A traditional New Mexican dish known as Green Chile Stew has influences from both Native Americans and the foreign invaders that settled the area. The Spaniards brought beef and lamb to the table and the indigenous peoples contributed green chile and potato. As a result, this culinary truce can still be enjoyed today. Green Chile Stew is an easy dish to make although it does take time. I have a few shortcuts that I believe don’t take away too from the original cooking methods of this historic stew. I have included notes on how to make it the traditional way for your edification.
Why I Like This Dish
It only has six ingredients, is easy to make (although there is a long cooking time involved) and my husband LOVES it.
I took some shortcuts to tailor this recipe to how I like to cook in my own kitchen. I roasted the veggies and meat under a broiler instead of browning them in a pot. I used a sheet pan lined with foil for easier clean-up.
I did it this way for two reasons. First, I didn’t have to do this in batches in a soup pot which is an active process. With the sheet pan method I could do other prep while the food was browning. Second, it’s easier to brown food that way. As long as the food has a thin layer with space in between the meat cubes, it doesn’t steam and browns instead.
Another shortcut I used was to use canned green chilies that have already been roasted and peeled. I know how to roast chilies and peel them but it’s not my favorite thing to do. I believe doing it yourself yields a smokier and fresher flavor but not enough to justify this method on days when I just want to hit the easy button. Today I just wanted to hit the easy button, in addition I wanted to try canned chilies. This was a first time for me.
For authenticity, use New Mexican green chilies, Hatch is a well-known variety but there are other cultivars. You will have to read the labels to find out.
To roast your own fresh chilis simply char them under a broiler and turn often. Alternatively you can roast them in a cast iron skill, on a BBQ grill or over an open flame. I have also done this on an electric hob. After the chilis have a nice char on them, place them in a plastic bag to ‘sweat’ for 30 minutes. Remove and scrape off the skins with a spoon or crumbled up piece of foil, remove stems (and seeds if you like), and you are ready to go.
How To Make This Stew
- Cut meat and veggies.
- Char under broiler on foil-lined baking sheet.
- Put all of the ingredients in a large soup pot.
- Simmer until all is tender.
- Garnish as desired.
If you are making your own broth, you will need to check out this post on How to Make Broth. It also gives you clues as to when homemade broth is a must or if you can get away with store bought broth.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RED AND GREEN CHILE? – Green chile is the fresh, ripe fruit of the plant Capsaicin Annum. The red Chile is the same fruit that has been left on the plant longer. As the fruit further matures, the skin binds to the flesh of the fruit, making it difficult or impossible to peel. The green chile has more herbal notes and the red is more fruity.
CAN YOU MAKE THIS VEGETARIAN? – You can make Green Chile Stew vegetarian by substituting the meat for a vegetarian protein such as chickpeas, black beans, lentils or pinto beans as these will hold their shape the best.
If you are passionate about this dish because of a favorite memory or just love to cook this, let me know about it. I live vicariously through all of the wonderful stories I come across.
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