I can rember, not too long, ago green chile was met with a weird redsponse. People would automatically think of chili con carne and think of it being green. How horrible? Time has changed that a bit, but not too far. That is the main reason I like to use the spelling chile for the pod or fruit--yes it is a fruit. And the spelling of chili for the soup or stew.
But that is not always understood. Just like I mentioned last week how the editor of my potential Tex Mex cookbook reacted to my putting Green in the suggested title.
Green chile eating has long been a favorite in New Mexico, which used to enjoy being the chile capitol of the US. The main reasons it became so popular was that it was very pleniful and also very perishable. The green chiles that are produced early in the season before the days shorten in the fall will not turn red. They will just rot. So eating them was a natural conclusion.
To enjoy green chile, they need to be parched under or over high direct heat to blister the tough skin. The most effective way to do that is to place them over high heat on an outside grill or uinder an electric broiler in the oven. (Gas broilers do not work as well because the heat is reflected, not direct).
I always grill a few every time I use the outdoor grill. Once the skin is blistered and somewhat blackened, plunge the chiles into ice water to stop the cooking. This produces nice crisp chile flesh. If not chilled, the chiles will continue to cook and become dehydrated with flbby flesh. The flavor and color are not as good.
If wanting to freeze them, place on cookie sheets and flash freeze them and store in freezer weight plastic bags.
Chiles preserved this way will last for years. If peeled, they only last for months and if kept longer become hotter due to the dehydration of freezing.
Here are my favorite tips.
PARCHING FRESH GREEN CHILES
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.
Many years ago, I created the following recipe for Chiles Rellenos, using a blue corn flour crust, rather than a beaten egg white batter or just flouring them. (I call our Blue Corn meal, Flour--becaue our's is 100% blue corn, finely ground and roasted. Our competition frequently uses a blend of corns and does not roast them, resulting in less flavor.
If you'd like to try our Blue Corn Flour for all of your corn meal needs, I am placig it on a three day 25% off special.
Here's my favorite Chile Rellenos recipe I created while working as the Home Service Director for PNM, our electric utility,
CHILES RELLENOS de QUESOwith a BLUE CORN CRUST
The traditional chile relleno. Serve as a main dish or as a vegetable dish.
Yield: 4-6 servings
12 large, mild green chiles, parched & peeled with stems on, or you can use three, 8-oz. cans of
whole green chiles
8 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, cut into 12 long, narrow strips
Vegetable oil for frying
Red Chile Sauce or salsa as desired, optional
- Insert cheese strips into chiles, using the small slit that was cut for steaming (or cut a small slit just below the stem.) Make sure that the cheese strips do not burst the chiles or overfill them. Drain chiles thoroughly on paper towels to ensure that the batter will coat them well. Prepare your choice of batters.
- For the Blue Cornmeal Crusted ones, preheat 3 to 4 inches of oil to 375 F in a deep heavy skillet, large saucepan, or deep-fat fryer. For the California style batter, sauté in about ½ inch oil. Dip the stuffed chiles in the batter. Place in hot oil and fry until golden. Tongs work best to hold and turn them. Drain well on paper towels. Serve piping hot with chile sauce.
BLUE CORN CRUST:
Crisp and crunchy. I like this batter best when made with blue cornmeal.
Yield: enough batter for 12 chiles
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cornmeal – blue, white or yellow
1 cup milk
- In a medium-size bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and cornmeal. Blend the milk and eggs, then add to the dry ingredients. Mix until smooth. If necessary, add a little more milk to achieve a smooth batter that will adhere to the chiles.