It’s August, which means that the New Mexico chile harvest is right around the corner. The best comes from Hatch, New Mexico! Therefore, I thought it was high time that I did a round up of my authentic Hatch chile recipes. Not that you need an excuse to eat lots of the stuff but, did you know that chile is considered a super food? It is rich in vitamins A and C. It helps to reduce cholesterol and increases your metabolism so it may help you lose weight. It also helps to reduce the chances of developing type II diabetes. The thing I love the most about it is that it is not just hot, (it actually can run from very mild to hotter than blue blazes) it is full of warm spicy flavor. So here we go, my Hatch chile recipes both green and red.
Most popular, I think is my Authentic Green Chile Stew. Remember, this recipe is from a native New Mexican. I think I made this the first time in college. It features ground beef, potatoes and green chiles in a warm, deep flavored broth. My twist is a bit of plain yogurt to soften and mellow the flavors a bit. Now for those of you that don’t care for yogurt, trust me on this, you will still like it. You could substitute sour cream but the yogurt is way lower in fat.
Next is my Green Chile Sauce. This salsa or sauce for us New Mexicans is akin to catsup for everyone else. It goes on just about everything. Eggs, burritos, burgers, fish, vegetables. The list goes on. I use it in a bunch of my New Mexico Cuisine. Make up a batch on the weekend and then use it throughout the week. This is a cooked salsa with green chile and tomatoes seasoned with garlic, oregano and a touch of cilantro. I use it to slather on New Mexico Huevos Rancheros, in my New Mexico Frittata, Flo’s Tortilla Soup (made in the slow cooker) and it’s essential to my Calabacitas.
Green chile is a classic in corn bread and one of these days I’ll get that recipe done. However, I love Green Chile Cheese Scones. A hint of sweetness, a bit of heat from the green chile, and a touch of savory cheddar cheese. Sit down to one of these on a Sunday Morning with a cup of coffee or tea. Yum! I have also been known to use them instead of a regular bun with hamburgers.
So, there is the green chile, but when you allow them to ripen and then dry, you have New Mexican Red Chile. It usually is not quite as hot as the green. The flavor is more mellow. It is warm and smokey and almost sweet. This red chile is the base for red enchilada sauce. Now, I am a bit lazy when it come to this making this sauce. There are so many great versions of it on the market. The most authentic sauce I know of is Santa Fe Ole. But hang on to your hat, it is HOT. My go to sauce is the “Hatch” brand Red Enchilada Sauce. You can get it in most grocery stores. Use it for easy peasy Spicy Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken or Posole, a traditional New Mexican hominy stew.
Now I have said this before, you can used canned green chiles, but they don’t come close to the flavor of fresh roasted or frozen. I’m just say’n. If you can’t make it to the annual Hatch Chile Festival, you can order chiles directly from the chile capital of the world. Is it worth it? For those of you die hard foodies and chile aficionados, I finally made the pilgrimage to Hatch last year to see if the chiles produced down there really were better than anywhere else in New Mexico. In my opinion, the answer is YES! And, you can mail order them and roast them yourself. It’s an all day project. Roast them, peel them and then freeze them. They will last a year. The flavor is unmatched.
Last year I bought mine directly from the farmer and had him roast them right there for me. While they were still hot, he put them in a big plastic bag so they could steam on the way home. Now the trunk of the car smelled like roasted chiles for a while, but is that a bad thing? For those of you that can’t make the trip, here is a link for the Ten Best Places to Buy Green Chile.
If that all sounds like way too much work, you can get really good green chile roasted peeled, seeded and frozen through Amazon. There are also a growing number of grocery chains that carry frozen chile. The most common brand is Bueno and it is very good. If you ask, you might be pleasantly surprised that they will order it in for you if they don’t already carry it. Come September there are also more and more enterprising folks that buy a trailer load and haul it north along with a roaster, so look for them starting in September or October.
I think that fall is my favorite season. Cooler weather, leaves turning and the smell of fresh roasted chile in the air. Ahhhhhh.