About a month ago my wife Stella and I packed up our car in New England and pointed it toward the sunset. Like generations of Americans before us we are making a new life for ourselves on the frontier, though the days of covered wagons appear to be over. We aren't foraging in the woods for dinner (though Stella spent an afternoon with "Wildman" Steve doing just that), nor are we hunting wild game (a popular pastime in Colorado, it would seem).
We have dreamed of a western life for years. Pulling the trigger on a big change is not easy, especially with no solid plan of action on the other end. It's too early to say just how foolish our decision was, but the stress is real. The excitement of the decision has faded into the reality of finding an apartment and a job, both necessary, both difficult in Denver.
If you were to ask me what I thought was worth the trip, I might say seeing the Rockies from nearly any spot. Or maybe when Stella and I watched the Blood Moon Eclipse in the Garden of the Gods. But, the thing that makes all the upheaval most worth it: green chile.
For those not in the know, chile in the west doesn't mean the same thing as the "chili" I grew up with in the south. We're not talking about a tomato-y soup with kidney beans and ground beef, or whatever the hell Cincinnati has calling chili. Here chile is a green vegetable that is best when fire roasted (watch!)
Being married to a New Mexican, I have learned that green chile is used differently in certain parts of the west. For instance, Colorado is more likely to make it into a sauce, while New Mexico will use it as a vegetable. Stella says that in Colorado green chiles are an ingredient, but in New Mexico they're a dish. I'm sure I'm missing a lot of the nuance here, but however you slice it green chile is one of the best things about being here.
We've already had the pleasure of eating more chile than any person should in such a short amount of time. While my stomach may hate me for it, I have no regrets. In the end, life is too short to be in a place that doesn't grow green chile.
A few years ago, while we were living in New Haven, Stella was craving some New Mexican food. A month back she had gone out west and send back fifteen pounds of green chiles. For her birthday I made a green chile stew in the style of Cafe Pasqual's. It was delicious. Since arriving in Colorado we have made two batches. Enjoy!
Stay tuned for some more of my favorite green chile recipes.