When I moved to Georgia after college, the two things that I missed the most (other than family and friends) were mountains and chile. There are mountains in north Georgia, but they are so ancient and eroded that they don’t really count to someone from one of the Rocky Mountain states. Those are hills. There is no chile available, other than the canned Old El Paso, which is wimpy if you are accustomed to the real deal. It works in a pinch, but never quite satisfies the craving for fresh roasted chile.
Like many New Mexican expatriates, I frequently had chile cravings. Friends, trying to alleviate my home sickness, would take me to their favorite Mexican restaurant. I felt obligated to compliment the food, while simultaneously pointing out that it wasn’t the same. Not even close. Several of those friends have come to visit since my return to New Mexico. Now they understand.
There are two clichés that become relevant when you move from your home turf; “out of sight, out of mind” and “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” For me, the latter was far more applicable. Absence instilled a passion for the culture, the history, the landscapes and the food. That passion became the impetus for launching New Mexico Nomad.
A Better Cure for the Common Cold
Whereas others advocate chicken noodle soup to alleviate the misery of the common cold, I recommend cream of green chile chicken soup. The green chile provides a vitamin c boost, relieves blocked sinus passages and, generally, increases sensations of well being and coziness. I normally make a double batch of this soup so I have leftovers for lunch.
You can adjust the heat by varying the amount, or type, of chile used. In California they have a similar soup using mild Anaheim peppers or Poblanos. That doesn’t have the same impact in terms of sinus release or culinary satisfaction. My preference is hot New Mexico green chile, usually Sandia or Barker. These chiles are related to the Anaheim but pack far more heat.
Green Chile Chicken Soup Recipe
- 6 Tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup flour
Melt the butter, stirring in the flour until smooth. Stir regularly to create a roux. Your roux is ready once it begins to tan and smells nutty. Add remaining ingredients.
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup half & half
- 1 cup of green chile (or peppers of some sort) to taste
- 1 cup chicken (more if you like a lot of chicken)
- Salt & Pepper to taste
Stir until smooth over medium heat for about 1/2 hour and serve.
Please leave your recipe modifications in the comments. I am a big fan of using a recipe as a baseline, modifying as I go.
If you live in an area where the only green chile available is canned, you can order outstanding frozen green chile from the Hatch Chile Store. Hatch Chile Store ships frozen red and green chile nationwide year around. They have mild to hot varieties available. Each package is 1 pound, which is approximately 2 cups.