Roasting Time: Green Chile on Approach - NBC Southern California

Roasting Time: Green Chile on Approach

The hot stuff grown in Hatch, New Mexico is making its fiery way to Southern California.



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    Dig this flavorful icon? Need it in your freezer all winter long? Green chile is now making its fiery way to Southern California. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

    State-based humor is a sassy staple of social media, the "You Know You're From XYZ State When..."-type humor and cartoons.

    And while Southern California has several -- "You Know You're From SoCal When You Check the Freeways Before the Weather" -- just about everyone, whether they hail from the Land of Enchantment or not, understands the ol' "You Know You're From New Mexico When You Hang Out in Grocery Store Parking Lots in August" bit.

    Why? Because that's when the exquisite, hard-to-define scent of roasting green chile fills the air and, as an immediate result, grateful noses.

    And while the majority of SoCal grocery stores do not roast chile, a few do, knowing that many Californians, whether they've called New Mexico home or not, are crazy for the grown-in-Hatch fruit, one of the fieriest, most flavorful substances on the planet.

    One of the best-known Southern California purveyors of Hatch, New Mexico chile is El Rey Farms, which sets up shop -- and several busy roasters -- in the parking lot of La Puente High School over a few Saturdays in August and September.

    El Rey has been at this for nearly a half century, since 1970, and they're on top of their green chile game. The peppers arrive in different levels of heat and they go, go, go as heat-seeking locals look to fill up their freezers for cold-weather cooking.

    Enchiladas? Green chile stew? Posole? Yes please, to all of the above.

    A number of Ralph's grocery stores, from San Juan Capistrano to Pasadena, also set up the roasters when late August arrives, so check with the store near you to see if they'll be chile-ing up their parking lots.

    Albertson's, Bristol Farms, and Gelson's have also roasted chile in past years, at select locations, but given the ever-widening profile of Hatch chile, "select locations" may continue to grow.

    Just remember: Water can stoke the flame feeling you're feeling in your mouth after a bit chile bite.

    Best eat something a bit flatter and doughier, like a tortilla chip, while you wait for that sweet  intense heat to pass. There's nothing quite like it, and there's nothing like the scent of chile wafting out of a grocery store parking lot laden with roasters on an August morning. 

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