What Does 3000 Pounds of Chiles Look Like?

That is what I was wondering. So I headed to the Decatur Square on Saturday, October 1 to find out. THE SQUARE PUB was having “The First Annual Green Chile Roast” to celebrate their first anniversary of being in business. Owners, Jason Wiles and Bob Rhein made a 1,506 mile road trip to Hatch, New Mexico to pickup 3,000 pounds of Hatch green chiles and a big ol’ chile roaster so they could spend the weekend roasting chiles and celebrating making it through a year. The answer to the question — it looks like a ton of burlap bags full — piled inside the pub and spilling out onto the sidewalk.

Here’s Bob (left) and Jason (right) in New Mexico picking up their pounds of Hatch green chiles.

The question I asked was, “How long would it take to roast that many green chiles?” It didn’t seem to matter much that Saturday. Everyone (including me) was having fun at the festival. Jason and Bob were manning the chile roaster and getting anyone with a strong arm roped into helping turn the crank on the gas-fueled, open-air roaster. It was a beautiful fall day for the festival – the mariachi band was in full voice, the unbelievably wonderful aroma of the roasting chiles was wafting through the cool autumn air, the beer was cold, and the kicked up food was sensational. People were stopped dead in their tracks by the great smell. I left happy but didn’t find out the answer to my question until days later. After starting the chile roasting on Friday night at 5 pm, the last batch was finished on Tuesday at 9 pm.

Here are Bob and Jason turning the crank on the roaster
A batch is done, ready to be stemmed, peeled, and piled on top of a cheeseburger.

So here is another question. “What are they going to do with all those chiles?” Bob says that green chiles have been a central part of their menu since they opened their doors. Bob was a former resident of New Mexico and got hooked on the unique flavor of the green chiles. These green chiles that they roasted right outside their restaurant door will add authentic flavor to everything from appetizers to entrees. Some of the chile-forward dishes on the menu like the green chile cheese tots, the green chile cheeseburger, the Frito pie, green chile chicken enchiladas, or chicken tamales will taste even better now.

I bought 5 lbs. of those wonderful roasted peppers and have already used up about half of them. When my batch runs out, guess where I’ll be? Answer – at THE SQUARE PUB ordering something with green chiles covering it.


About mickeybaskett

It wouldn’t be prudent to disclose the number of years Mickey Baskett has been writing, editing, and producing art, craft, and lifestyle do-it-yourself books -- just know that she was intimately involved with Mac-rame in the day. The beginning of her love affair with food started when she was nine years old and manifested itself in the form of a casserole. Her published cookbook, Gourmet Garnishes, is proof of that long and loving relationship. The constantly evolving food scene in Decatur is fodder for her musings.
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