Food On The Hill: Red Green Chile With Corn, Mushrooms And Goat Cheese

Red and green chile with corn, mushrooms and goat cheese. Photo by Felicia Orth
 
Roasted red chile. Photo by Felicia Orth
 
Food On The Hill
By FELICIA ORTH

Red Green Chile With Corn, Mushrooms And Goat Cheese

I get as excited as any New Mexican in the summer when first greeted at the market by the smell of roasting green chiles, the whoosh of the flames, and the crackling of the blistering pepper skin.

I get just as excited at the end of the chile roasting season, right about now, because this is the time the green chile is ripening to deep red. This is when I purchase my sacks of chile for the freezer, hoping it will stretch to next summer, and inevitably finding myself supplementing with the commercial brands come spring.

Many string the ripened red green chile into ristras. Ristras are beautiful as a hanging decoration and make a tasty red chile sauce when the dried pods are stripped from the string, crumbled, softened in water and pureed in a blender. I only ever use part of one ristra throughout the year, however; my family prefers the chile pepper in vegetable form.

Roasted red green chile has a sweeter, more mellow earthy flavor than before it ripens, and it still brings the heat, at mild, medium, hot or very hot levels. Any dish made with it is colorful, too. A trip to Ruidoso this weekend took me past one of my favorite farm stands, in San Antonio, New Mexico across from the Owl Café, at just the right time: many bushel baskets of red green chile fresh from the field, at every heat level, in a vividly-colored display. (In my excitement, I forgot to snap a picture of the shelves.)

Home with lots of roasted red chile to peel, seed, chop and freeze, I took a break to sauté 10 chopped pods with a pound of sliced baby bella mushrooms and the kernels stripped from four ears of corn in 3 tablespoons olive oil, 3 tablespoons butter, a tablespoon of minced garlic and a little salt.

Alone, this is a nice vegan side dish, like Calabacitas with mushrooms instead of squash.

We like this dish a lot with a simple goat cheese sauce: heat 5 ounces goat cheese (by weight) with 5 ounces white wine, milk or cream (by volume), stirring until smooth. Drizzle over the cooked vegetables in the serving bowl or pass on the side.

This combination of vegetables is so good, and made so luscious with the goat cheese, that you may find yourself reflecting on the good fortune of living in the Land of Enchantment. New Mexico’s green chile has ripened to red! ¡Qué bueno!

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