Ode to Hatch Green Chiles

April 16th, 2009
by: Blue

Hatch green chile of mine,  you are so divine
Grown in Hatch, New Mexico, by way of a vine.
You’re planted in Spring, and harvested in Fall
To find you at harvest, if I had to, I’d crawl.

You grace my enchiladas, queso and salsa
My soups and pasta; lots of dishes in mi casa.
Hatch green chiles, my chiles, mi corazón
Why are you elusive, can I grow you at home?

Alas,  in Hatch, New Mexico magic is grown
The chiles grown here can’t be duplicated at home.
Grown in rich river-sediment soil and cool Rio Grande water
As long as I have you, other chiles don’t matter.

Oh Hatch green chiles, please, never leave me
To you I’m addicted, I’m devoted to thee.

On Hatch Green Chiles:
The culinary holy trinity in Blue and Sue’s house is Hatch green chiles, onion, and garlic.  Yes, we are fans.  Justifiably?  Absolutely, ask any chef. And just one comment about my silly little poem – you CAN duplicate Hatch green chiles at home.  As long as you live in Hatch, New Mexico, that is.  As for the rest of us, we have to be dedicated and devoted fans with the determination to keep them on hand year-round.

Once a year in the fall (around August), Hatch green chiles make an appearance at my local grocery stores (HEB and Central Market).  Sue also finds them around this time of year in her local grocery store in West Texas (United).  While they are there, they can be purchased fresh in the produce section.  But the BEST thing about their appearance in August is when there are huge roasters outside the store, where they roast the fresh peppers on site and on demand.  The wonderful aroma of the roasting chiles is amazing, and calls to my soul.  I prefer buying them roasted in mass quantities because they are much easier to peel when they have been frozen after the roasting,  plus I love the convenience of pulling the real deal out of my freezer whenever I want.    And, face it, I really don’t want to have to roast my own chiles unless I have too.  Last year I bought two cases, about 40 pounds, and froze them (8 or so peppers per quart freezer bag).  For now, I still have some in my freezer, and if I’m lucky my supply will last until August 2009 when I will be able to purchase more.  If they don’t last, I will buy three cases next time.

When I lived in Mississippi, my local groceries did not ever carry fresh or roasted Hatch green chiles.  I was sad.  Actually the state of mexican food overall is sad in Mississippi. Tortillas have a shelf life of 12 months there.  What a crime! My birthday gift to myself every year or so while I lived there was ordering Hatch green chiles online, here is one resource. There are tons of other places on the internet that you could order them from, just do a google search on “hatch green chiles”.  Again, I am addicted, which is obvious since bearing the expense of ordering them online was a far better choice for me than not having them at all.

On acceptable substitutes for roasted Hatch green chiles:
1.  Blue and Sue can find frozen, chopped Hatch green chiles in the freezer section of the grocery.  Albuquerque Tortilla Company is one company that has hot and mild green chiles.  You can order them online if you can’t find them in your grocery.

2.  Buy fresh anaheim green chiles and roast them yourself.  Anaheim chiles are not exactly the same as Hatch chiles but they are a passable substitute.  You can roast them over the open flame of your stovetop gas burner. Hold the pepper with a tong over the flame, turn, turn, turn -  until the chile is blackened on all sides.  Or you can roast them under the broiler in the oven.  Set broiler to high, roast the peppers on the highest oven rack, turn the peppers occasionally until all sides are blackened.  Once the peppers are lovely and blackened place them (still hot) in a ziploc bag.  Seal the bag, wrap the bag in a towel and let sit until cool.  When they are cool you can freeze them – or simply immediately peel the blackened skin off the peppers in order to bless one of your recipes with their presence.

3.  Canned green chiles by Hatch Chile Company  are pretty good.  I actually recommend their entire line of products, ranging from various enchilada sauces, to peppers, to diced tomatoes with green chiles.

4.  My absolute last choice as a substitute for Hatch green chiles would be canned green chiles made by any company besides Hatch Chile Company.

One Response to “Ode to Hatch Green Chiles”

  1. grue on April 18, 2009 4:44 pm

    That is what I call News I Can Use. Thanks for all the info – I love Hatch chiles too.

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