Sunday, September 5, 2010
In town yesterday, I was surprised at my good fortune to be able to catch the end of the chile roasting season. I took these photos to share with those of you who live afar and have heard me rattle on about this in past postings.
You purchase your gunny sack of chiles in the grocery store, and included in the price is the cost of having them roasted in the gas fired rotating cylinders outside. Then, according to your individual experience or tradition, you take them home and put them up for use all winter. There are probably as many preferred methods for doing this as there are varieties of chiles. My preference is to load them in a black plastic bag fresh from the roaster, and take them home and let them sit for a while as they continue to blister a bit more. When completely cooled, I put them up in small quantities (4-6 chiles per bag) in freezer quality sandwich size zip bags and freeze them until they are needed. I have found it's just as easy to peel the remaining peels off as they defrost as it is to do them all before freezing them.
Having said that...my first fall in NM, in a little village called Chimayo, I was under close supervision and much help from my neighbor, who assured me I shouldn't have the chiles roasted at the store, but should do them at home on my own gas grill. Well...that was an experience to remember. After inhaling the fumes all day, somewhere during the peeling and bagging process, my hands started feeling on fire from the chile juices. It was just insanely painful. It was never quite clear to me if she really did them that way also, if she had Teflon hands, or if she just had a good laugh on the new neighbor's expense. Whatever the case, while I love to smell them roasting in town, most years, I just buy them already cooked, frozen, and chopped at the grocery when I need them!