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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Green Chile

Green Chile - This is by far my favorite dish. I was introduced to it by a friend of mine (Brooke!) at a Rock Bottom Grill in downtown Denver. It was only offered as an appetizer in a cup like soup. I was hooked. I was constantly on the lookout for green chile in any restaurant. I found that it varies from a watery greenish sauce to a think, hearty stew. I tend to like the thicker stuff, not so much the watery stuff.

I've learned to cook it to the capacity where I enjoy it immensely, although I usually forget the cumin until late (usually Meran reminds me to put it in). We've done variants with potatoes instead of pork for a vegetarian green chile, and changed out some of the ingredients, but it is pretty consistent of Hatch chiles, tomatoes, pork, onions, garlic and spices to taste.

Whenever I make it, I am always trying to do different things with the end product; smother burritos, nachos, or quesadillas. Eat it alone as soup / stew, with flour tortillas. Huevos Rancheros. And during my last gallon of chile, it got me thinking. When I see (or saw) kids eating french fries, they didn't really eat the fries. The fries were mostly a ketchup delivery device. So, with all my burritos and various dishes, was I really just delegating them to a green chile delivery system of my own? Well, yes, I guess so. Although, I do eat it on its own, I also use it as a gravy or condiment of sorts.

With the last batch I made I committed a holy sin of Green Chile - I used canned chiles. I just haven't found a source of fresh fire-roasted green chiles in Oregon. I've heard rumors of an occasional farmer's market, but I haven't found anything solid. Oregon is a 'Chile free' zone, it seems. It's even tough to find big cans of green chiles. I can find big ass cans of jalapenos, but not green chiles. (I finally found them at WinCo and Cash & Carry.) This last batch, along with the cardinal sin of canned chiles, I used tomatillos instead of tomatoes, and that kept the green chile green! Boy howdy! It was a good experiment; I've seen recipes with tomatoes and tomatillos, and the tomatillos are a keeper. Now I gotta find fresh ones because, alas, these were canned, too. This whole batch was the 'canned chile' recipe. It still came out really good, tho.

What do you like YOUR green chile on?