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Green chile season [UPDATED]

IMG_5665Since I wrote this post yesterday, the green chile hankering got fierce. So I stopped by the Decatur branch of Taqueria del Sol, where the kitchen was serving a crispy green chile relleno. Bejeebus, it was the flavor of all things good in this world. The house pork green chile stew also seemed to have a spicy, fresh kick. Afterwards I went home and roasted my three pounds of chiles. I think I’m going to play around and braise a pork picnic shoulder in chile.

When a colleague and I walked over to Chuy’s in Dunwoody yesterday to discuss some projects we were working on, we were greeted with a nice surprise.

It was the first day of the restaurant’s annual Green Chile Fest. This multi-unit Tex Mex restaurant owns chile farms in New Mexico, and for three weeks each year, it gets the spicy pods in fresh. This means a menu of specials (including a good green chile stew). This also means the restaurant will sell you chiles — fresh, roasted, roasted and seeded, or roasted/seeded/diced. I ordered a big bag of raw chiles ($2.25 a pound) as well as two quarts of diced ($4.50 a pound). They’ll go into the freezer. Meanwhile, I’ll roast the fresh ones tonight and make a green chile stew with pork shoulder, onion, garlic and tomato. Both kinds are pictured in the uncharacteristically artistic iPhone snapshot on the left.

Taqueria del Sol also got its annual shipment of hatch chilies, now featured on its menu. The restaurant group will again host a Hatch Chile Festival this year, on September 9. (Here’s a report from last year.)

This chiles always remind me of late summer in Denver, when the roadside chile roasters would set up big rotary roasting drums at well trafficked intersections around town. That smell of chiles stinging the air marked the season. August chiles brought September snows.

Chuy’s will be featuring and selling chiles through September 9.

Here are some of my recipes for green chile, reprinted from The Denver Post:

Chunky Vegetarian Green Chile

Recipe by John Kessler from the Sept. 4, 1996, edition of The Denver Post. Makes about 1 quart.


  • 1    tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1    or 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1    cup diced tomatoes, canned or fresh
  • 2    cans (14 ounces each) vegetable broth
  • 1    pound roasted green chiles, peeled, seeds and stems removed, coarsely chopped
  • 2    medium russet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 3/4-inch dice
  • 1    large bay leaf

Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium- high flame. Add garlic and brown lightly, stirring constantly. Add tomatoes, broth and green chiles. Bring to a boil and reduce heat until mixture comes to a gentle simmer. Add diced potato and bay leaf. Simmer, covered, for 30-40 minutes. Salt to taste.

Green Chile

Recipe by John Kessler, The Denver Post, Dec. 28, 1994. He wrote: “I prefer my green chile without onion because I think the flavor of the capsicum is purer and more direct. However, a small onion chopped and sauteed with the garlic does add a certain roundness of flavor to the finished product. I also prefer a smooth consistency, so I blenderize the chiles. If you like it chunky, then finely chop the chiles instead.” Makes about 1 gallon.


  • 1    pound boneless pork butt, cut into cubes
  • 1    pound roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped green chiles
  • 2    ripe tomatoes
  • 2    tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1    tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3    tablespoons flour
  • Salt to taste

Place the pork in a pot and cover completely with at least 2 quarts but no more than 3 quarts of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat until the water is simmering vigorously. Skim off scum. Cover pot and cook until pork is tender enough to pierce easily with fork, about 2 hours.

Puree chiles in blender with enough of the cooking liquid to achieve a smooth consistency. Set aside.

Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise. Pluck out seeds with your fingers and discard. Place a box grater over a bowl or dish and grate tomatoes, cut sides facing the large holes of the grater. You should end up with fine tomato pulp in the bowl and the tomato skins left in your hand. Discard the skins and set the pulp aside.

Heat vegetable oil in bottom of 5-quart pot over medium heat. Add garlic and flour and fry, stirring constantly until mixture is a uniform pale brown, about 2 minutes. (Remove pot from burner if it starts to color too quickly.)

Add pork and all its cooking liquid, pureed chiles and tomatoes, and stir to dissolve flour. The mixture should reach 1 inch below the rim of the pot. If not, add water until it does.

Bring to a boil and reduce to a vigorous simmer. Cook 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt.

11 comments Add your comment


August 21st, 2012
7:15 pm

So those chiles from New Mexico are Hatch chiles, then?


August 21st, 2012
10:28 pm

Hatch chiles are from New Mexico, but New Mexico chiles aren’t necessarily from Hatch. ;-)


August 22nd, 2012
2:59 am

Excellent post. Thanks for sharing information’s.


August 22nd, 2012
9:30 am

John, big thanks for the CVGC!


August 22nd, 2012
1:18 pm

Azbat: I KNOW!!!! That’s why I’m asking, duh! ;-)


August 22nd, 2012
1:22 pm

Correction, AZCAT, sorry.

Sophie's Choice

August 22nd, 2012
1:42 pm

Had one of TDS’s rellenos the other day myself– it was so crunchy-gooey-chunky-delicious, I almost went back for another.

[...] Green chile season [UPDATED]Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Since I wrote this post yesterday, the green chile hankering got fierce. So I stopped by the Decatur branch of Taqueria del Sol, where the kitchen was serving a crispy green chile relleno. Bejeebus, it was the flavor of all things good in this world … [...]


August 22nd, 2012
11:13 pm

@Billie: Sorry, jumped to a conclusion. Ah, the joys of not having nonverbal communication on a blog. This is from Chuy’s website and answers your question, I believe:

“Every year we contract with family farmers in the Hatch Valley of New Mexico to grow over a million pounds of the very best Green Chiles on the planet just for us. We even send a team of our Kitchen Managers to New Mexico each August to bring back the finest, fresh-picked Green Chiles to share with you.”


August 23rd, 2012
11:38 am

Cannot wait to try the vegetarian recipe! Awesome post!

dunwoody in denver

August 23rd, 2012
7:42 pm

Hey John…

I’ve lived here for 10 years now, and I can say with all certainty that it doesn’t snow here in September any more; we’re more likely to see 90’s that month nowadays. Hell, it barely snows here in October and November now. We’re becoming North Tucson.

But you’re right about the green chile roasters; it’s one of the things which makes the next 6 weeks here so amazing…