It's winter in most of the country, and for that, I am sincerely sorry. But here in the land of fruits and nuts (AKA California) the growing season is eternal.
I've been a member of a Community Supported Agriculture group (CSA) for nearly four years now, and each year brings its own bumper crop that just never, ever seems to stop. A few years back it was butternut squash. Two or three new ones every two weeks, for months. Last year it was Fuyu persimmons. Couldn't walk into the kitchen without a pile of them falling on my head.
This year, the endless abundance is New Mexico Chiles.
These buggers are surprisingly hard to use up at a rate of ten/month.
As an aside, I confess I treated myself to an iPhone last week, quite irresponsibly (unless you consider buying one while unemployed a form of Secreting, in which case it was the best way to tell the Universe "I have utmost, unshakable faith I will get a new position at my company in the next two weeks before my job re-homing program expires." I justified it thusly, at least.)
The first non-free app I purchased was the Hipstamatic camera. For $5 (plus a few more for extra effects) it processes photos in a way that makes them look like old photos taken on a toy camera with old film. Suffice it to say I am IN LOVE with this app.
Somehow this evening, the confluence of way too much produce, a hella neato photo app, and nothing much else to do resulted in a batch of green chile sauce. To DIE for.
I've never made green chile sauce before, so I did what any cook worth her salt (and pepper) would do.
I looked up a few recipes, scanned them for technique, and then completely ignored them for the most part.
First off: Unless you're seriously in love with heat, you've gotta chop off the head of the chile, crack it open toexpose the evil hot seeds and ribs, and get rid of them. Easy.
Piece of cake. Hot, spicy cake.
Place the de-fanged and de-clawed chiles skin-side-up on a baking sheet and roast them at 375 for 25 minutes.
Another ingredient I'm drowning in is radishes. Seriously. How many radishes does the average household go through in a week? Because my CSA thinks the answer is "one quart bag."
No, I don't know why the radishes look like fingers. After four years with a CSA, you just stop asking questions.
Fine. I chopped them up, too. And the last damned zucchini, for good measure. Plus an onion. The only truly important ingredient here is the onion. Everything else is just a matter of dietary fiber.
Some of the lens/film combos are better than others. I would not revisit this one.
Throw some butter in a pot. Throw the chopped veggies in the pot. Saute until they're soft and brown and a fond forms in the bottom of the pan.
That thing I said about film/lens combos applies here, too.
Search your spice drawer for cumin.
Cumin: Spice of the Mexican Gods. (I love this lens/film combo.)
Add a tablespoon or so of the cumin.
Deglaze the pan with half of the beer you've been idly sipping.
Transfer the whole shebang to the food processor (or a blender) and pulverize.
Put the thoroughly demolished, caramelized veggie mixture back in pot. Add a cup, cup-and-a-half of chicken broth. Yes. I use the stuff in a box.
At the end of the 25 roasting minutes, move the chiles up and broil for a minute or two until you get nice, brown crunkitude in the skin.
At this point, the perfectionist chef would remove the skins, as I have here. It rubs right off. Even so, that was too much work, so I thought, what the hell, more fiber.
And I threw the whole lot in the food processor.
This is what happens when you shake to randomize the film/lens combo. Sometimes, you get black-and-white, rather than vivid green. I don't mind.
No, this is not a microscope slide from a college "Diseased Tissues" class. It is a Very Artistic Shot of the contents of the food processor. Really.
Finally, combine the pureed chiles with the other stuff in the pot and simmer for another few minutes.
What's the result?
A subtly sweet, barely spicy, surprisingly buttery, incredibly delicious and shockingly smooth green chile sauce.
Recipe makes three one-cup Snapware containers of sauce.
What do do with this concoction?
It would be incredible over tamales, or nachos, or pork chops, or chicken breast, or on a cheeseburger.
Or just eaten as a salsa with tortilla chips.
I had none of the above.
So I sauteed some shrimp, chopped up some arugula (also from the CSA box) and called it dinner.
And as I finished the plate, I couldn't help notice that the dog, whom I am sitting for the week while the former Mr. Remedy is on another continent, suffered through the entire cooking process with nary a whine.
And appeared utterly forlorn that I didn't share.