baked oats green chile chicken enchiladas chow mein bakery-style butter cookies

copyright jennifer yu © 2004-2023 all rights reserved: no photos or content may be reproduced without prior written consent

time to hatch a plan of action

Recipe: green chile sauce

Spring cleaning never happens as it should in the springtime, because I’m busy skiing. Neglected sections of the house are taken care of in fits and spurts of inspiration or at the breaking point of tolerance. Our microwave handle broke off last winter, so we’ve managed by pushing the door up and out without a handle. The gutters need cleaning. Obsolete electronics, #6 styrofoam pieces, and used cooking oil all await the day they will be driven to Boulder to be responsibly recycled. Oh, but I cleaned my refrigerator and freezer this week. That is like a Christmas horror movie of sorts… finding forgotten gems and then finding the REALLY forgotten gems that have evolved hair and legs and personalities of their own. All this to tell you that I unearthed a jar of matcha green tea powder in the freezer. It’s a lovely shade of green and has a wonderfully nutty herbal aroma. It was buried behind the frozen passion fruit pulp and hunks of frozen Virginia ham. I intended to use this instead of the old, tired, faded matcha that was in the cupboards – the one that I used in the green tea crème brûlée recipe. So, sorry about that.

In other news, Kaweah is back to her quirky self aside from what I call her random hot flashes. I think one of the meds gets her pretty hopped up such that she experiences panting episodes from time to time. She behaves the same way when there is raw beef in the kitchen (or anywhere, really).

kaweah checks out the dinner table to see what’s what

Passing storms are a regular occurrence around here in summer and early fall. With our big sky views, we usually see sunshine and rain simultaneously… and that can mean rainbows. I caught this one a couple of weeks ago in Crested Butte that I forgot to share. I swear I’ve seen more rainbows in Crested Butte than anyplace else.

the sky looked like it was glowing

The end of summer becomes of frenzy of favorites. Our local tomatoes are at their peak and the freestone varieties of Colorado peaches arrive at the farmer’s market. I can’t get enough of the sweet corn ears from Olathe, Colorado. For the past few years, Hatch green chiles have found their way from New Mexico into our markets and of course, our hearts (and mouths). It’s to the point where I am turning down offers from various family members to score me several pounds of roasted New Mexico green chiles because I can pick the fresh ones and roast them myself each August. We love them on burgers, in stews, on pizza, and in sandwiches, and so much more.

my first batch of the season

roasting to char the skins

I nabbed many pounds of fresh green chiles last week to roast and peel and freeze. I maintain a stash of green chiles in the freezer throughout the year. That’s what prompted me to clean the freezer – to take stock of my green chile inventory. The oldest green chiles get used first because they grow spicier with time in the freezer. Jeremy asked why I prefer to roast my own rather than purchasing them already roasted or already diced. I like picking the fattest, meatiest chiles because they roast better and don’t tear apart as easily. Those are the ones I like to reserve for making chile rellenos. Also, I’m way more meticulous about peeling and deseeding my chiles. I guess I feel I can do it better.



In New Mexico, when you order most plates (unless it’s tacos) your server will ask, “red or green?”. They mean red chile sauce or green chile sauce. They don’t mean chili as in chili with beans, beef and all that stuff. They mean REAL red chile sauce or green chile sauce. I usually answer red, because it is my favorite. But green has a lovely sweetness to it that marries well with a good enchilada or tamale. If you want both, answer “Christmas.”

diced green chiles, onion, garlic, chicken broth, olive oil, tomatoes, salt, cumin, flour

prep the ingredients

chopped and ready to cook

The majority of the prep is the knife work. If you can’t source fresh or roasted green chiles, try to find them in frozen sections of grocery stores. You can use store-bought canned green chiles, but they really are a different (and sadly flavorless) beast altogether.

sauté the onions and garlic

stir in the flour

add the broth

The bulk of the time will be spent simmering the sauce. Mine got quite thick two or three times, so I added more broth to keep it from burning. I left my chiles chunky, but you can also purée the sauce for a smooth texture. The minimum recommended time for simmering is 30 minutes, but I let it go an hour until things began to soften and break down a little bit.

add tomatoes, chile, and cumin

sprinkle salt to taste when the sauce is done cooking

The heat or spiciness of the green chile sauce will depend on the heat of your chiles. You can buy mild, medium, or hot. I happened to have a few bags from the previous year that were nice and spicy – just enough kick to make it exciting, but not so much that you’re gasping after each bite. And it was still quite sweet and full of green chile flavor. Homemade is the best.

green chile sauce

amazing with pork tamales!

