Last summer I grew some New Mexican green chiles in my backyard. Hatch chiles are pretty hard to come by on the East Coast, plus the crop wasn't all that plentiful so they were roasted and stored in the freezer. If you've ever had New Mexican green chiles, they are something special—deceptively spicy with a fresh, green peppery flavor, setting them apart from the rest of the commonly available chiles.
This Potato and Green Chile Stew from Deborah Madison's What We Eat When We Are Alone was the prefect recipe to test out the power of my backyard chiles. As it turns out, a little chile goes a long way. Adding two small ones to the bubbling potatoes and chicken stock instantly changed the aroma emanating from the pot. The heat and smokiness was suddenly apparent, and the scent of the kitchen went from "smells pretty good" to "what's in that pot? I want to eat it right now!"
Whether from the chiles or some sort of magic, this combination of potatoes, onions, garlic, and stock tastes infinitely better than the ingredients would have you think.
Win 'What We Eat When We Eat Alone'
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of What We Eat When We Eat Alone to give away this week.
- 1 or 2 long green chiles or poblano chiles, roasted and peeled
- 1 tablespoon sunflower seed oil or other vegetable oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 large russet or 5 smaller potatoes (a scant pound) peeled and chopped into 1 1/2-inch chunks
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup chicken stock or water
- Sour cream to finish
- Chopped cilantro to finish
Chop the chiles coarsely. Heat the oil in a wide pot; add the onion and cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the coriander, cumin, garlic, and potatoes, followed by the chile along with 1/2 teaspoon salt and give a stir. Cook together of a few minutes, then add the water or stock. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer.
Cook and cover until the potatoes are completely softened, about 25 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper. At this point you can mash the potatoes, or at least a few of them to give the dish a creamy sort of background, if desired.
Pour into a bowl; add a dollop of sour cream and the chopped cilantro.