I am SO excited. There is one reason I love the month of August here in Texas. No, it’s not because school will be starting in a few weeks. It’s not the fact that we usually have really warm weather, either. It’s CHILES, you sillies!
I just arrived home from a quick New Mexico camping trip. Hatch chiles are everywhere there, as they are grown in Hatch valley and along the entire Rio Grande; from northern Taos Pueblo to southern Isleta Pueblo. They are a signature crop to New Mexico‘s economy and culture, with each strain distinct in flavor. Chile peppers grown in New Mexico are the most sought after, since their flavor, texture, and heartiness are heavily dependent on their growing environment. Did I mention they are crazy tasty?
Even though I don’t live in New Mexico (maybe someday…), I have the benefit of living close. For several weekends in August and September, our local grocery store takes their giant roasters out of storage and tumbles thousands of green chiles. (This can be seen on the side of any road in New Mexico this time of year) They roast mild and hot ones, bag them up and sell them for a mere $10/gallon bag. Last year I bought 2 bags; I skinned and separated them into smaller bags and threw them in the freezer. They lasted me until March. This year I plan on getting 3 bags at least!
This recipe is a great way to take advantage of those chiles right now. If you don’t live somewhere where you can buy them already roasted, you can roast them yourself. It’s a pretty painless process. I think this is a good “how to” from the Pioneer Woman. If you can’t swing this, they DO come canned, although I’m sure the flavor is lacking. Pablano or Aneheim chiles will work great for roasting your own.
Our friends Rudy and Judy invited us to dinner one evening last Summer, where Rudy proceeded to make and serve this delicious and EASY recipe. He so kindly said I could share it with you. Thanks a bunch Rudy!!!
Chile Relleno Casserole (serves 6)
15-ish minutes prep; 1 hr cook time
What you’ll need:
6-8 Roasted Chiles
1½ Cups Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese (I’ve used mozzerella instead)
1½ Cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 Can (12 oz) Evaporated Milk (I’ve subbed regular milk and 1/2 & 1/2 before)
2 TBS Flour (I’ve subbed garbanzo flour & it works fine)
1 (8oz ) Can Tomato Sauce (or any canned tomatoes-you can always purèe!)
Oregano & Cinnamon Spices
- Pre-heat oven to 350°. Place Monterey Jack in bottom of 9” x 13” baking dish.
- Roast and peel chiles if that’s not already done. Remove seeds (I personally do not do this because we like ’em hot!). Split and open green chiles. (I use scissors).
- Place chiles in 2nd layer.
- Place yellow cheese in 3rd layer of dish.
- Blend flour, milk, and eggs. ( I add my herbs at this time. Just a few small pinches of each)
- Pour egg mix evenly over top layer. Bake for 45 minutes.
8. Return to oven and bake an additional 15 minutes.
9. Remove from oven and allow to cool a few minutes before serving.
May I suggest serving it with a nice big salad, and perhaps a side of black beans and roasted sweet potatoes? Mmmmmmmm Good!
(To roast sweet potatoes: Pre-heat your oven to 400°. Wash and cut potatoes into ¼ inch rounds or bite-size cubes. In a large bowl, toss potatoes with olive oil, garlic, sea salt, cumin & chile powder to coat. ( Use your own judgement here peeps. Maybe a 1/4 to 1/2 tsp each for 2 large potatoes…) Spread onto cookie sheet and bake for approx. 40 minutes, or until soft and browned. (I do this in the toaster oven while the casserole is in my big oven). Once they’re done, heat up a can of black beans on the stove and serve alongside the potatoes and a big salad.
If you know Rudy, make sure to let him know if you try his recipe!