By Kelley Coffeen

Timing is Everything….and it’s chile time! Woohoo!

Late August is a special time of year in Las Cruces. I love waking up to crisp cool mornings and the desert sunshine. JuChile_roasting-Blogst about mid-morning the aroma of fresh roasted green chile floats through the New Mexico air. To me, it is the smell of the end of summer, a time to think about the winter ahead. The chile harvest is in full swing. Big metal roasters start to appear in parking lots and street corners. Fresh chile is brought in by the truckloads to various grocery stores and chile shops around town. Even the local high school chapters of FFA jump in and host chile roasting fundraisers.  We are passionate about our chile here in the Mesilla Valley. Apparently the rest of the country agrees by looking at the results of the USA Today poll taken recently which ranked Green Chile Sauce #1 as the USA Today Best Iconic American Food in America!

Green chile is available just a few short weeks a year defining New Mexico’s agriculture. So I ventured out and I got my chile fix or supply, I should say, for the winter. I selected Sandia and Big Jim varieties this year due to the medium heat and full flavor. Once I got my 35 lbs. roasted, peeled and bagged (yes, some will do that for you!) I brought it home and put most in my freezer, anticipating the rellenos, enchiladas, spicy sauces for months to come. I couldn’t  however, resist making my favorite green chile relish and thought I should share it with you.

Kelley’s Green Chile Relish 300 Best Taco Recipes, Robert Rose Publishing




Serve on cocktail crackers for a simple happy hour treat or on grilled steak or chicken.

  • 2 cups chopped New Mexico green chile, roasted, peeled and seeded
  • 1⁄4 cup olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced 5
  • 1 tsp crushed Mexican oregano, optional
  • Kosher salt

1. In a large bowl, combine chiles, oil, garlic, oregano and salt to taste. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour or for up to 2 days.

I hope you enjoy that little recipe. Now again, speaking of timing….I just thumbed through the Hatch Chile Cookbook . What a treasure! Sharon Gutierrez and Chef Ida Rodriguez own, Melissa’s Produce, an internatiHatch-Chile-Cookbook-Blogonal company that offers high quality, specialty produce. Ida sent me a copy of their latest cookbook just in time for our chile harvest so I wanted to share it with you. These ladies have fond memories of ending each summer with a road trip to New Mexico to get their 50 lb bag of chile for the winter, a tradition they still enjoy today. They are passionate chile lovers and have a collection of favorite family recipes that showcase our beloved chile. Additionally, it is packed full of tips on roasting and storing chile at home. Recipes like Oven-baked Soft Pretzels with Hatch Chile Mustard and Grilled Vegetable and Hatch Chile Panini sound delicious. Finally, I was truly intrigued with the Hatch Chile and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream which speaks to all of us chile lovers!

Available through: World Variety Produce, Inc., 800-588-0151, www.melissas.com hotline@melissas.com