped green chiles
1 cup cooked, chopped chicken
1 large clove garlic, finely minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
Dash of ground comino (cumin)
1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the onion until soft. Stir in the flour.
2. Add the broth. Then add chiles, garlic, salt and comino.
3. Simmer for 20 minutes; then use for making enchiladas. If adding chicken, add it just before stacking or rolling the enchiladas.
GREEN CHILE CHICKEN OPEN FACED ENCHILADAS
This recipe is a favorite of visitors to New Mexico—in fact it is often voted the number 1 choice by tourists of our traditional dishes. This is the best sauce recipe—many are not very flavorful as they do not use a roux to develop the flavor in the sauce.
Yield: 4 servings
8 white, yellow or blue corn tortillas
Oil for frying or chile water, optional
1 recipe Green Chile Sauce (above)
3/4 cup 50/50 mixture of grated Cheddar & Monterey Jack cheese, or to taste
1 medium-size onion, chopped
1/4 cup sour cream
Garni: Caribe chile, coarsely chopped Romaine and red leaf lettuces, 4 tomato wedges for each enchilada
- For rolled enchiladas, lightly fry the tortillas in ½ inch of hot oil in a skillet (or dip in chile water or just warm the tortillas). (see instructions below.)
- For Flat Enchiladas: Place a spoonful of green chile sauce on the plate, then top with a tortilla followed by sauce, cheese and onion. Repeat once more. Top each enchilada with more sauce, cheese and onion. Heat in a moderate 350 F oven until the cheese melts. Top each with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of caribe chile. Encircle each enchilada with lettuce and tomato wedges.
For Rolled Enchiladas: Dip the softened tortilla into the sauce and place a strip of each grated cheese and chopped onion down the center. Roll and top with more sauce and cheese. To serve a crowd, place the rolled enchiladas in a large, shallow baking dish, but do not cover with sauce. Just before serving, heat in a moderate 350 F oven. Warm the sauce separately and add just as you are ready to serve. Do not overcook or the enchiladas will be very mushy. Top with additional cheese and reheat until it melts. Add lettuce around edges before serving.
Reprinted with permission from Jane Butel’s Southwestern Kitchen