Saturday, September 4, 2010

Green Chile Time (with a baseball bat)

It is green chile time again here in New Mexico. I haven't actually gotten a bag in a long time, so I thought I would replenish my supplies. The predominant chile growing region is near Hatch New Mexico. If you've never been to Hatch, it's where dreams go to die and tears season the soil to make the chile taste good. Zard always said that a bit of suffering makes food taste better, and he's right. There are a bunch of options for roasters for Hatch chile. 

I prefer the chile from Socorro. Partly this is due to nostalgia from my time there as a student, and partly it's because it has a different taste. The soil in New Mexico has the right alkalinity that makes chile good. Socorro has something especially different about it. As for the suffering, there is no suffering like that found in Socorro county. The tears of regret and lost innocence really impart a distinct flavor on the food. Luckily there is a roaster that specializes in Socorro chile, and when I do buy a roasted bag, it's from this place. They are in front of Hobby Lobby on Cerillos if you're local and actually want to find them.

In order to stock up on chile, the cheapest way is to peel it yourself. It's a bonding time with your family members where you can ask questions like: "This chile won't peel, did those jerks roast it enough?" and "Did we really need four sacks of chile?" and finally "Please give me the sweet release from chile peeling that only a .45 caliber slug of lead can provide!" That last one isn't really a question, but I thought I would ruin the punchline of peeling a bag of chile for you.

Here is the chile peeling setup I use:


In the picture are two baking pains to hold the peel, two sets of sharp knives, latex gloves, cutting boards, ziploc bags for storing the remains, and a half sack of fresh roasted green chile. I only get a half sack as that's about all I eat in a year. You then begin the process of removing the skins.

Some of your friends might suggest that you cover your hands in oil and that will somehow protect you from the chemical burns of the green chile. Slap these people, they hate you and they hate America. Latex gloves work for me, but I'm sure the nitrile ones will work too. Then you can make "two by two hands of blue" references with whoever you suckered into helping you with this.



It's good to have a cleanup crew to help with "accidents" too:


Amazingly enough Willy and Charlie both enthusiastically ate the dropped seeds, peels, and other discards that happened on the floor. It's a bit too soon after peeling to see if explosive doggy poop will result, but I'm hoping not.

After all the peeling is done, you get the following:



The two piles on the cutting board are the remains. Just bag them and send them on their way and you now have condensed suffering to season your food for the whole year. Unfortunately there is also the mess to clean up:



Tradition also dictates that you snack on some of the chile, then say either "ZOMG this is too hot!" or "Those jerks screwed me I should have gotten extra hot!"

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