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Chile It Up

By Jane Butel  September 27, 2023

Have you gotten a supply of green chiles frozen for the months ahead?  If you have the freezer space, you may wish to parch, chill and quick freeze a supply of chiles now while they are at  their peak and much more reasonably priced than during the months ahead.  Although, I must admit, the large green chiles that the grocers mistakenly call Anaheims are increasingly available during the winter, just less fresh and much more expensive.   This Thursday evening in classs, I will be showing you what I think is by far and away the best way to parch and freeze green chiles.   There are still a few spaces left for the class, so I am extending the special $95.00 price for one more day until tonight at midnight.

By the way, do  you know why the grocers almost without exception call  them Anaheims?  It all started sometime in the 1920's when member of one branch of the Ortega family from southern New Mexico decided to move to California, where they could grow more than one chile crop a year due to the milder climate.  They started their Southern California chile farming south of Los Angeles near Anaheim--hence the reason grocers call any long green chile an Anaheim, despite the variety or origin.

And, a popular chile dish is enchiladas, which we will be making this take a trortilla evening at 5 PM, both with green chiles and chicken and red chiles and beef.   Further, do you kow why they are called "enchiladas"?  It is because the name literally implies "in chile".  Most everywhere but in New Mexico, enchiladas are a dish where the tortilla, formerly and usually corn is wrapped around a filling. Then  grated sharp cheese and chopped onions are used as a filling. Here in New Mexico, most prefer to make  open faced or flat enchiladas whre the meat, if being used is placed in the sauce whereas with a rolled enchilada, the meat is used as a filling.   If you can spare the time, we will be making both kinds of enchiladas Thursday along with Fish Tacos and all the trimmings.

My next day class will indeed, be a day class--on Monday, we will have a Tamale Roll class where we will be making three or four types of tamales (the number of  kinds of tamales depend on the number in the class).

Our next weekend class is November 10 - 12 and our next week long class is October 23 - 27.  For complete menus, check our website at  www.janebutelcooking.com.

Here's couple of green chile recipes--


These precious little quiche-like flans make a delicious and attractive side dish for any dinner. The double chile kick from the green chile crust and the chipotle flavoring the corn custard makes them super yummy! .

Yield: 4, 3-ounce servings

9 large green chiles

1 tablespoon sweet (unsalted) butter

1 cup milk

6 ounces or ¾ cup cream style canned corn

1 to ½ teaspoons chipotle powder

1 egg

½ teaspoon salt


1. Parch and peel the whole green chiles.

2. Butter individual baking dishes, using about a teaspoon of the butter. (You can use coffee cups if you do not have individual flan dishes.) Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Place the peeled chiles on the inside of each cup overlapping the chile over the cup as crust.

3. Heat the remaining butter with the milk in a heavy saucepan only until the butter melts. Then place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until well blended. Pour into individual baking dishes.

4.Place the baking dishes in a large baking pan that is covered with a small towel or cloth, then place in the preheated oven. Using a pitcher or large measuring cup, pour water into the baking pan to about the 1-inch level. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, checking for doneness by inserting a sharp knife. If it comes out clean, the custards are done. They should be lightly browned. If not done, continue until they are of the desired brownness. If desired, allow to cool at least 30 minutes before running a sharp knife around each and inverting them onto warm dinner plates, or serve them in the baking dish.


When you cook with fresh green chiles, I recommend that you parch or roast them to remove the tough outer skin. The process—intense direct heat on the peel of the chile that leaves the flesh uncooked—is easy enough, but if you are not used to the sting of chiles, you may want to wear rubber gloves or generously butter your hands to prevent a burn from the chiles’ irritating oils. 

            To parch chiles, first wash them, removing all sand and dirt. Leave the stem on, then pierce each one with a sharp knife, about 1 inch down from the stem. 

To Parch a Few Chiles: Set up an ice water bath in a large bowl next to the stove. Place each chile directly on a medium-hot electric burner surface unit, or hold it with tongs or a meat fork over a gas burner on medium-high heat. Using tongs, carefully rotate the chiles until the skin is charred on all sides, about about 2 to 5 minutes, then plunge the roasted chiles into the ice bath. Allow the chiles to soak until cool to the touch, then use your fingers to peel away the skin from stem to tip. 

To Parch Large Quantities of Chiles: If using an electric oven, cover the entire top rack with heavy aluminum foil and place it four inches from the broiler unit. If yours is a gas oven, cover the broiler rack with foil and place the rack in the closest position to the broiler. (For smaller quantities, cover a baking sheet with foil, and place it on an uncovered rack.)

Preheat the broiler. Or, preheat the outdoor grill to 500 F. Set up an ice water bath in the sink or a very large bowl. When the broiler is hot, carefully place a single layer of chiles on the foil-covered rack or baking sheet and cook until the skin begins to blister on top, about 1 to 2 minutes. Carefully turn the chiles using long tongs or a metal meat fork, and continue to cook until the skins are blistered all over, about 3 to 4 minutes more. Watch the chiles closely—they burn quickly. As soon as the chiles are parched, immerse them in the ice water bath. Once the chiles have cooled to the touch, simply pull off the skin in strips, working from the stem to the tip—it should come away easily. 

Keep the stems on if preparing chiles rellenos, or remove them if using the chiles in other ways. For a milder roasted chile, slice open the pods and strip out the seeds and veins with the backside of a knife. 

Freezing Parched Chiles

            Once you’ve prepared your chiles, you can use them right away or freeze them for later use. 

To freeze parched chiles, drain them well after removing them from the ice water bath, then place them on cookie sheets and freeze them (Do not peel the chiles—leaving the skin on now gives you more flexibility of use later) Package the flash-frozen chiles in plastic freezer bags. To use in a recipe, prepare the chiles as needed.




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