When it's autumn in New Mexico, the air is fragrant with the smell of fresh green chile roasting away, their pods turning as they roast, skins blackening and becoming paper-thin. In most towns, you'll find roasting contraptions stationed at farmers markets and even grocery stores.
New Mexicans will buy roasted green chile by the case and freeze it to use throughout the year. Puddles of green chile sauce appear on plates of burritos and enchiladas, more of a side dish than a garnish. This is perhaps the most surprising thing about green chile to the uninitiated: it's not very spicy. Instead, it's more vegetal and sweet tasting, and you spoon green chile sauce over everything, like gravy.
During a recent trip to northern New Mexico, Albuquerque presented plenty of opportunities to eat green chile. In addition to the oldies, like chile relleno and enchiladas, you'll find the local chili in a number of new and surprising ways. Green chile mac and cheese? Green chile BLT? Even green chile apple pie? Yes, please.
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