Intro to Roasted Green Chiles
Never bought or cooked with roasted green chiles? Once you try them, you will never go back!
Here are the basics:
Why do we buy fresh roasted chiles?
- They sure taste better than canned!
- The aroma is unforgettable.
- They are not just for chile rellenos, burritos and green chili. Many dishes are better with them!
- They are far cheaper by the bushel than canned.
- They freeze beautifully. You can just grab some from the freezer whenever you need them.
- Whether you roast them yourself or buy them roasted, be careful to use rubber gloves when handling. The big danger here is getting any of the chile juice in your eyes. It is best to wear food preparation gloves or gloves that come with hair coloring kits. Nearly every time I did not use gloves I inadvertently rubbed my eyes and seriously regretted it.
- You certainly can, if you would like the experience. Just follow theinstructions. But, personally, I’ve tried it and it is a pain in the butt.
- You may notice the vendors use roasters specially made for chile roasting, resulting in chiles that are very easy to peel. The chiles roast directly in the flame for about 4-8 minutes, sometimes longer, producing thoroughly roasted chiles. The skins should slide off easily. If you roast them yourself, you’ll get patches on each chile where the skin is firmly attached.
Can you eat the skin? How about the seeds?
- The skin is edible, but it has a texture somewhat like cellophane. I personally don’t know anyone who chooses to eat chile skin.
- The seeds are also edible. There is more heat in the seeds and veins (what the seeds are attached to) of the chile. We seed the chiles more for texture and appearance. It is a lot of work to remove all the seeds, so most people just scoop out the bulk of them. Some choose to leave all the seeds in.
What about all the varieties? Which do I choose?
If you are new to this, you are fine just specifying mild, medium, or hot. They look similar, and you are not likely to know the difference until you cook with them a while. If there is a choice of several milds, for example, just ask for the most popular.
How long do they keep? How do I store them?
Chiles are very susceptible to mold and botulism. They can grow mold in the refrigerator within a week. When you bring them home, you should pack them up into small containers and freeze all but those you will be using immediately. See freezing instructions.
Do I save the juice? Can I cook with it?
I do sometimes, but chile juices tastes rather 1-dimensional. I occasionally throw it into tomato-based soups. It adds a nice touch. Otherwise there seems to be a limited number of dishes that chile juice is suitable for.
How many chiles are in a cup?
They vary in size, but on average one chile equals one ounce, so you usually have about 8 chiles in a cup. Keep in mind we are not talking about jalapenos here.
What kinds of dishes do you use green chiles in?
They are fabulous in egg dishes, with cheese, potatoes, cornbread, and many other dishes. Browse through the recipes and you’ll the possibilities!