© 2012 REMCooks.com

New Mexico Green Chile Stew

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Can you hear the fires burning and smell the roasted chiles in the air? I can because it’s Hatch chile season and I love Hatch chiles. Look at this beautiful green chile stew.

Hatch chile season has officially arrived. People in the Southwest look forward to this time of year because there is an abundance of Hatch chiles available. It’s magical!  From mid-August through late September, when the sunlight is strong, the days are shorter, and the nights are cooler, in New Mexico, in the Mesilla valley along the Rio Grande River from Arrey, New Mexico in the north to Tonuco Mountain to the south of Hatch, New Mexico, the ideal harvesting conditions exist for these thick, shiny, luscious green pods of sweet and spicy goodness. For those of you not familiar with Hatch chiles and don’t know what the fuss over them is about, Hatch chiles are a designer chile of the genus Capsicum. There are multiple varieties, many of which were developed by New Mexico State University. Also, Mesilla Valley farmers are constantly developing new breeds and various tastes to satisfy a steady throng of new converts. For those who can’t stand the heat, there is a mild variety of Hatch chiles. They also have a medium hot variety of Hatch chile. Then you have the “slap yo mama” variety of hot Hatch chiles.  Because of the different varieties, you control the heat index on whatever you fix by your selection of mild, medium or hot chiles. Pretty nifty, eh?

The harvest season for Hatch chiles runs from mid August with the green chile harvest and runs through the red chile harvest to the first frost. If you’re down around the El Paso-Las Cruces area you smell the chiles roasting almost everywhere. Not only does roasting provide a wonderful depth of flavor to the chiles but it allows you to preserve the chiles in your freezer and they will keep for up to a year. Be warned, however, that freezing roasted chiles tends to make them hotter. It’s a chemical kind of thing that is beyond me to even attempt to explain.

I know it’s still summer and stew is not exactly a summertime meal but we have actually had a beautiful summer. In fact, last week we had a beautifully sunny day with the low of 72F and the high of 84 F. These are unbelievable temperatures in DFW for August. Anyway, this dish is cooked in a crockpot so it doesn’t use a lot of electricity nor does it heat up the house. More importantly, it’s a celebration of Hatch chiles once again being available. This dish is wonderful, even in the summertime. Give it a try now or roast you up some wonderful Hatch chiles (if you can’t find them, you can order them online now), freeze them and use them when the temperatures drop down to soup weather this fall. Whatever you do, you definitely need to try this dish.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs pork loin, cubed 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 medium onions, medium dice
  • 1 head garlic, minced
  • 4 cups chicken broth (preferably homemade without salt)
  • 2.5 Lbs Hatch green chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded and diced, small dice
  • 2 large russet potatoes, cubed 1/2 cube
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp sea salt (if the chicken broth has salt, use 1 tsp sea salt and adjust to taste)
  • 1 large tomato, cubed (optional)
  • 1/3 cup lard

Instruction

First, roast the chiles. Now, 2.5 lbs of Hatch Chiles is roughly 18 chiles so I roast them in 2 batches.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

When sufficiently charred, place the chiles in a paper bag and let them sit for roughly 20 – 30 minutes to cool.  When done, peel and seed them. DO NOT rinse them under running water like so many people do because you wash much of the flavor away. The skin will come off with very little trouble.  Also, DO NOT touch your eyes or any other sensitive skin during or after peeling the chiles. I’ve learned this from experience. This can be a very painful experience. If you wear contacts, take them out BEFORE you peel the chiles. Even if you wash your hands, the oils from the chiles will stay in your skin for several hours afterwards.

Next, add the lard to a heavy bottom skillet and heat over high heat. When heated, add the cubed pork and brown.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

When done, remove the pork and put in crockpot.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Add more lard to the skillet and sauté the onions.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

When the onions have softened and attained a nice brown color from the sucs from the pork, roughly 3 – 5 minutes, add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

When done, add the onions and garlic to the crockpot.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Now, add the finely diced green chiles

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Add the spices, diced tomato and potatoes. Now traditional green chile stew does not have tomatoes. Nonetheless, New Mexicans have been putting tomatoes in their green chile stew for years as it add another dimension to the stew and provides color. If you want a more traditional green chile stew, omit the tomato.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Add chicken stock

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Stir everything together, put the lid on the crockpot, set on high and cook for 5 – 5/12 hours. Serve and enjoy!

© 2012 REMCooks.com

NOTES: Now, I’m not a real fan of crockpot cooking because I like to play with my food. Nonetheless, this is a perfect dish to cook in a crockpot. Generally, when I make this dish I use a large pot over low heat and add more chicken stock as the water evaporates. It generally takes me 2 quarts of chicken stock following this method but it provides a wonderfully rich sauce with greater depth of flavor. You also do not add the potatoes until toward the end. The drawback to this method is 1) it heats your house up; and 2) you have to constantly stir the pot to keep the stew from sticking to the bottom and burning. I didn’t have time to do that yesterday so out came the crockpot. It seals the juices in and produces a wonderful stew.

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35 thoughts on “New Mexico Green Chile Stew”

    1. It’s that time of year and no self respecting chili head would deprive himself/herself of Hatch chiles. :D Post what you do with them. I’m toying with a green chile grits/polenta with shrimp. I absolutely love roasted Hatch chiles.

  1. Richard, I was introduced to Hatch chiles 18 years ago, and my choice is green. In the off season, I have tried to supplement with Anaheim chiles, and although they were good, I still could not reproduce the flavor of the Hatch. While your mention of the green chile stew stimulated my taste buds, your photographs made me hear the bells of Pavlov’s dogs! When those ingredients start coming together, I just can’t wait for a crockpot! Both methods have great results. And as a reminder, there are those who believe that green chile stew has healing powers.

