Food on the Hill: Best Intentions Green Chile Stew

Food on the Hill

I had intended this week to share one of the soups my mother made regularly as we were growing up: potato leek. I was planning to make a big batch to share. I purchased five pounds of Yukon gold potatoes and two bunches of leeks and a bouquet of fresh parsley to chop as a bright green garnish for the top of each bowl. I knew that pureeing some of the potato/leek mixture after it was cooked would take the place of most or all of the cream one might ordinarily add. I also have a tip to share about cleaning leeks, which are notoriously muddy and gritty.

And then…it was as though a spell fell over the kitchen and I was enchanted. I could not stop thinking about the roasted green chile in my freezer.  Potatoes and green chile taste great together. Leeks would be good with them, too, as they are simply a type of onion. 

I just happened to have lean ground turkey and fresh corn in the refrigerator and chicken stock in the pantry and Mexican oregano…and…potato leek soup will have to wait. Maybe it was the snow falling vigorously this morning in Los Alamos, but the urge to make green chile stew was powerful. Even as an impromptu one-pot dish with turkey instead of the traditional pork, it was tasty and popular with the small group of folks who ate it. For a stew it is light and greaseless.

Leeks soaking in vinegar water. Photo by Felicia Orth

Although I wouldn’t usually add leeks to a green chile stew (white or yellow onions are standard), the leeks worked well in it, and here is the leek cleaning tip: trim the leeks so that the bottom is shaved off and the green top is removed, leaving just the part that is white and light green. Slice each part lengthwise. Place these pieces in a bowl or other container with a tablespoon of vinegar (I use white or apple cider) and enough water to cover. Let soak for 10 minutes and rinse. The leeks will be clean and ready to chop.

This Week’s Recipe: Best Intentions Green Chile Stew

Photo by Felicia Orth
12 cups chicken broth
3 lbs potatoes, cut into small chunks
1 lb ground turkey
4 leeks or 2 medium onions, chopped
Kernels from 3 ears of corn (or use a small bag of frozen corn)
28 ounces chopped roasted green chile, thawed if using frozen
1 teaspoon garlic powder (fresh garlic can be added instead)
1 tablespoon oregano

Serves 15


Pour the broth into a stockpot and add the potatoes and leeks. Bring to a boil and simmer about 20 minutes, until the potatoes soften but are not mushy. Add the turkey and continue simmering while stirring to break the turkey into small bits. After 5-10 minutes (the turkey will be clearly cooked), add the corn, green chile, garlic powder and oregano. Simmer another 5-10 minutes until the stew is hot and fragrant.

Serve with cornbread and a green salad.

Orth is a local home cook; she can be reached at

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