Oh yes, it’s that time of year…Hatch Chile Season is here! It’s wonderful to walk into the market and be greeted with the sight of beautiful green gems that are only grown in Hatch. New Mexico. Their distinctive flavor adds flair (and heat!) to any dish! The season – from August until mid-to-late September – goes by very quickly; once they’re gone, they’re gone until next summer..that means it’s time to stock up!
As always, the wonderful people at Melissa’s Produce have scheduled Hatch Chile roasting events across the country and if you have one happening in your neighborhood you won’t want to miss it! Not only do you get to experience the fun of seeing the chiles roasting in huge drums over a fire, you’ll be able to taste and purchase a variety of products made with Hatch Chiles. From cornbread to sushi, mild to extra-hot, your tastebuds won’t be bored.
Every season I learn something new about Hatch Chiles. Did you know there are currently more than 75 varieties grown in Hatch, New Mexico? Here are some of the most common at each heat level, with a nice comparison from the resident authority at Melissa’s Produce to help you choose the best chile for your recipes:
Mild Hatch Chiles: common varieties are the NuMex 20 and 6-4s; heat level compares to Anaheim and poblano chiles.
Medium Hatch Chiles: most common is the Big Jim; heat level compares to milder jalapeno peppers.
Hot Hatch Chiles: common varieties are Lumbre and Sundia; heat level compares to hotter jalapeno peppers.
Extra-Hot Hatch Chiles (for the extra brave): most common is the Barker; heat level compares to Serrano chiles.
If you don’t have a roasting event in your area, not to worry ~ it’s very easy to roast Hatch Chiles at home. Last year I roasted a boxful of mild and medium chiles in the oven, then peeled and froze them in portions so they were at the ready to add to salsas, sandwiches and more. A couple of important notes: do be prepared for your house to smell of roasting chiles, which, while delicious, can be very strong depending on the heat level of your chiles. You’ll want to have your windows open and fans on if you can. Secondly – I strongly recommend that you don’t skip this step: wear kitchen gloves (I always do) when working with any chiles (even mild ones); the capsaicin, which is what makes chiles hot, will irritate your skin and eyes, and it does not rinse off with water.
Just as I learn something new about Hatch Chiles each year, I also find new recipes to use them in. I’ve made White Chicken Chili, hummus, pizza and salsa, Tangerine Hatch Chile Hummus, and Harvest Hatch Chile Relleno Bake. I’ve chopped them up for salads and eggs, layered slices on grilled sandwiches and cheeseburgers and more…they’re incredibly versatile!
My first new recipe this year is a Hatch Chile Compound Butter that is just delicious. I’ve already made it twice, with Melissa’s Produce Organic Green Beans and then again with green beans served alongside seared pork chops basted with the butter.
It couldn’t be simpler to put together – mix softened unsalted butter with chopped Hatch Chiles, Kosher salt, pepper, lemon zest and juice, chives, and a little bit of Melissa’s Produce Hatch Chile Powder for extra flavor and zip!
(By the way, have you tried the Hatch Chile powders? They’re wonderful, and Melissa’s has introduced Green Hatch Chile Powder this year, made from chiles that are dried when green.
You can smell and taste the difference; both red and green are delicious, so use whichever makes your taste buds happy!)
Turn the butter mixture out onto a piece of waxed paper.
Fold the top of the paper over the butter and shape into a log.
Place one hand over the top of the log and use the other to grasp the other edge of the paper. Gently pull the edge of the paper away from you while at the same time pulling the log of butter toward you. The idea is to get a solid log of butter that you’ll be able to slice easily when it’s chilled.
Twist the ends of the paper (like a candy wrapper) and refrigerate until it’s firm. Now you’re ready to mix it into blanched and grilled or sauteed/charred green beans tossed with chopped cilantro and Cotija Cheese.
Baste it over seared pork chops or a nice steak. This would also be fantastic on grilled/charred corn, asparagus and tomatoes; over roasted vegetables, on a fresh warm piece of bread or inside a grilled cheese sandwich…the list of uses for Hatch Chile Compound Butter is getting really long really fast!
Ready for even more recipes and info on Hatch Chiles? Visit Melissa’s Produce website…and Melissa’s Produce YouTube channel ~ Happy Hatch Chile Season and enjoy, y’all!
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 2-3 roasted Hatch Chiles*, peeled, seeded and chopped (or pureed into a paste in a food processor)
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Freshly cracked pepper, to taste
- Zest of one medium lemon
- 1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ¼ tsp. Hatch Chile powder (mild)
- ⅛ tsp. Hatch Chile powder (hot)
- 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
- 2 Tbsp. snipped chives
- 2 Tbsp. minced shallot
- Try your favorite add-ins and herbs for different flavor profiles – tarragon, thyme, oregano, sun-dried tomatoes. Adjust the amount of chile powder to suit your heat preferences.
- With a spatula, mix together the butter, Hatch Chiles, lemon zest and any add-ins you’re using, until smooth and combined. Add a teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper and mix and taste; add more to taste. You can also add more chiles or any of the other ingredients to your taste.
- Turn butter out onto a sheet of wax paper. Fold the top of the paper over the butter and shape into a log. With right hand over the top of the paper and left hand holding the opposite end, pull the butter toward you with your right hand while pulling the wax paper in the opposite direction with your left. The idea is to get a solid, even log of butter. Twist the ends to seal the butter log and place in the refrigerator.
- When ready to use, slice the butter into rounds and toss with blanched and grilled green beans, corn or asparagus or roasted vegetables; top with crumbled Cotija Cheese and parsley/cilantro.
- Top grilled or seared steaks, fish, or pork chops with a slice of Hatch Chile Butter
- Toss with grilled or oven-roasted shrimp.
- Spread on a slice of warm homemade bread and top with cheese.
- Spread inside a grilled cheese sandwich.
*Hatch Chiles are available in mild, medium, hot and extra-hot heat levels. Choose your favorite – or use a mixture for a nice heat and flavor balance. Purchase your Hatch Chiles fresh and roast them yourself or join in the fun of a full-on Hatch Chile celebration with Melissa’s Produce. Check here for 2017 nationwide dates and times!
Disclaimer: Melissa’s Produce provided the Hatch Chile products and green beans for the recipe development in this post. I was not compensated in any other way, and all opinions are my own.