So what is it with New Mexico green chilis? Is it something in the soil? Something in the dusty valleys scorched by the desert sun where even lizards fear to crawl and only the toughest, gnarliest lifeforms can eke out an existence, raving into the blue-black sky with a fierce scream of defiance: Universe, que haces, Universe!
Sure, there is a lightness of being under the enchanted sky, and a fatalistic attitude of total abandon, defiance, and belligerence that makes New Mexico what it is. That spirit thrives in those green chilis. They are like the super-energy pills eaten by Underdog, no kidding.
Now most people on the East coast can get their chilis in a jar, or a can, or flash-frozen and flown to them by next day Fedex… but normal home-grown New Mexicans are a sort of funky gang. We just want a paper bag of chilis with the stems on so that we can roast and peel ’em at home. We even watch the local news (KOAT-TV) to see what is going on in the big city — Albuquerque — and it’s daily batch of grisly murders, head-on car wrecks, drug-crazed robberies, car chases, shoot-outs, and the occasional “human-interest” story: you know, like a retired firefighter giving some pre-schoolers karate lessons, or some shit like that.
Thus, it should come as no surprise to you, dear reader, that I already KNEW the green chili season was early this year! There was a report in July that chilis were almost ready to harvest, so I had my eyes peeled!
Sure enough Sophia and I spotted a few bins of the gorgeous Hatch green chilis last weekend at Whole Foods. We snapped up about half of them, which turned out to be eight pounds. Eight gorgeous pounds of fresh green chilis straight off the truck from Nuevo Mexico. What could be better?
We washed them and started lining them up on roasting pans:
fresh chilis ready to roast
After charring the skins in the broiler, we tossed them to cool in a bowl.
Then we start lining them up on a cutting board, just to look at em all before wrapping them.
Once they are cooled off, we double wrap piles of six chilis in plastic wrap bundles.
They can be frozen, and after thawing and peeling off the skins, cooked up in meal sized batches any time!
The first batch was so chewy and fresh! I had about 1/6 of the batch left over and was able to make a New Mexico style wet burrito after getting one to take out from La Victoria taqueria.
This is the life!