Aug 29, 2013

You Know You're in New Mexico When....Yearly Roasting of Green Chiles!

Red or green, that is the question.

In 1999, the New Mexico State Legislature enacted a memorial making "Red or Green?" the official New Mexico State Question. When I first moved to New Mexico, I knew somewhat about the red and green chile, but didn't realize how deeply it becomes part of your everyday life. I began to notice it everywhere; at the grocery stores, pizza parlors, gas stations, hospitals, you name it. I ordered a Subway sandwich the other day and they offered it as a topping.

I have to be honest, when I first saw the lines outside supermarkets for the yearly green chile roasting, I didn't quite get the big deal. I thought green chile tasted alright, but wasn't the instant fanatic Dori was. Then one day, I got in that line for the roasted green chile. As I smelled the fire & peppers in the air, something in my brain switched. I had been eating mostly canned or frozen green chiles, never freshly roasted from Hatch, NM (the chile capital of the world). I was starting to understand.

As I waited, I spoke to an 89 year old man who has been an avid roaster for 30 years. He said after being diagnosed with heart problems, he began using green chile for flavor instead of salt, which he has done ever since. He swears by his homemade salsa. I got tips on how to prep and freeze the chiles from an enthusiastic mom.  A navajo man behind me recalled how they used to roast chile by hand in the 1970's, slowly turning the machine handle, which today is electric.

After returning home with our box of freshly roasted chile, I scrambled up some eggs and added a few of the peppers. Well that was it. My first bite, and I fully understood. It tasted like sun, heat, and smoke from a navajo fire generations ago. For me it was an acquired taste, a slow build up to euphoria.

It's easy to see why chile is a way of life here in New Mexico. Red or green? I'll take green.

In line outside Smith's grocery store for my roasted green chile.



 This alfredo green chile pizza from Three Rivers die for! 



Green chile enchiladas, black beans and Spanish rice. I recommend a margarita with this meal. Recommended but not obligated unless you're with me.

Hanging dried chiles in Old Town Albuquerque, New Mexico

Growing green chiles on my balcony...just in case. It goes well on top of couscous.



  1. The food looks tasty. I love Green Chile!

  2. Hi Randy! We are on the same boat! =)

  3. Excellent! Now I know what to look for when my son and I land in New Mexico next April. :-) Thank you for stopping by today, Sandy. Do you happen to have a link to the inspirational blog you mentioned? I can't seem to find it! Oh, and than you for the kind words too :-) Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

  4. You welcome V! You guys will have a blast in New Mexico I bet. Ok you can either search on Facebook 'Sun Gazing' or you can go here:
    xo S.

  5. My dear friend I always have so much fun when I visit your blog, see your pictures and read about your adventures!
    Chile pizza, that's new for me! ;-)

  6. You're becoming quite the connoisseur of southwest foods, and margaritas apparently! LOL

  7. Ahhh, I love the scent of roasting chile! Mmmmm! I usually go red (sometimes "Christmas"), but during chile season, due to the heavenly scent of roasting green chiles, I could gobble roasted green chile any chance I get, in eggs, on pizza, on a cheeseburger, almost anything!

    Your green chile enchilada plate looks absolutely DELISH!! And yes, a margarita is necessary. ;)

    I've forgotten: have you tried the chile wine?

    1. Haha it sounds like you possibly love chile more than I do! And I don't think it was possible! Thanks for stopping by! xo

  8. Although some of young guns chile is grown in Hatch, they also grow and process chile in Deming, NM. If you want authentic Hatch Chile, try the chile express (Lytle Farms) or The Hatch Chile Store - as they both market directly to consumers.

    1. Good to know Preston. Thank you!:) and thanks for stopping by!