Tag Archives: green chiles


The journey begins at home, they say, so after writing about my search for the perfect green chile cheeseburger, it only seemed fair that I write about my version. It is based on my observations over the years. It is what I like, so I make no claims for its being in the “best” category, and I certainly would not think of entering it in any contest. I will leave that to the pros.

The first essential is roasted green chiles. You can buy them canned or frozen, but in New Mexico this is green chile season, so there are roasters at the farmers market, and farmers from Hatch and Chimayo (Hatch’s chief competitor) bring gunny sacks filled with green chiles along with roasting cages and butane burners to parking lots all over the city. They will roast as many as you want, and then it is up to you to peel them, cook with them, and put them up for the winter ahead.

Alternatively, you can roast the few that you need for a recipe at home. There are lots of ways to do that: you can roast them under the broiler in your oven; you can use your outdoor grill. The problem with that is that the wonderful roasting smell will draw neighbors and even strangers to your back yard; you can roast chiles over a gas flame; but my favorite way is to use a chile roasting grill that I purchased years ago at the Santa Fe School of Cooking. I like it so much that I have given many of them to friends on my gift list.

The second essential is to have a tasty melting cheese. Asadero is my favorite, but mozzarella, Monterey jack, cheddar, Emmental, or even Gruyère will also work. The important thing is to make sure that whatever cheese you use, the finished product is as gooey as you can make it.

The third essential is the bun, You should use the very best quality bun you can find. Kaiser rolls are good. Hamburger buns in the cello wraps are not good, but if that is all you can find, it will have to do.

Finally, of course, the most essential ingredient is the meat. I use ground beef with 93% lean, but whatever your favorite might be – from 85% to ground sirloin –  will work. You should plan on anywhere from 4 to 8 ounces of meat per burger. I do a couple of things that are considered heretical. First, I incorporate seasoning – salt, pepper, red pepper if you wish – into the meat. With burgers that big, I don’t think salt or pepper can find their way into the middle and the finished burger tastes bland. Second, that means you will have to mix the meat lightly before you shape the burgers. Just try hard not to compress the meat too much. Third, frying the burger in a cast-iron pan or on a flat grill yields a texture that is tastier to me than from a grill

One tool that helps a lot, especially if you make half-pound burgers, is an instant-read probe thermometer. It will take 7-10 minutes or longer on each side to get the right doneness, and the old thumb-pressure trick may not work as well as you are used to with steaks and smaller burgers. Here are some temperature suggestions: Rare – 130°F (54 °C); Medium-Rare – 135°F (57 °C); Medium – 145°F (63°C); Well Done – 150°f ( 66°C).  IMPORTANT: If you are worried about possible risks with undercooked ground beef, cook longer and adjust your temperature accordingly.

Sauce and extras like thick slices of onion and tomatoes, pickles, and lettuce are your option.


  • 2 – 4 fresh Hatch green chiles
  • 2 teaspoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons ketchup
  • 2 -4 good-quality hamburger buns
  • butter
  • 1 pound 93% fresh ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 – 4 slices asadero cheese


  1. Heat the roasting grill until the screen turns bright red. Place the fresh chiles on the grill, turning them frequently until all sides are evenly charred. Remove from the heat and place in a zippered plastic bag. Allow them to cool. Then, under running water, peel away the charred skin. If you have roasted the chiles evenly, the skin should pull away easily. Remove the stems, slit one side, and remove seeds and ribs. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise, mustard, and ketchup together.
  3. Butter both halves of the hamburger buns and toast on a dry, hot skillet.  Spread both tops and bottoms with the mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup mixture. Set aside.
  4. Combine the meat with salt, pepper and optional cayenne. Gently divide into 2 or 4 equal portions. Press into patties about the same size as the buns.
  5. Heat a cast-iron skilled over high heat. When it smokes slightly, add the hamburger patties. Sauté on one side for 7 to 10 minutes. Turn and sauté the other side. Check the temperature with your instant-read probe thermometer.
  6. About 2 minutes before you are ready to finish the hamburgers, top each with 1-2 roasted green chiles, a generous slice of asadero cheese, and the top half of a hamburger bun. Check the temperature again.
  7. Transfer the burgers and toppings to the bottoms of the buns and serve immediately.
  8. Have available sliced onions, tomatoes, pickles,  other condiments, and sides of your choice – potato chips, French fires, potato salad, etc., etc.


Filed under Food, Photography, Recipes


It is the custom in the US South to eat black-eyed peas and cabbage on New Year’s Day, one for good luck and one for wealth. Some believe that not to eat these dishes will result in the opposite effect, bad luck and poverty.

Our family lived in Louisiana to get into the custom, even though we didn’t really believe the superstition. The habit has persisted even though we have lived outside the South for many years. There must be lots of other former Southern citizens in our Southwest community, because canned and frozen black-eyed peas are always sold out days before New Year’s Eve.

There are many versions of cooked black-eyed peas which qualify as good luck charms the New Year: Hoppin’ John, Texas caviar, black-eyed pea vinaigrette, and plain ol’ Southern black-eyes. The following recipe borrows from all of those classics. Likewise, the cabbage dish is an update of plain old boiled cabbage.

It may be too late for you to get your protection for 2013, but hold onto the recipes for next year. In the meantime, HAPPY NEW YEAR!



Good-Luck Black-Eyed Peas


  • 3 strips bacon
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 pound dried black-eyed peas
  • water for cooking peas
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chiles
  • 3 ounces Canadian bacon, large dice
  • 1  teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 or more dashes Tabasco sauce


  • Fry the bacon in a small pan over medium heat until crisp. Drain the bacon on paper towels and transfer the bacon drippings to a heavy-bottomed soup pot.
  • Over medium heat, put the chopped onion in the soup pot, cover, and sweat for 5 minutes until translucent and softened
  • Add the peas and enough water to completely cover the peas. Bring to the boil and then reduce to the simmer, covered, for 1½ to 2 hours or until the peas are tender.
  • Add the bell pepper, celery, tomatoes, and green chiles. Stir in the Canadian bacon.  Continue to simmer for 30 minutes more or until the tomatoes are cooked down.
  • Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and Tabasco
  • Serve in wide-brimmed soup bowls.

Braised Napa Cabbage, Red Onions and Mushrooms with Dilled Greek Yogurt


  • 1 small napa cabbage cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 medium red onion sliced in thin crosswise rounds
  • 6 cremeni mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup minced dill fronds


  • Combine the cabbage, onion, mushrooms, chicken stock, wine, salt, and pepper in an oven-proof covered pan
  • Over medium-high flame, bring the pan to a boil, cover, and then transfer to the middle of an oven pre-heated to 250°F
  • Braise the vegetables for 60 minutes or until they are tender. Check frequently, and add water if needed
  • In the meantime, combine the yogurt and dill in a small bowl. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.  Chill in the refrigerator while the vegetables are braising to bring out the dill flavor.
  • Drain the cooked vegetables and serve with yogurt SAUCE.

If you wish, serve the black-eyed peas with cooked rice, along with cornbread on the side for dipping.


Filed under Food, Photography, Recipes