- Posted September 5, 2013 by
Sherman Oaks, California
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Photo essays: Your stories in pictures
It's Time to get your Hatch On!
Hatch chile's that is...but you better hurry, the season is almost over. I first heard about these gems about a year ago by a regular blogger over at Eatocracy, RichardHead (I know, but he's really a nice guy). I thought these green chiles would be similar to Poblano or Anaheim that we have here in Southern Californian, but I would soon be proved wrong...
So when I found myself in Austin, TX two weeks ago at a local Mexican restaurant for lunch that had a sign proudly proclaiming it Hatch Chile Season, I couldn't resist. I love me some green chiles! I ordered one of their three specials in honor of the Hatch season, a lime-pepper marinated chicken breast covered with jack cheese and sitting in a pool of luscious Hatch chile sauce. YUM I was surprised that the chile sauce had a completely different taste to it than any other green chile sauce I've tried in all my years!, and it was delicious!
I returned home and immediately searched for all things Hatch Chile, I had to find these and make wonderful things in my kitchen with them... I found out that Hatch chiles are not a variety of pepper, but are grown in the Hatch Valley in New Mexico known for its fertile soil and ideal growing conditions for peppers or "chiles" which get their water from the famed Rio Grande River. I also learned that they have a very short season, running from mid to late August through early to mid September.
My obsession kicked in for the quest to find fresh Hatch chiles! In my search on the internets, I found Melissa's Produce touting the qualities of the Hatch chiles, providing recipes, and where to find fresh roasting events across the country, with one in my area the next Saturday. I think I heard angels sing... I started my Hatch chile adventure at the Gelson's Market in Sherman Oaks, CA last Saturday and found that Melissa's Produce was the one sponsoring this event and the people there could not have been more friendly and helpful! I was delighted to be among the growing crowd watching the fresh roasting, tasting the samples they had out, and picking up a cook book and some free recipes they were handing out. I picked up one 3 lb. container of fresh roasted Hatch chiles and proceeded inside to pay and head home to start cooking, but surely 3 lbs could not be enough, so I picked up another 3 lbs inside.
My long three day weekend began with prepping and cooking up my prized new chiles. I had to start with the peeling, seeding, and deveining of the chiles and ignored the instructions to use gloves. After all, these are 'mild' green chiles, how bad could it be? It was bad, very bad. After about four hours of prepping my newly acquired gems, my fingertips began to burn, really burn. I conceded and decided to bag up and freeze about half of them to avoid further damage to my digits.
My first dish was a tried and true recipe for quiche I've been making for years, but instead of green onions, I added my fresh diced Hatch. It was wonderful, and had an unexpected kick at the end from the heat of the pepper...when my husband went back for thirds, I knew it was a winner. The next day I made a green chile sauce using one of the recipes from the Hatch cook book I had picked up from the roasting event to go with tequila-lime marinated grilled chicken tacos, sooo good. Next up, on Monday, was another favorite, grilled turkey burgers, but this time with the fresh roasted Hatch, an excellent addition if I may say so.
If you are feeling adventurous and have a love of green chiles, you really should give the Hatch chiles a try, but hurry as the season is almost over or you will have to wait for next year to try these! Myself, I have plenty in the freezer to last me until next season. Enjoy!