Monday, August 25, 2008

One of the greatest days of the year!

May I share my romantic feelings for a moment?

Today was the day that I welcomed a new friend to my kitchen. He is a friend that I invite each year, but only comes for one day. He releases his musk, which wafts through my nose, sending quivers of orgasmic ecstasy throughout my limbs. If I could wrap my arms around his scent, I would squeeze so hard that he could never leave. But, alas, he always does. After a few short hours all that remains are memories of his existence, and maybe an instant recall following a bite of his slimy green flesh. Yes, my friends, today is the day I roasted my chiles!

For those of you who haven't met my friend, I'll do my best to introduce you. This time of year, green chile trucks are all over our highways and side roads. Behind them lay a crumb trail of green curled peppers. My first experience with the real deal (not the canned Ortega crap) was in a little tiny town called La Garita, where after a day of rock climbing with Tory, I would get a green chile cheeseburger. This truly is food of the gods.

Nowadays I have green chile year round, at pretty much any restaurant I go to. And I use green chile daily in the cafe for a couple of our menu items. So today's reuniting with my friend was as much about love as money (I'll spend pennies on the dollar using these chiles). Here is how its done.

You start by going to pretty much any grocery in the area and pay about $17 per bushel with a $2.50 roasting fee. Bring your own trashbags and/or pillow case. Here's my friend waiting for his ride:
Here's the tour guide loading my friend on:
(brief romantic pause) There's something about watching the chile roaster. The little green fellas go round and round, every now and then one or two hang on to the top for dear life, only delaying the inevitable fall to the masses. Their skin sizzles, their tops burst with steamy delight, seeds spill upon the ground. This pile of sensuous blackened, fleshy meat, waiting to be released from the scorching fire. The smell that is released is one of a kind. It can not be duplicated at home in your oven. It can only be enjoyed one day a year.
(back to the story)
The ride is over:
Next, I took my buddy, stuffed him into a pillow case, and that went into a trashbag. There are many other ways, but I like this system because it captures the moisture, but allows for the steaming to happen.
And here it is. The object of my desire:
I always had a thing for redheads:
It took me just under two hours to rub the skin off of all of the chiles, chop the heads off, squeegee the seeds out, and lay them in stacks. But this is the payoff:
That guy is perfect - destined for cheeseburger greatness!
Sometimes, passionate moments aren't pretty. Here's the mess:
And the final moment. One bushel gives me this many small bags of chiles for use in stews, enchiladas, burritos, soups, name it.
So what do you say - do you like my friend?


Manggy said...

I always had a thing for redheads
Hee hee.

I'm sure you'll keel over when I say this but the only time I had a roasted green chili was inside a Carl's Jr. Sta. Fe Chicken Sandwich. I'm pretty sure it was the canned Ortega crap. It was sourish and not really great. Oh my God, Rob, are you still there? :P

Do you think we can replicate the process safely at home? I'll have to check what kind of green chilies we have here, though. It may be the non-hot kind: boring! Skinning a lot of them is a lot of work, though!

Gfron1 said...

I'm still here - I don't impose shame on those who haven't had this experience, just pity :)

At home, in under a broiler, you can get to about 40% of the aroma. You really need that intense flame and lot's of chiles. The rotating cylinder is only important in that you don't need to do any turning. And the skinning, while time consuming is not difficult. I simply "massage" the chile and the skin falls away. In the few spots that don't just fall away, I apply a bit of fingernail and pull. My guess is that I spent 10 seconds on each.

Tyler Connoley said...

I'll have to check what kind of green chilies we have here, though. It may be the non-hot kind: boring!

What we call NM Green Chiles are what most people call Anaheim Peppers -- large, mildly hot green peppers with a tapered end. To be authentic, they should be grown in southern NM, particularly in the region around Hatch.