Green Chile

Green Chile

This thick, smoky, mouth-tingling sauce made from roasted green
chillies, used as a condiment atop everything from burgers to
burritos, is synonymous with the southwestern state of New Mexico.

Origins
Don Juan de Oñate brought green chilli seeds with him from Mexico in 1598 when he settled New Mexico as a Spanish colony, and chillies became part of the local diet. The recipe for modern-day green chile is probably a combination of Spanish and Native American cooking techniques, melding chopped roasted Hatch green chillies with onions, spices and chicken stock or water to make a thick, reduced sauce.

SERVES 6–8

You’ll need
1 small onion, peeled and
chopped
1 tbs olive oil
1 clove of garlic, peeled and
minced
1 tbs flour
½ cup (125mL) chicken or
vegetable stock
300g (11oz) roast green
chillies, peeled, seeded and
chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp salt

Cooking Method
1 Saute onion in the oil over medium heat in a large saucepan for a few minutes.
2 Add the garlic and cook until the onion has softened.
3 Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes.
4 Slowly add the stock, stirring continuously.
5 Add the chillies, tomato, cumin and salt.
6 Cover the pan and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Leave to cool.
7 Serve immediately, or store, covered, in the refrigerator.

Tasting notes
In late summer, the crisp desert air of New Mexico takes on an exotic smoky scent as vendors set up shop in empty lots with sacks of green chillies and large metal tumbleroasters. Customers buy sacks of chillies, hand them to the roaster, and watch them spin over an open fire until their skins are ashy black. Try green chile at a dusty New Mexican roadhouse, where it oozes out from atop a juicy bison burger; order a green chilesmothered plate of French fries at a fast food joint, trying hard not to drip on your shirt; or dine on grilled prawns with green chile at one of the après-ski restaurants in the arty resort towns of Santa Fe or Taos.

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