Fall marks a monumental seasonal turning point in New Mexico. Yes, the leaves start to change color and their fiery beauty gives the landscape a breathtaking palette. Yes, the desert temperatures dip letting us continue to bask in the warmth of sun-filled days, but reach for our favorite sweater and cozy up to a fire in the evenings. Yes, apple and cinnamon laden dishes grace our tables and other Fall flavors make an appearance in our hot coffee beverages. These things, as wonderful as they are, do not hold a pumpkin spice scented candle to the one thing New Mexicans look forward to ALL year long…green chile season.
We live for it! We stock our freezers full to the brim with the best this land has to offer and hope and pray it’s enough to make it through to the next harvest. The smell of roasting chiles permeates the air and for several weeks the entire state is engulfed in that glorious aroma. Chile vendors sporting makeshift roasters pop up on every street corner and grocery stores, large and small, mark off part of their parking lots to devote real estate to this endeavor. It.Is.A.Big.Deal.Round.These.Parts!
The rest of the world immediately associates Hatch, NM as the source for the best green chile and yes, she is probably the belle of the ball. I hate to brag though, as a New Mexican we have numerous excellent green chile resources right at our fingertips. Heck, the Chile Pepper Institute is an internationally recognized research facility located at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, NM. With this kind of information at the ready and an obsession that dates back to 1894, it stands to reason that several farms grow delicious green chile and we can get our hands on it very easily.
This year we opted to purchase ours from Wagner Farms right here in Albuquerque. They offer the milder Big Jim and the tastebud incinerating Sandia varieties. We chose Sandias and picked up a 1/2 bushel of green and a 1/2 bushel of red, just to mix it up. We don’t usually buy fresh red, but they were so damn pretty we couldn’t resist.
We took our colorful bounty home and set up our chile cleaning and bagging station on the patio. It’s a lot of work peeling and seeding these slimy beauties, but the payoff is worth all of the effort. Rule number one? Wear gloves and keep your hands away from your eyes. Rule number two? See rule number one.
Once we got this task out of the way we stocked the freezer with what we hope will last us throughout the year. We saved one bag of green chile, however, to inaugurate the Fall season with a special dish. Green Chile Stew.
Our Green Chile Stew gets a double punch of green chile flavor by starting with a smoked pork butt seasoned liberally with our AlbuKirky Seasonings Green Chile Rub. The smoke and the rub elevate the flavors of the meat, so rather than just providing a bland shot of protein for the stew it actually marries with the fresh green chile. Each bite lets the smoky seasoned meat and the heat of the fresh chile play off each other.
The ingredients are simple…chopped fresh green chile (as hot as you can stand), diced onion, minced garlic, chicken base or chick stock and a couple of bay leaves. We either use chicken base or homemade stock. We have found that the chicken base is far more flavorful in dishes than store-bought stock, plus we can control how much or how little we want to use. About 30-minutes before it’s time to serve we add diced potatoes. See below for the full recipe.
AlbuKirky Seasonings Green Chile Stew
- one 5-8 lb Pork Butt
- Olive Oil or Cooking Oil
- AlbuKirky Seasonings Green Chile Rub
- 2 cups Chopped Hot Green Chile
- 1 large Onion, diced
- 3 cloves Garlic, minced
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 8 cups Water
- 1 tablespoon Chicken Base
- 5-6 Medium-size Gold Potatoes, cut into bite size pieces
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- Sour Cream
- Coat the pork with olive oil or cooking oil and season liberally with AlbuKirky Seasonings Green Chile Rub.
- Fire up the smoker using charcoal or the wood of your choice. Slow cook the pork butt over indirect heat at 225º for 1 hour and 20 minutes per pound to an internal temperature of 190-195º. An 8 pound butt should take about 10 hours. The butt is done when you can easily pull the bone from the meat.
- Once the meat is done, shred or chop up approximately 3lbs of the pork and add it to a large dutch oven or pot.
- Add the green chile, onion, garlic, and bay leaves to the dutch oven and cover with water. Stir ingredients together and add the bay leaves.
- Bring to a boil and stir in the chicken base.
- Simmer for approximately 1 1/2 – 2 hours adding more water as necessary.
- Add potatoes and simmer for another 30 minutes until potatoes are done. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with shredded cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream. Share with your friends if you’re feeling generous.