    1. Hi Al. Hatch chile is a relatively young chile and is the result of horticulturist Fabian Garcia crossbreeding other peppers from the area in 1912. Did you know the Anaheim chile is a great grandchild of the Hatch chile? It makes sense seeing that Emilio Ortega brought the seeds for his famous caned chiles from New Mexico to Anaheim, Ca. Last Hatch fun fact is that the reason Hatch chiles from other locations taste different is that Hatch chiles are grown in the Mesilla Valley that has hot days and cold nights, coupled with the soil in the location, it makes a perfect place for chiles.

  2. I’ve not seen nor heard of Hatch chilies, Richard. How do they compare, heat-wise, to jalapeños? As much as I do love chili, I think I’ll hold off trying this one until well into Fall and I need a hot meal. Yeah, I’m chicken!

    1. Hi John. The mild version of Hatch chiles are similar to an Anaheim pepper with no heat. The medium version is close to a poblano chile with a little warmth that lets you know it’s a chile. The HOT Hatch chiles are just that. Some varieties are almost as spicy as a serano chile which is hotter than a jalapeño. I used the hot chiles in this green chile stew because we like the heat and if my nose isn’t running, then it aint hot enough. ;)

      1. I think The Fates are messing with me. I’ve just returned from my neighborhood grocery, one that I frequent a few times every week. There, right at the front of their Produce Dept was a large display announcing their “Hatch Chile Festival!” I couldn’t believe it. How much did you pay them to do this? :)
        I didn’t buy any, yet, because I’ve other things planned for my kitchen over the next few days. I will go back, though, and give them a try.

        1. John, I have my ways and contacts. :D You need to buy them when you see them because they don’t stay around very long. No other chile in the world tastes like a Hatch chile. Roast them and freeze them for that cold winter day when you need a little heat.

  3. Unfortunately can’t get hatch chiles here (had never heard of them!). Looks great though! I agree on the not touching your eyes (and not just your eyes!) after having handled hot peppers!

    1. Hi, Stefan. Good to see you around. I would be stunned if you had ever heard of or tasted Hatch chiles because they are a regional chile grown in southern New Mexico. They have grown so popular and the growing season has been so abundant the last several years that they are now appearing in larger cities outside of Southwestern US, i.e. Chicago, LA, San Diego, but they still aren’t available nationally. They are really flavorful.

      1. Any substitutes? The dish looks very interesting as it is something I’ve never tried before (neither cooked nor eaten). I was thinking perhaps a mixture of bell peppers and hot peppers, we do get some varieties of those here like jalapenos or madame jeannette.

        1. Roasted Bell peppers and hot peppers might work although I find bell peppers to have a sweeter flavor. You might also try a combination of roasted poblano chiles and anaheim chiles. The anaheims are much milder so if you want added heat you would need to add jalapeño or serano chiles but they would also need to be roasted and roasting small chiles is somewhat of a pain. Roasting a chile gives it greater depth of flavor and character. BTW-I used a pork loin in this dish because I had one in the freezer and needed to use it. Most of the time I use a pork shoulder because I like the added fat of the pork shoulder.

        2. Thanks. Please remember that I’m lucky to find anything besides generic chile pepper here. I’ve never looked for them, but I’ve never seen poblano or anaheim chiles here. I thought of the bell peppers because you described the hatch chiles as sweet. I agree on using the shoulder for better marbling.

      1. Thank you so much for responding. I will be trying this tonight and I couldn’t be more hopeful. Your instructions are clear and simple. Thank you again!

  4. So, I finally made this and it’s a lot of work, but man, is it worth it. SOOOO delicious. I’m from El Paso and I grew up eating nothing but Hatch chile. Like you I would imagine, I’m pretty hard to please when it comes to my green chile…but this was soooo delicious. Everyone loved it!

  5. Made this last night for New Year’s Eve with the family. Everyone loved it. I had roasted and peeled Hatch chilies and froze them earlier and this was a great way to use them up. Thanks for the recipe.

  6. Have a freezer full thanks to my wonderful husband who took pity on me and payed an enormous shipping charge just so I could have my chile fix! I use chili in almost everything and this recipe looks delicious. When I make a dish similar to this I often substitute pasole (hominy) for potatoes and it is incredible! Thanks for sharing your cooking insights. Think I am going to have to break into my “stash” :)

    1. Hi, Liz. Thanks for dropping by and commenting. :) We’re glad to hear your wonderful hubby bought you your chile fix but I’m sure he enjoys them, too. :) I will try the pozole substitute. I had never considered it but it would make a wonderful pozole verde. The roasted green chiles add such an incredible depth of flavor. I have a blogging buddy coming to DFW from the Netherlands in February and we’re going to make him a tame version of this on a tasting menu or for a lite lunch. Unless you taste the New Mexico chiles you really don’t know what you are missing.

      1. Absolutely. I honestly go through withdrawals. LOL We have lived here in Jersey for 8 months. Prior to that we lived in Il. for 5 years. A couple of times, I paid a woman to grow me about 50lbs of chili a year just to get me through. Of course, I did all the roasting, steaming, chopping and freezing but it was so worth it just to know I could have it when ever I wanted it. They weren’t Hatches but having had none in forever., I wasn’t going to complain. Those things in the can don’t count unless they are Hatch and even then only in case of immenent death! LOL

      1. Thanks, Debbie, for dropping by and your comment. I personally prefer roasting and freezing my own but I have the storage space. If you don’t have the storage space or don’t want to roast and freeze your own, you can also buy roasted, frozen New Mexico Green Chiles from Chilemonser.com, and the chileguy.com. All of these places also sell fresh chiles when in season.

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