Red Hot Chili Peppers

bag of roasted chiliesI don’t know what possessed me, but last week I went to my favorite farmer’s market to buy some tomatoes, and left with some tomatoes and a half-bushel of roasted green chilies.

Now, that is remarkable only in that in the past 10 years, I’ll bet I have only made green chili five times. That means once every two years. A half bushel. What was I thinking?

But I walked into the market and the smell of green chilies being roasted hit me like Mohammad Ali hit Joe Frazier. Float like a butterfly; sting like a bee. There is absolutely nothing that smells as good to me as the smell of chilies being roasted. And I grew up in a bakery. Cinnamon rolls fresh out of the oven is a close second.

The chilies were sold by the bushel or the half bushel. Nothing smaller. “Did you ask?” my sister Jen quizzed me, also puzzled by my extreme purchase. Nope. I’m a rule follower.kris holding pepper

The problem with buying a half bushel of roasted chilies is that then a) you have to get them home; and b) you have to clean them.

(A) isn’t so bad because, well, see above. I LOVE the smell of roasted green chilies. I will admit to you, however, that my little yellow bug still has the lingering smell of green chilies, and it’s been five days. But, see above, so I don’t mind. The grandkids wrinkled their nose a bit, however. But they’re used to Nana’s eccentricities so they let it go. When I made a comment yesterday, Kaiya said, “But Nana, it smells good.” Ah, a girl after my own heart.

(B), however, is another story. They simply must be cleaned. And if you’re going to clean any, you might as well clean them all and be done with it. Now, if you read my sister Jen’s blog post from last week, she referred to the job of cleaning roasted chilies sink full of pepper skinsas “ghastly.” I have to disagree with that assessment. I actually find that I fairly enjoy cleaning them. If the chilies are roasted correctly, the charred skin should simply slide off. Then you just open them up, discard the stem, scrape out the seeds with your gloved hand, and rinse. Boom.

And the chilies I purchased were roasted perfectly, so the charred skins slid off like a snake shedding its skin. The problem was in the sheer number of chilies. I filled 16 little quart bags with cleaned chilies just awaiting a visit to the “green chili hot tub.”

My back hurt from bending over the sink for what turned into a two-hour job.

But once it was done and I had my 16 little bags of chilies, I divided them up – four bags for Jen (who actually DOES make green chili), four bags for our son Court (who actually DOES make green chili), and eight bags for me cleaned chilies 2(who actually only makes green chili once every two years. But I paid for them and cleaned them, so get over it.)

As I’ve done every time I have purchased roasted green chilies, I vow that I am going to make green chili more often. It’s not rocket science, and both Bill and I LOVE good green chili. This time I mean it.

No, I really do.


My niece Maggie has begun to take over her mom’s role of being the preparer-of-all-food-Mexican. And the thing is, she actually has Mexican ancestry instead of only Swiss and Polish.

Here is Maggie’s recipe for green chili.

Chili Verde Con Cerdo (Green Chili with Pork)courtesy


2-3 lbs pork roast

2 T. cooking oil, lard, or bacon grease

1 large onion, chopped

1 head garlic, minced

6 T. flour

1 15-oz. can tomatoes, drained

2 c. diced green chilies

3 large tomatillos, husks removed and coarsely chopped (optional)

2-4 t. jalapenos (optional, depending on heat of green chilies)

5 c. water or chicken broth.

2 T. ground cumin (or to taste)

2 T. chili powder (or to taste) (optional)

1 t. salt


Simmer roast in a large pan until meat is tender and removes from the bone easily. (You can also use diced pork, or pork cube steaks cut to bite size pieces, browned in the pot with the onion and garlic before adding the rest of the ingredients).

Cool meat enough to handle. Cube cooked pork into bite size pieces.

Process half of the green chilies until smooth.

Add onions and garlic; sauté until tender but not brown. Stir flour into the onion, garlic and fat until flour absorbs the oil or fat. Add broth or water. Cook and stir until mixture comes to boil and is slightly thickened.

Add cubed meat, drained tomatoes, chopped tomatillos, all of the green chilies and jalapeños if desired (taste first). Add the spices a little at a time until you get the taste you like, bringing to a simmer before each addition.

Simmer for at least 1 hour (longer if you can afford the time), stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

If you want more of a stew type chili, add cubed potatoes 20 minutes before serving; serve with warm tortillas.

Nana’s Notes: Maggie cooks her pork shoulder in the crockpot instead of on the stove top. The meat is always very tender and her chili is delicious.

9 thoughts on “Red Hot Chili Peppers

  1. I think Maggie’s green chili recipe is the tastiest in the universe! Don’t skip the tomatillos. They add an excellent flavor.
    Kris, I also add about a third of a bag to chili soup when I make that. And the chilies stay good in the freezer for several years so you are off the hook for 2015. Thank you for sharing with me!

    • Last night I put 3 or 4 on top of my hamburger. Yum. Thanks for telling me to use the tomatillos. I wasn’t sure if Maggie used them. I love their flavor.

  2. When you asked me to give you my chili recipe this weekend it inspired me to make some. I dug out the last of my chilies and used 2 bags because I wanted it spicy. It had great flavor but not enough spice for me. My fellow dinner guests (wimpy 1,2,3,&4) said it was awesome and they loved it without the spice. Mark, my gringo husband, even said this was something he would order at a restaurant! When are you coming back to AZ so I can make “normal” people some green chili? Plus maybe you can share your abundance of green chilies:)

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