Green Chile Stew

by Lazy Dave on March 8, 2009

Some friends were bragging about real New Mexican green chile stew a while back, and I’ve been looking for a way to make it vegan and brag-worthy. Starting with every damned chile stew recipe on the Net (like this one), I replaced a few ingredients for reasons of availability, on-handedness, and/or laziness, and came up with a pretty good stew. I can’t compare it to the original, but I’m happy (and full) with the results.

Food4Less sells some good-looking Anaheim chiles for cheap (I think my recent ones were under a buck a pound), but you can find them at most grocery stores for 2-3 dollars a pound. 

  • about a pound of diced, thinly sliced, or chopped chicken, pork, or turkey flavored seitan
  • a medium potato or a can of potatoes, diced
  • a can of tomatoes with chiles (Hatch or Rotel for me)
  • a can of Mexi-corn (corn with peppers)
  • two pounds of Anaheim or New Mexico chile peppers (oven roasted, method below)
  • 1 habanero pepper
  • 1 orange rocoto pepper (or a couple of serrano or other hot ones)
  • 1-2 shallots or 1 small onion
  • 1 t garlic powder or a couple cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 t onion powder
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1 t Mexican oregano
  • 1 vegan “chicken” bouillon cube
  • a couple cups of water or broth
  1. Blend all the peppers. Yeah, I puree ’em. Sue me.
  2. Throw everything into the crock pot. 
  3. Stew on High for 2-4 hours or Low for the whole day. Warning: your house will smell amazing.
Serve with Spanish rice, refried or black beans, and your fave tortillas.
Method: Oven-roasting chiles
If you, like me, lack a grill or a fire pit or a blowtorch or a blast furnace or any other thing that makes big fire, you can roast your Anaheim or New Mexico green chiles in the oven kinda easily. 
Fire it up to 450 degrees F or so, lay out the washed chiles on an ungreased cookie sheet in a single layer, set the top rack as high as the oven allows, and cook for 5-10 minutes, peeking after 5 and being careful not to burn ’em. 
I also flip them at the 5-minute mark, but I’m not sure whether that helps. They should blister a lot and brown a little, and you might get some blackening on the stems. As long as the skins aren’t black, you’re OK.
When you’re happy with the blistering or nervous that you’ll burn the peppers, drop the peppers in a paper or plastic bag, seal, and let ’em sweat for 20 minutes to an hour, even a couple of hours if you like. 
At this point, you have a couple of options. Both options include rubber/latex/nitrile gloves, unless you hate your eyes and/or genitals enough to play pepper-pain Russian roulette with yourself the next time you touch yourself.
If you’re as lazy as I am: 
  1. chop off the stems, 
  2. peel off the loose skin, 
  3. halve the peppers lengthwise, 
  4. throw away the seeds and loose membranes, 
  5. and blend/puree the flesh. 
If you’re as industrious as one of those 50-somethings who come back to school, actually do all the homework, and bring home-baked cookies to class three times a week, you can do the PAIN-IN-THE-(adults only) method. For this one:
  1. chop off the stems,
  2. peel off the loose skin,
  3. halve the peppers lengthwise,
  4. throw away the seeds,
  5. cut out and discard the membranes,
  6. use a knife or spoon to peel the pepper flesh away from all remaining skin (a process which will take the rest of your life if you do it right and you’ll waste a lot of pepper flesh),
  7. and chop/dice the (pathetically small lumps of) flesh (that survive).
Since I’m not that interested in biting into mushy pepper chunks, the puree method is parfait. Purists will hate me; I will not care. It turns this dish from an hour-plus labor into a 30-minute meal (20 of that is waiting for the peppers to sweat) that’s doable in the morning before work and ready when you get home. 

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