Vegan green chili recipe

In the Southwest, this is the smell of autumn: fire-roasted green chilis. Every farmer's market, farm stand or travelling vegetable impresario has a big screen drum in which they roast the peppers over searing gas flames; the scent of peppers roasting will draw crowds like a carnival barker.

I wish I could impart a scratch-and-sniff feature to this page. Roast chilis have this tart, smokey smell like burning leaves only more compelling, because the scent triggers something in the taste center of the brain. It's the smell of fall, the October desert and your favorite Mexican restaurant distilled to its olfactory essence. The smell of chili roasting will have you drooling before your peppers are out of the drum.

If you've never bought roast chilis before, ask for a taste. I once bought a half bushel of chilis that were so hot, we couldn't eat them. (The vendors, too, will often say a chili is mild, but what's mild to them may be en fuego to you.)

Once you get them home, you'll need to peel and seed your chilis. It's usually easier to do it before you tossing them into the freezer. While you're running water in the sink, detach the chili's stem and rinse off the seeds and last bits of charred skin. Perfection isn't necessary here, some darkened flecks of skin in my opinion add smoke to chili verde sauce.

Freeze them in small pint bags. A couple of bags will produce a nice pot of chili, like this:

Vegan Chili Verde Sauce

Adapted from the Rancho de Chimayo Cookbook

2 cups chopped, fire-roasted green chilis

I Tbs olive oil

1/2 onion chopped

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups chopped, fire-roasted green chilis

1 medium potato, chopped and peeled

4 cups vegetable broth

2 tomatoes, chopped

Salt and pepper

Directions: Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until soft. Add the chili, potato, tomatoes and broth. Cook for 20 minutes or until the potato is soft. Puree about a one-third of the sauce in a blender or using an immersion blender. Season.

Serve with fresh tortillas.

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