trying to become a green chile convert, denver
- withalonge Mar 12, 2008 09:52 AM
am bay area transplant.. when I think green sauce & mexican food, I thing of chile verde... a sauce (without meat) made primarily from tomatillos, onions.. maybe a little cilantro... having moved here, it seems all green sauce associated with mexican food is green chile. Being a chowhound, I of course was excited about a new source of delicious-ness... and then dug out my old copies of calvin trillan's books and remembered him waxing on about red & green chile... so now i'm trying to learn to love it.
so far I've had some very bad (corn-starchy & bland) green chile.. then had some home-made from a co-worker.. after a taste, I thought... ah ha! we're on to something good. for a while there I was starting to wonder what all the fuss was about... and then I had the green chile at los dos patrillos (centennial & littleton) location.. it was spicy, it had body without being overly viscous... quite tasty.
So, my dear friends.. where do you find your favorite green chile (after I have explored green chile... I'll switch to red). Also, i'm making a separate post on home cooking board for recipes, I'd love to make this myself too.. especially in the summer when I can get fresh tomatoes & roasted chilies.
Also, if anyone knows where i might find chile verde sauce... and some decent carnitas.. and mission style burritos... I will forever be in your debt.
thanks in advance,
I don't know what they've been serving you in Denver area, but in New Mexico green chile is our national dish. It's not really considered a sauce but a type of stew. It is made with roasted green New Mexico or Anaheim chiles, not tomatillos or tomatoes, and may or may not contain meat, usually pork.
I've had hundreds of variation on same, but the absolutely best I've ever eaten was at a little place called El Norteno in Las Vegas, New Mexico (not to be mistaken for Vegas, NV). It's owned by Ray and Jennifer Velasquez, and Ray is the chef. I can't remember his precise recipe, but I do recall his procedure is a bit different from the usual. I've got to get back up there some day and pry the recipe out of him.
In the meantime, I might suggest you look up one of Jane Butel's cookbooks. She teaches cooking classes in Albuquerque, and she knows what she's doing. You also might check The Whole Chile Pepper Book by Dave DeWitte and Nancy Gerlach. Dave is our Mr. Chile, and he's the entrepreneur who brings the Fiery Foods Show to ABQ every year.
well, i kind of figured that Colorado (in general) has put its own twist on a new mexico dish... the first time I ordered a burrito here I thought.. "what the hell, why is there all this sauce? I didn't order a enchilada"... but hey, it is all about enjoying and celebrating regional differences & interpretations. I appreciate the cookbook recs.
I'm sure like everything else the debate of true authenticity... which always starts with "well, my grandmother always made it this way..." could roll on for eons.
Try El Tejado on S. Broadway. Great flavor and just enough heat. The roasted pork smothered in green chile is very good. Up here in Wyoming, everyone has their own favorites. Personally, I have no problem driving 40 miles to Cheyenne to the Tortilla Factory on S. Greeley Hwy or 90 miles to Sinclair to Su Casa, (my favorite, pure heaven). Mezcal on Colfax is also a good place. (and a fun atmosphere) The green chile isn't my favorite, but the sopes are pretty darn good. I'm sure the many denverites will have more recs. In the meantime head to Federal near Invesco and drive until you see a bunch of cars at a local taco joint!
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In my fairly limited experience with New Mexican & Coloradoan green chile (3 or 4 trips to N. Mex. & a larger number of trips to Colo.) I tend to think of Colorado green chile as a Tex-Mex-influenced version of the New Mexican green chile. The green chile in N. Mex. is better than in Colo., but there are a few spots here & there in Colo. where you can find good green chile. The physical location of Colorado--with one foot planted firmly in the Rocky Mountain West & the other foot on the door-step of the Midwest--is mirrored by the food itself--a hybrid of western Mexican food from New Mexico & the kind of Mexican food I imagine is served in Midwestern cities like St. Louis, Oklahoma City, etc.
Like you, I was pretty surprised the first time I ordered green chile in Colorado (iirc, it was at a cafe in Colorado Springs) & they brought me a bowl of stew that wasn't even green!--like what I'm used to in California. I've had similar bowls of green chile in cafes in southern Utah & in Page, Arizona.
Very interesting analysis. I had green chile in Avon, Colorado (Vail Valley) at Route 6 Cafe this past September, and the green chile was red. Not a deep red like chile colorado, but definitely red, not green. It had a small amount of pork in it, I think, but not bite-size pieces. I think it also, to my horror, had some chopped red bell pepper in it. I actually asked the owner of the restaurant about it (trying to confirm it was indeed intended to be green chile) but I forget exactly what he said other than yes it was. Granted, the restaurant isn't a Mexican or Tex-Mex or New Mexican restaurant, but it seemed from the menu description that they were aiming for New Mexico-style green chile.
I've only been to New Mexico once and I had green chile along with some of the best chiles rellenos I've ever eaten before or since. That trip was at least 15 years ago but I'm fairly certain that the green chile was green, not reddish. In Colorado, I wasn't expecting chile verde like I'm used to here in Los Angeles, chunks of pork in a tomatillo-based sauce, because I knew the New Mexico-style green chile is a different beast. The chile verde I've had at two of the Michoacan restaurants in Las Vegas (NV) is pretty much the same as what I expect in Los Angeles.
Green chile in these parts isn't always green in color, as you've discovered. The "green" being referred to is the prime ingredient, green chiles. If cooked long enough, they tend to disappear, leaving only their flavor. If there's a bit of tomato involved, it will color the stew reddish or orangeish no matter what.
I've been a long time fan of Tacos Jalisco's green chile but is has changed recently, more corn starch I think, but still good. They also have the chile verde salsa that you are accustomed to. located at 38th and Tennyson. I recently tried Taco Patzcuaro, excellent green chile, one of the best I've found. They're on W 32nd, east of Federal. My favorite though is El Taco De Mexico, their green is more of a sauce than a stew, you will not want to leave a drop on the plate. Very small space located on Sante Fe and 7th.