The second of two posts for people who kinda, sorta want turkey — but not a turkey — for Thanksgiving.
Earlier this fall, three friends visited New Mexico.
All three, separately and without any coercion from me, came home with Hatch green chiles for my pantry. This made me happy.
One brought a can, one a jar, and the third a frozen brick. One was mild, one was hotter, and one was marked "hot" but should have come with a fire extinguisher attached, as it was truly incendiary.
Guess which was my favorite? (Can you hear me sniffling?!)
Green chiles and red chiles are the same fruit, at different stages of ripeness. Hatch green chiles, named for the New Mexico town where they're grown, often are flame-roasted to bring out their special flavor. There are dozens of recipes for green chile stew and sauce made from smoky roasted green chile. Red chiles may be allowed to dry on ristras, seen hanging from many adobe porches in New Mexico. In restaurants, if you're asked "green or red?", you're expected to state your chile preference. If you'd like some of each, answer "Christmas."
Hatch green chiles generally are thick-fleshed, curvy, and medium-hot (1,000 - 8,000 Scoville Units), though the growing environment, water and temperature levels can affect the heat. The best way to determine the heat of a pepper is to taste the raw pepper. And if, like I did, you happen to get a batch that's hotter than hot (lucky you!), dampen the flames with milk, ice cream, sour cream or yogurt.
A simple bowl of green. Make a lot, freeze it in small containers, and use it as a base by adding frozen corn, canned beans, more fresh tomatoes, or diced sweet potato. Serves 6-8.
2 lbs ground turkey
2 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 lb green chiles, mild or hot, diced
1 lb canned diced tomato, with its juice
1 medium potato, any kind, peeled and diced
1-1/2 Tbsp thyme leaf
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
In a 4-quart stock pot, sauté the turkey in oil over low-medium heat until it's no longer pink.
Add the onion, and continue cooking until the onion is translucent.
Add remaining ingredients, turn heat to simmer, and cook, partially covered, until the potato is cooked and starting to fall apart, and the chili has thickened (add water, a few Tbsp at a time, to keep it from sticking if necessary).
Serve with big chunks of cornbread.
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