To make that stew and other chile staples, look no further than chef Michelle Roetzer, who teaches at the Santa Fe School of Cooking and Santa Fe Community College.
A native of El Paso, Roetzer
has been cooking chile since her
childhood, and she
, like Romero, considers chile an extension of Southwestern culture.
"Growing up in the Southwest, there's always a bowl of salsa on the table," Roetzer
Taking cues from family, Roetzer
culinary education by watching her
grandmother cook chile in her
"Some of my best memories in my life are in that kitchen with her
grandmother's red chile sauce is still part of her
Red chile, too, is also one of the sauces students learn to make during the cooking school's Chile Amor classes, which are held several times a month.
"One of the things we want students to learn is how not to be afraid of making red chile with pods," Roetzer
"There's no comparison when making red chile from pods."
For the sauce, Roetzer
begins by sautéing dried red chile pods with onions and garlic until fragrant and aromatic.
then adds a liquid, either chicken stock or water, and simmers the pods they're tender.
Finally, using a blender, she
purées the chile mixture in batches and then strains it.
"To me, that's the flavor of home," she
Before making green-chile sauce, Roetzer
said people first need to know how to correctly roast and peel fresh chile.
For home cooks, that begins with blistering fresh pods over high heat on a stovetop roaster.
When the chile is evenly blackened - not ashy - and becomes aromatic, it's ready to be encased in a Ziploc bag, or other similar bag that will trap steam, which will loosen the peels.
After sitting a few minutes, Roetzer
said, the peels should come off with little resistance.
If not, she
recommends wiping the skins off with paper towels, but not rinsing the roasted chile under running water, which would cause the chile to lose its flavor.
"If you wash chile, you might as well be eating canned," she