Many parts of the country have foods they are famous for- the Philly cheesesteak, the Chicago deep dish pizza and real-deal Southern barbeque- and New Mexico is no different. From natives to transplants to tourists alike, the spicy, hot aroma of roasting green chiles is one of the greatest parts of New Mexico.
New Mexico is well known for creating some of the best food in America and our famous green chiles are what gives our New Mexican cuisine it’s unique flavor. Every year, thousands of pounds of fresh green chiles are roasted over an open flame in New Mexico and shipped out to chile connoisseurs around the country.
Every weekend the aroma of roasting chiles at the Co+op is a sure-fire sign that summer is in full swing. And while a freshly roasted chile is one of the most flavorful delights out there, not everyone can enjoy green chile right out of the roaster. Fortunately, green chiles can easily be roasted at home and enjoyed at any time!
At Home Chile Roasting
Place oven rack at 4-6” below the heating element of your oven.
Preheat oven to 400-450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Arrange fresh chiles in a single layer on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet.
- Roast chiles for 3-5 minutes or until the skins are charred and blistered.
- Carefully place roasted chiles into a paper bag, food-safe plastic bag or a bowl with a lid. The steam from the hot chiles will help to loosen the skins.
- Once skins are loosened peel, remove seeds and chop chiles.
- Allow chiles to cool completely for up to two hours at room temperature.
- Cover and store in the fridge for up to three days or store prepared chiles in a freezer-safe plastic bag for up to one year.
Green Chile Facts
One of the most famous chiles in the world is the Hatch Green Chile. This variety of chile was developed right here in Las Cruces, New Mexico. It was called the “New Mexico No. 9” and created by horticulturist Dr. Fabian Garcia at New Mexico State University, then known as Las Cruces College, in 1894.
It was cultivated to be larger and fleshier than other varieties of chiles, as well as shoulder-less with a tapered profile to make canning easier. The chile pepper is the official vegetable of the state of New Mexico! The green chile of New Mexico has been developed over the years to be spicy, yet flavorful. It ranks somewhere in the middle of the Scoville index, the measurement for spiciness in peppers. The infamous Hatch Green Chiles are only grown in the Hatch Valley along the Rio Grande from the north in Arrey, NM to the south in Tonuco Mountain, NM. Anaheim Peppers are a variety of the New Mexico No. 9 chile but are mellower on the heat index partially due to the more temperate growing conditions in California.
In addition to the popular New Mexico No. 9, other chiles are grown in New Mexico including the Big Jim, Sandia and No. 6. These varieties of chile have varying degrees of spiciness and heat. Chiles are generally prepared by roasting in an drum-shaped rotating vessel over a propane flame (like at the Block Party) or in hornos.