This is a recipe for a Green Chile Chicken Sandwich made with Pueblo chile peppers. A hearty spicy sandwich topped with beautiful roasted chiles and creamy melted Muenster cheese. My inspiration for this chicken sandwich came from my recent visit to the Pueblo Chile Festival.
Pueblo Chile Festival
Last month, I was honored to be asked to be a celebrity judge at the Pueblo Loaf ‘n Jug Chile and Frijoles Festival. Along with ten other discerning chile loving critics, we carefully tasted our way through a dozen or so samplings each of Green Chili, Red Chili and Salsa from Pueblo’s finest Mexican Restaurants.
A cracker or two and a sip of milk here and there to cleanse the palate, and we successfully graded some of the best Pueblo chile laden dishes.
The competition was a kick-off to Saturday’s Pueblo Chile Festival, an annual event occurring on the third weekend after Labor day. Which coincidently also lands smack dab in the middle of the Pueblo Chile harvest.
The festival averages 140,000 people over three days and let me tell you, it’s a grand celebration of all things related to Pueblo chile peppers.
The city of Pueblo transforms their historic downtown area into a chile Mardi Gras worthy celebration to pay homage to two of Pueblo’s best-loved crops: green chilies‚ particularly Pueblo Chiles and “frijoles,” or Pinto Beans.
Hundreds of street vendors offer food from Pueblo restaurants, chile food products, chile knick-knacks, chile ristras, chile t-shirts…chiles, chiles, chiles.
Colorado Pueblo Chile Pepper
The Pueblo chile is the most famous chile of Southern Colorado. Its pungency ranges between 5,000 and 20,000 Scoville Heat Units, the measurement method used to rank chile heat. Pueblo chilies are comparable in heat to moderate jalapeno peppers, and are usually a little warmer than cayenne peppers.
The growing conditions in Southeastern Colorado make for some of the best chile available. Hot, dry, sunny summer days, combined with our rich soils and pure Colorado Rocky Mountain water yield some of the hottest and most flavorful chilies. Watch out for the little ones – they’ve been tortured the most and are the hottest.
Of course the main attractions were the huge chile roasting booths manned by Musso Farms. It’s reported that $50,000 worth of chile peppers are sold at the festival.
Colorado Pueblo Chile vs. New Mexico Hatch Chile Pepper
The Pueblo chile is known as mirasol — “facing the sun” — and is different from others since it grows reaching for the sun, rather than hanging down. And compared to New Mexico Hatch Chile, a Pueblo Chile is bigger, meatier and hotter. And I’m here to say has a more notable chile flavor.
Hatch green chiles are grown in the Hatch Valley in New Mexico about 500 miles to the South of Pueblo. Each state believes that their unique growing conditions yield the better tasting pepper, but this is a debate that may never be laid to rest, since flavors depend so much on personal preference.
I came home with a bushel of roasted Pueblo Chile and look forward to many recipes made with my new freezer stash of Pueblo Chiles.
My first creation with my new peppers was this Pueblo Chile Chicken Sandwich. Shredded chicken breast is seasoned with cumin, chile powder and garlic powder, topped with cheese and built on toasted bread. The crowning glory is a nice big fat juicy Pueblo chile.
The flavor of the sandwich is very festive, cheesy and rich with spice, thanks to that chile pepper.
Choose a slice of sturdy bread that will hold up to the toasting and house those heavy ingredients.
After the bread is toasted and the sandwich built, it’s baked in the oven to melt that cheese. You can use shredded chicken meat from a rotisserie chicken, or simply bake a couple of boneless skinless chicken breasts and shred the meat. Then proceed with building this sandwich.
Tip: Slather on some Chipotle Mayo to make this an even more special sandwich.
Recipe for Pueblo Chile Chicken Sandwich
I hope you give this simple Chile Chicken Sandwich recipe a try. And if you do, please come back and let me know how you liked it and give the recipe a star rating.
Your feedback is valuable to me for developing future recipes. And if you have a favorite easy recipe using Pueblo chile peppers, let me know, I’d love to give it a try.
And if you’ve got a stash of Chile Peppers in the freezer, you owe it to yourself to make a batch of Green Chile Colorado Style.
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Pueblo Chile Chicken Sandwich
- 8 slices sturdy rustic bread or hoagie buns
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast cooked, shredded
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon red chile powder Pueblo, Ancho, or New Mexico
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 green onions chopped
- 4 Pueblo chile peppers roasted, peeled, seeded and veins removed
- 6 ounces Muenster cheese or Enchilada, or Pepper Jack
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread. In a hot skillet stove top, place each slice of bread in a large fry pan (or griddle) and toast each slice on the buttered side. Set aside.
- In the same skillet, spray the pan with cooking spray over medium heat. Add the shredded chicken, sprinkle with all the spices and stir until warm all over.
- Divide the shredded chicken among the four slices of toasted bread. Top each chicken sandwich with a roasted chile and 1/4th of the cheese.
- Place the four remaining slices of bread, toasted side up, on top and bake 5 – 10 minutes or until hot and cheese is melted. Serve hot.
Pueblo Chile Chicken Sandwich … It’s What’s for Dinner
Why Trust These Recipes? Lea Ann Brown has lived, worked and played in Colorado for 45 years. She has immersed herself in the Colorado Culinary space, is a Culinary School Graduate and publishes her Colorado food Blog, Cooking On The Ranch.