Green Chile Sauce
[print recipe]
based on this recipe

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp flour
1/2 cup chicken stock (I used 2 cups) – you could use vegetable stock
2 cups roasted green chiles, peeled, seeded, chopped
1/2 cup tomato, diced (fresh or canned, I used fresh)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
salt to taste

Heat the oil in a sauté pan over high heat. Add the onions and sauté for a few minutes. Add the garlic and cook until the onions are soft. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Slowly add the chicken stock while constantly stirring to mix it into the flour and onions. Add the chiles, tomatoes, and cumin. Stir until everything is evenly distributed. When the sauce comes to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Simmer for at least 30 minutes. I simmered for an hour. Add more water or stock if the sauce gets too thick or dry. Add salt to taste. Makes 3 cups. Store in the refrigerator or freeze.

more goodness from the use real butter archives

beer chicken green chile enchiladas blue cornmeal-crusted green chiles green chile mayonnaise roasted potato and green chile salad

14 nibbles at “time to hatch a plan of action”

  1. Shoshanna says:

    I scored hatch chiles for the first time in Bellingham, WA at Haggen. Been looking for them since your post many years ago and excited to use them. I roasted and deseeded them and kept the stems on like you mentioned. Can’t wait to use them in chile rellenos and for green chile sauce!

  2. Rocky Mountain Woman says:

    oh my, that looks like a dish of summer…

  3. farmerpam says:

    Love the rainbow!

  4. says:

    Here in NJ I haven’t seen Hatch chilis, but I do the same thing using poblanos. I always have a bag of IQF roasted and diced poblanos in my freezer to use as needed. My favorite is a corn tortilla topped with refried beans, cheese, a bit of salsa, a fried egg and some of the chili pieces, topped with another tortilla and cooked in a fry pan til crispy and hot. In fact, I think I’ll go make that right now…

  5. JaneM says:

    I had the good fortune as a teenager to live in a New Mexico town 45 minutes south of Hatch ( I left a week before I turned 19, heading to MCRD, Parris Island, SC.) I always looked forward to our drive to Hatch to get a huge gunnysack full of green chile to roast every summer. It was a huge undertaking but so worthwhile. The downside is that I have been living in the Midwest for over 40 years and cannot get the fantastic Big Jim Hatch chile I grew to love and have craved. There simply is NO substitute. Perhaps someday, Lady Luck will smile down on me and I’ll be able to move back to my home town.

  6. jill says:

    Seriously, Christmas?

    I love the angle of the rainbow. Can’t say I’ve ever experienced that view! Nice.

  7. marissa says:

    Oh meh gawd those chillis look delicious!

    And isn’t good pain management amazing go Kaweah!

  8. MaryW says:

    I am going to make this!

  9. Abbe@This is How I Cook says:

    I got my first batch of chilies, too! Love them every which way, but I keep mine simple with no tomatoes and cumin. Yours looks great though and since I have a lot of chiles, I must try a batch like this, too!

  10. jenyu says:

    Shoshanna – mmmm, sounds great!

    Rocky Mountain Woman – :)

    farmerpam – thanks!

    Carole – I understand. I used to have problems getting Hatch chiles when I lived in Ithaca, NY. Hopefully they’ll make their way out to you soon!

    Jane – yes, I LOVE the Big Jims. I bet you miss those wonderful skies in NM. Hoping you’ll get back there someday xo

    jill – that’s what they call it! :)

    marissa – :)

    MaryW – great!

    Abbe – it’s a lovely sauce. Although I too am perfectly happy with roasted green chiles any old way :)

  11. Mrs Ergül says:

    Very fun thing to learn on the chilies! Christmas please!

  12. auntyem says:

    I miss the stuffed sopapilla’s at los cuates in albuquerque. When i see “Hatch” on the chilis, i get as many as i can. Was only able to get 4 the last time. Will be making this tomorrow.

    The only packaged available where i live are canned and not good at all.

  13. Sarah says:

    I’m excited to make this! I love green sauce. To clarify, though: did you really use two cups of stock instead of 1/2 cup? Did you add it all at once or throughout the simmering process?

  14. jenyu says:

    Sarah – yes, I used 2 cups, but I added over time as the sauce got thick and dried out.

leave a reply