Fresh New Mexican Green Chiles at Raley's
I'm not sure if this is noteworthy or not. I don't pay that much attention to peppers. However, the constant chat on the boards about New Mexican chiles has me interested. So since this is the first time I've noticed these in the Bay Area, I thought I would report it for New Mexican chile fans. They are 69 cents a pound and at my Raley's in El Sobrante, very nice looking. I bought one for the heck of it.
Do NOT however buy the Abuelita's Tortillas next to the peppers.
I got carried away with the spirit of New Mexico and bought a pack without reading the ingrediants ... cellulose gum, fumeric acid, calcium propinate, potasium sorbate, sorbic acid, baking powder, guar gum ... it tastes it ... stale and gummy,
To add insult to injury they are $2.50 for a pack of 10 small tortillas ... what was I thinking?
No reason to buy something like this with all the wonderful fresh tortillas in the Bay Area without junk in them ... especially in my area. Let this be a sad cautionary tortilla tale to always read the ingrediant list.
When i lived in Colorado thru most of the '90s, we waited all year for the Hatch chiles to come up from New Mexico. Usually in the early fall, and you knew they had arrived because all of a sudden a bunch of roadside roasters would appear ... a pickup truck, a big propane fired barrell roaster, and a handwritten sign. A couple weeks later, they were gone. We would stock up on them every fall, because they freeze well.
I was surprised when those same Hatch chiles, and the roasters, showed up at Raley's last year, and again this year. I wondered whether they were the same as those we enjoyed in Colorado in years past, or were just marketing speak for other chiles grown in NewMex. I just didn't see how the crop could be large enough to supply Raley's demand. (Hatch was always a very specific variety prized for its complex flavor and heat, and grown only in and around Hatch, NM). To be honest, I still don't know whether they are the real deal (time dulls the taste buds memory), but, authentic or not, they are very good, as you've discovered.
Your accidental blackening was actually what you're supposed to do: char the skins so you can peel them off, then you're left with the rich flavor and soft texture underneath, with just a few bits of the charred exterior clinging for an extra flavor.
The main thing we used them for was chile verde ... a thick, chunky stew made mainly from pork, onions, tomatoes and the Hatch chile, much different from the thin-style sauce that goes by the same name here. I haven't made it in a while, but I picked some Hatches up at Raley's last weekend, and they're just hanging out in the fridge waiting for me to whip up a new batch.
The Raley's in Benicia identifies them as "Hatch" chiles. Like I say, they may very well be true Hatches, for all I know, or it could be a grower in New Mexico who is selling them to Raley's as Hatches. I don't know how aggressive growers in Hatch are about protecting the name, or even how important terroir is to a chile! Whatever they are tho, you're right, they're darn good.
Hmm, well, yeah. Unless you're familiar with a braind, you gotta check. TOSS. Ah well, we've done far worse.
It's chile time and many grocery stores will now be carrying great fresh chile peppers. I've got a few friends that drive to the central valley each year for their 50lb sacks. One of which has spent the week at his smoker with such a sack.
Have you been to the local Mexican groceries between McBryde and Solano semi-lately? I went last week and was exceptionally pleased with the higher quality produce and meat selections. The one at the corner of McBryde has some premarinated things that look quite tasty. At the time I was there the new Halal market was closed for a 30 minute break, sigh. I wanted to see if they had fresh goat.
You know, that fresh New Mexican chile from Raley's was surprisingly good. I finally get it about these peppers. My god, they must be really amazing from a good vendor in New Mexico ... yeah ... future plans now include a stop in New Mexico some time to sample peppers during the season.
So, I try a little piece fresh ... yeah, ok. Sort of a Bell pepper taste and crunch with a slight back heat ... very slight.
OK, fine, but no big deal.
I'm not a roast & char skins type or talent, so I decide to fry them up. Given my cooking skills, the skins accidently blackened ... that's where these got amazing.
There was this wonderful flavor with heat, but not too much ... so ... so ... ... such a balanced complement to a dish. I mixed them with scrambled eggs and cheese and yowza. Raley's had little recipe cards for free. I'll bet the chile rellanos using these peppers would be fantastic.
Thumbs up, Raley's ... thumbs up.
I haven't been to the markets you mention on San Pablo, but will look in.
That reminds me this is the time to visit Tierra Vegetables at Ferry Plaza. They have the most amazing colorful fresh pepper selection. Now that I know I can extend the life of these peppers in glass jars, I'm going to stock up.
Yeah, maybe I'll drop over to Raley's today and see if they have more of those New Mexican peppers.