Monday, October 06, 2008

New Mexico: Roasting Chiles

Loading my sack into the roaster.

I didn't plan it. In fact, I didn't even know about it until I saw these iron roasters set up in parking lots across the state. Here in New Mexico it's green chile season and it's in full swing. Everywhere you turn in this state are chiles. Red chiles, green chiles, chile wreaths, chiles hanging from the ceiling, it's chile, chile, chile. It's so chile here you might need a jacket. Ha ha.

Hatch Green Chiles Roasting.

For less than twenty bucks, you can buy a forty pound sack of freshly picked Hatch Green Chiles and have them roasted for you while you wait. Wow. Who would have thought? Back at home, roasted poblano peppers is a real pain in the butt. You're there, over an open fire (or searing oven) charring your peppers so you can skin them. It's time and labor intensive.

Unloading and bagging.

But here in New Mexico, they do all that for you. And they've got the contraption to do it. Simply take your bag of chiles, load it into the expanded steel drum and fire up the burners. The drum rotates and roasts the chiles. Seven minutes later, it's done and you're on your way to chile heaven.

My green chile booty.

For someone like myself, there are a few logistical considerations to consider. First and foremost, I don't live here. Second, I have to fly home. Third, how much can I really take home with me? All serious things to consider. Happily, my status with United means that I don't pay for checked baggage and the normal weight limits do not apply. That means I can pretty much bring anything home with me, regardless of how much and how heavy. Because of this, I always fly with an extra duffle bag stuffed into my luggage - just in case.

Chiles cool in the back of the Xterra.

Fifteen bucks lighter and forty pounds heavier, my chiles have been double bagged in plastic and the placed back in their burlap sack for support. Once they've cooled down sufficiently, I'll seal up the bags and toss it into my duffle for the flight home. It's a simple plan and one that fills the Xterra with the sweet aroma of roasted chiles for the rest of the day.

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