Throughout the Southwest, you can find chile roasters: places where you can buy bulk chiles, get them roasted in big rotating barrels, and take them home, steaming, in shopping bags, to peel and freeze. Chile roasting isn’t as common in Los Angeles, but you can find it if your timing is right.

Albertsons does a few roastings as the Hatch chiles come in. “Hatch chiles are meaty and very flavorful–a more nuanced flavor than other roasted chiles,” says chez cherie. “They are kinda like San Marzano tomatoes, in that the conditions and growing expertise in Hatch make a perfect climate for growing these chiles. Like the volcanic soil in San Marzano, paired with that specific varietal of tomato make those legendary. You can grow a San Marzano type tomato elsewhere, but it won’t taste the same. Just like these chiles.”

Here’s the ritual. At Albertsons, you buy the chiles by the 30-pound sack. The roastings typically begin at 8 a.m., but people start showing up at 6 a.m. There can be almost a hundred people in line by the time the roasting starts. You may have to wait a few hours, but what you get is a bounty of fresh roasted chiles. Peel ’em, cook ’em, and freeze ’em.

Bristol Farms’ roastings let you buy the chiles in smaller quantities.

Here’s the provisional schedule for Albertsons’s roastings. Since the exact dates depend on when the Hatch chile harvest comes in, you’ll want to call to make sure the roasts are happening on schedule.

August 15-16: Albertsons Rancho Cucamonga branch, 8850 Foothill Boulevard, 909-484-7237
August 22-23: Albertsons La Habra branch, 1800 W. Whittier Boulevard, 562-697-6442
August 29-30: Albertsons Montebello branch, 2469 Via Campo Street, 323-888-2250
August 29-30: Albertsons Reseda branch, 19307 Saticoy Street, 818-772-0010

And here’s the provisional schedule for Bristol Farms. They update their schedule on their website as the time approaches.

August 22-23: Bristol Farms Long Beach branch and Beverly West branch
August 29-30: Bristol Farms Manhattan Beach branch and Valencia branch
September 5-6: Bristol Farms South Pasadena branch and Newport Beach branch

Board Link: HATCH CHILE ROASTING 2009 Please add dates

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