I may have mentioned once or twice . . . or 47 times . . . that my husband and I met while in college in New Mexico. Both out-of-state students, we fell in love with each other, AND Southwestern Cuisine. I love any and everything green chile. Hamburgers? Infinitely better with chile on top. Breakfast burritos? Yes, please. Shredded Pork? Tortilla Soup? Calabacitas? Enchiladas? Queso? Stew? Chile Rellenos? All better with green chile.
So when Hatch Chile Season comes along, I take advantage of it in any way I can!
I know that every year around mid-August
the chiles are coming.
I find reasons to drop by my local grocery, just in case they’ve arrived already. This past Tuesday I arrived just as they were unloading and setting up the display.
They didn’t even have the prices up yet!
I bought ten pounds worth, and I have a feeling, I’ll be buying about ten pounds more before the week is up!
First things first? Roasting and canning for the pantry. . . Next week? A Good Green Chile Sauce (perhaps to be canned. Still TBD.) For now? Here’s the technique for canning . . . but first?
Roasting Hatch Green Chiles
When we lived in New Mexico, when it was chile season going to the grocery store was a SCENT-sational experience.
Outside every grocery store was a nice man, just like this one, who would roast your chile for you. It wasn’t unusual to buy a 5, 10 or 25 pound bag of roasted chiles and bring them home.
Here in the Midwest, I am thrilled to be able to find Hatch green chiles, but unfortunately, no nice roaster. Instead? I have to do it myself.
Last year we roasted them on the grill, over medium heat, turning until they are charred all over, but this year . . . it was raining. And T. has been working 17 hour days all week this week. And two boys three and under, a puppy, and constantly having to monitor a grill just doesn’t work (especially while peeking out from under an umbrella.)
So this year, I roasted them in the oven instead. And I think it worked even better than the grill!
First, preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, either line a roasting pan thoroughly with foil or use a disposable pan (or two) and line the pan with washed and dried green chiles. It is important that the chiles aren’t wet as you want the chile skin to blister, and not steam in the oven.
Roast the chiles for about 10 minutes on the first side, make sure that they’re blistering (they won’t be black and charred as they would if they were grilled over fire, but they will be discolored and bubbling up) and then turn to the other side and roast for about six minutes more. They’ll look like this when they’re done.
Remove to a bowl with plastic wrap over the top and continue the process until all the chiles are roasted. I roasted about 10 pounds of green chile to fill 9 pints of canned, roasted chiles, with 8 chiles per jar.
This filled my two biggest bowls. Allow to steam for a minimum of ten minutes. To be honest, I got busy. I kept the plastic wrap on and the chiles steaming for hours.
Normally, I’ve frozen them in the past; simply stack four to six (or however many you want in a “serving”) of Unpeeled, Roasted chiles, still in their skin, and roll up in plastic wrap. Freeze several bundles of servings of chiles in freezer bags. When you want to use them, simply remove a bundle, allow to defrost and remove roasted chile skin under running water and use as needed.
However, this year my freezer space is extremely limited. All I have is the small side of a side-by-side fridge. Our ice maker takes up a third of the space, it seems, and it is packed to the gills with zucchini already. So, this year I decided to can them instead; here’s how I did it.
Canning Hatch Green Chile
First, you will need a pressure canner for this system. Green Chiles are low in acid and can not be canned through simple hot water boiling processing. If you do not have a pressure canner, please freeze them as noted above!
Now, prepare your pressure canner as your manufacturer’s instructions state, and sterilize your jars and rings. Place the lids in a pot of barely simmering (NOT boiling) water.
This time I sterilized jars using the oven technique – I washed my jars in hot, soapy water, then heated the jars in the oven at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. It ended up working really well as the jars stayed nice and hot as I was able to delay my canning as the boys got put to bed, the puppy let out several times and the actual canning process took longer than I expected to begin.
Fill the jars with the peeled, roasted chiles. Pint jars held eight chiles by my count. Then top with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, per jar, and boiling water to fill until it reaches the fill line (about 1/2-inch from the top and just under the screw lines on the jar).
Using a chopstick or bamboo skewer, release any air bubbles by stirring gently. Top again with extra boiling water, if needed once the air has been released.
Top each jar with a lid and ring. Tighten ring to just finger strength and place into pressure canner.
Can at 10 pounds pressure for 35 minutes. After following all of your manufacturer’s instructions, allow to cool and check for seals. They’re ready for the pantry!
What are your favorite ways of eating and cooking green chile? Any recipes I need to try?