Green Chile Gougeres

by Min Merrell

Green Chile Gougeres (Goo JAIR) are my New Mexico version of the classic French cheese puff.  Usually made with gruyere cheese, these decadent, and actually very easy to make little puffs are the customary accompaniment to celebratory champagne.  Add a New Mexico touch and you’ll want to serve them with your favorite craft beer.  In a lovely glass, of course. Or, even better serve them with that fabulous sparkling wine from New Mexico from the Gruet Winery in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The first time we had Gruet was about ten years ago in South County, Rhode Island, of all places.  A wine friend just happened to be pouring it before dinner.  I almost fell out of my chair when I found out it was from New Mexico. Since then, the winery has grown and garnered quite a bit of really good press.  Here’s a great story in the New York Times about the Gruet family.  Sister and brother Nathalie and Laurent Gruet moved to New Mexico from the Champagne region of France about 30 years ago and have found the rugged New Mexico landscape, warm days and cool nights, quite conducive to growing grapes and making sparkling wine. Who knew!  It didn’t happen overnight, though it seems like it when we started seeing Gruet everywhere, even Nashville. R.B. and I serve it proudly every time we need sparkling and always surprise folks with it’s origin.  And it’s very affordable. I imagine the Gruet family would love these Green Chile Gougeres.  They’ve probably been making their own version for years.

Gougeres are made with choux pastry, the same eggy batter used for eclairs. You have to boil water and butter, add flour and then beat in lots of eggs. Add the cheese last.  It turns into a sticky paste that many choose to neatly pipe onto a baking sheet, but I prefer to just scoop out blobs with two spoons.  They still look terrific.  The batter can be made ahead and scooped out and baked just before guests arrive.  Nothing better than a spicy, hot little bite with a glass of bubbly, beer, or cocktail. 

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