Thursday, October 07, 2010

Roasted chiles from Pete Palombo's

Starting in late August, the chile stands start popping up around town. Chiles from Hatch, New Mexico, are the most famous and delicious. Many of the stands are just a couple of guys with a truck full of burlap sacks and a roaster, setting up shop in a vacant lot. You can also buy the chiles at farmers' markets.
Since I was on the north side of town today, I decided to check Pete Palombo's market on a cow-orker's recommendation. Her parents buy bushels of chiles there every year. Pete's is in Brighton, on the northwest corner of U.S. 85 and East 144th Avenue. In October, they have a corn maze, too.
You can get all kinds of fresh produce at Pete's: corn, pumpkins, potatoes, onions, greens... Even sunflower heads for roasting seeds or feeding to the birds.
They have many varieties of chiles, with varying degrees of heat. This late in the season, though, even the "mild" chiles have a bit of a bite to them.
I ordered half a bushel of the milder Anaheims and got in line for the roaster.
The roaster is a big mesh barrel with a line of gas burners. The chiles are tumbled past the burners.
Gabe is a neighbor of the Palombos who helps out during the week. He's in the construction business, but business has been slow. He roasts up to 40 bushels of chiles a day.

He suggested I toss a broken-up head of garlic in with the chiles for a little extra infusion of flavor. Boy, did that ever smell good.

Once the chiles look done, he pulls out a panful so you can check them before he bags them. You want them cooked enough so the skins pull off easily, but not so cooked that they turn to mush. Once they go into the bag, they will steam a little more.
A half-bushel may sound like a lot of chiles, but they freeze well and can be used in cooking all winter. They're good on grilled cheese sandwiches, on hamburgers, in posole and of course in a big pot of New Mexico green chile stew. Yum.


  1. Yum indeed. I need to buy me some of those now.

  2. This brought back memories. I used to live in Albuquerque and teach kindergarten. We'd make home visits before the kids started school and we saw a lot of chile roasting in those barrels. The closest I can get now is Hatch green chile in cans from Trader Joe's.

  3. Now that's cool! I wonder why we don't see chile roasters here?