Green chile Geography
Green chile (centered) is grown all over New Mexico. Down south, Hatch green chile is the major crop, but some green chili connoisseurs prefer the sweetness of green chile from Chimayó in Northern New Mexico.
The roasters are usually cylindrical, and can be turned mechanically or by hand.
They're done roasting when the skin is blackened and peeling off. The flesh will be soft and juicy, almost dripping with pepper juice.
New Mexico <3 Green Chile
New Mexicans will buy their green chile by the case, and take their reserves back to the own kitchens to peel off the skins and remove the stems.
This is a classic usage of green chile. A whole green chile is stuffed with cheese, battered, and deep-fried, then smothered with green chile sauce and more cheese. The repeat exposures to both green chile and cheese are genius.
The Best Chile Relleno in Albuquerque?
This is one of the better chile rellenos I've ever had, from La Placita Dining Rooms in Old Town Albuquerque. The batter was light and still crispy, smothered by a green chile sauce that tasted fresh and sweet.
La Placita Dining Rooms: 206 San Felipe Street Northwest Albuquerque, NM 87104; 505-247-2204
Green Chile Enchiladas
A big tray of beef and cheese enchiladas with red and green chile, from El Pinto in Albuquerque. Red chili is simply the chile pod, allowed to mature on the vine, then dried and ground into a powder. The usage of red and green chili together is called "Christmas." If you go to El Pinto, the rack of baby back ribs marinated in red chile is not to be missed either.
El Pinto New Mexican Restaurant and Salsa Company: 10500 4th St NW, Albuquerque, NM 87114; 505-898-1771
Green Chile Omelette
An especially fluffy omelette, from The Daily Grind Coffee shop in downtown Albuquerque.
The Daily Grind Coffee: 414 Central Avenue Southeast, Albuquerque, NM 87102; 505-883-8310
Dried and ground
Dried and ground green chile isn't as commonly found as dried red chile. Farmers' markets are a good source, though. These bags were from the Grower's Market in downtown Albuquerque at Robinson Park.
Green Chile and Cheese Bread
Loaf from Golden Crown Bakery in Albuquerque. The kick from the green chile comes in at the very end.
Golden Crown Bakery: 1103 Mountain Road Northwest Albuquerque, NM 87102; 505-243-2424
Green Chile with Polenta
Flecks of green chile mixed in with polenta, fried, topped with an egg, swimming in red chile sauce and sautéed corn. Yeah, this was a very good dish.
Cafe Pasqual’s: 121 Don Gaspar, Santa Fe, NM 87501
Green Chile BLT
Why don't all BLTs come with green chile?! This green chile was especially sweet and juicy. Homemade cornbread tasted rich and buttery. Probably one of the best bites of food I had during my trip to New Mexico.
Cafe Pasqual's: 121 Don Gaspar Avenue, Santa Fe NM 87501; 505-983-9340
Green Chile Mac and Cheese
Yet another great combo. This one came with flecks of smoked salmon, which were good but maybe unnecessary. The real draw was the green chile and the cheese.
Standard Diner: 320 Central SE, Albuquerque, NM 87102; 505-243-1440
This fudge contained both green and red chile.
The Candy Lady: 524 Romero Street NW, Albuquerque, NM 87104; 505-243-6239
Green Chile Apple Pie
This was pretty good. I thought the green chile wouldn't taste right in a such a sweet application, but it made the apples taste even sweeter by contrast.
Cecelia's Cafe: 230 6th Street Southwest, Albuquerque, NM 87102; 505-243-7070
Fried Sopaipilla Bread
Finally, the best thing I had during my entire trip to northern New Mexico. Fried sopaipilla bread, stuffed with sautéed cauliflower, broccoli, and mushrooms, slices of ripe avocado, and chopped tomatoes. The filling gets smothered in sour cream. One order can easily feed two people. Called the "vegetarian special," it's only available at the Española branch of El Parasol, a local chain in northern New Mexico. The original location is my favorite - essentially just a shed on an old country road.
This can take them a while to prepare - the cooks brown the heck out the broccoli and the cauliflower, and fry the bread until it's dark brown and crispy. It comes with their housemade salsa, which is very smoky and spicy. If you ask the ladies behind the counter, they'll top the sopaipilla with lots of chopped green chile.
El Parasol: 603 Santa Cruz Rd, Española, NM 87532; 505-753-8852