Traditional green chile is a super tasty, versatile main dish or recipe addition that’s actually very easy to make at home.
The Hubs and I share a love for cooking (and eating) traditional southwestern Mexican food. His love stems from growing up as a third-generation Mexican-American and eating traditional homemade Mexican food. Mine is less obvious. While my mom loved eating very spicy Mexican food, she rarely cooked it because my dad did not share the love. But when I was in high school, my parents moved several times, so I ended up living with my best friend’s family so I could stay at my local high school. Her dad was Mexican her mom was a well-trained traditional Mexican cook. Needless to say, I ate well there! Fresh homemade beans and tortillas anytime I wanted – yum-ME! I wasn’t very adventurous in those days, so I didn’t eat all of the available traditional dishes like albondigas, menudo or even green chile. I know! What was I thinking not eating green chile? I thought the chiles might be slimy or something. Well..I got over that when I worked as a hostess and waitress at a little Mexican food restaurant in Phoenix when I was in college because the cooks made me try everything! Green chile is by far one of my favorite dishes – and it’s the same for the Hubs!
Lucky for me, I married a guy who knows how to make homemade green chile! I have refused to learn because you know how it goes – once you know how, you have to do it all of the time. I figure it’s best letting the Hubs have his culinary specialties that only he makes (there are about 3). I patiently wait until he announces “maybe I’ll make some chile today” because if I bug him, he’s less enthusiastic and it shows in the quality of the chile (sorry, honey, but it’s true).
I got lucky last weekend when he uttered the words I have been waiting for. I asked him if I could take notes while he made it this time, so I could share it with my readers. He agreed, but was a little leery about it and I know he felt self-conscious while I was watching, but I’m telling you – knowing I was watching and taking notes made him step up his game and this pot of green chile was some of his best work to date! Of course, now that I watched, I learned so you know what that means…I’ll be making the green chile in the future
While we were in the kitchen, I asked him how he learned to make the chile. He said he watched his folks and just picked it up. Like we all do when we cook, he says he makes it a little differently each time, but the basics are the same. When I asked about other recipes I’ve seen that include veggies like carrots or potatoes, he gave me a look – a look that says, “You’re kidding, right?” So, simple and pure is how it has to be at our house.
We have several bags of preserved Hatch green chiles from last summer’s Bountiful Baskets offering in the freezer still. You can purchase the Hatch green chiles in the fall from groceries and big box stores – sometimes already roasted. If you can’t find Hatch, you can use California green chiles or Anaheim chiles, but they won’t be as hot, so leave in more seeds if you’re looking for spice.
Chiles need to be roasted before cooking because the outer skin is tough. See my post on Roasting and Preserving Hatch Green Chiles for the method, which can be done on the grill or under the broiler.
Green Chile Prep Method
Once your green chiles are roasted, you need to remove the charred skin and seeds, if desired. Our green chiles were a little mild for us, so we left most seeds in this time. You can test by slicing off a piece of the roasted chile and eating it, seeds in, and see how it feels on your tongue. Too hot? Remove some or most of the seeds to suit your tastes. The Hubs says to lay the roasted green chile on the cutting board, hold onto the stem end and scrape the blackened char off with the edge of a sharp knife. Then open it up and scrape out the seeds, if desired. Finally just slice off the stem end and discard. You can rinse off remaining char/seeds under cool water. Don’t worry that the chiles end up in odd shapes – you’re going to dice it all up anyway. After diced, liberally salt the green chiles and let sit while you prepare the pork.
Once the green chiles are cleaned, you’re ready to make traditional homemade green chile. What do you do with it? Well, slather it on anything you want or just eat it out of the pot, using a tortilla for a spoon (not that I have ever done that). The Hubs says they always had red or green chile around the house. Beside the traditional enchiladas and burritos, they ate it like my family ate gravy – poured over meat and potatoes. He loves it over scrambled eggs, a chicken fried steak, or over mashed potatoes. He says they even had green chile on the Thanksgiving table to ladle over turkey! That’s one way to dress up that dry bird! Personally, I like to make my own “lazy enchiladas” which means I stack a few corn tortillas on a plate with some green chile and cheese in between and put in the microwave to melt together. No rolling and baking needed.