If there’s one thing you learn while growing up in a latino household, it’s how to roast chiles.
Roasting chiles is common, not just in Mexican cooking but also in Guatemalan. A lot of traditional dishes (like pepian!) include roasted or grilled tomatoes, red peppers and onions. Our salsa even includes grilled tomatoes. It’s amazing. It helps the chiles release all the flavors, and is surprisingly quick and easy.
Remember a while back, Melissa’s Produce sent me one of their produce boxes to try out and with it I made some lettuce wrap burgers? Well, they were also kind enough to send me an enormous box of hatch chiles (they also have a cool looking Hatch Chile Cookbook in case that interests you. I haven’t seen it but I like the idea of lots of chiles!.
I’m going to be honest. I had never eaten a hatch chile before, but I was up to the challenge of experimenting with them. I’ve seen hatch chiles a lot on the blogosphere lately, so clearly they’re becoming more common. But since I had never tried them, I did a bit of research.
Hatch Chiles are from New Mexico. This is exciting because I just started watching Breaking Bad and all of a sudden New Mexico is the coolest (err most intense?) place in America. Clearly, I was excited to give these a try.
One of the first things to do before enjoying these chiles is to roast them. While roasting is not necessarily required (aka you won’t die if you eat it raw), roasting helps them taste amazing, so why not give it a try?
If you’ve never roasted a chile before (and you can do this with any type of chile: poblano, bell pepper, anaheim, etc), here’s a bit of a step by step on how.
How to Roast Hatch Chiles
Put them in a pan without any oil. Turn the heat on to high. Let them hang out there for a few minutes. Once they start to blister, rotate them and let them sit a little longer. Now it is a good idea to turn on your hood fan if you have one, or open all your windows and potentially turn off your smoke alarm because these babies smoke…
Ha! That meme makes me laugh. Once you got them good and blackened all around, you’re ready to move on. Also FYI, you can do this on the grill outside to avoid the smoke and smell (even though I think it smells great. Embrace the chile.) The idea is just to blacken them all around so the skin is practically falling off, like so:
Put them in a plastic bag and close it up.
I know. That’s a little ghetto. But if you live in a latino household you know that plastic bags are the way to go. (Note: they’re also a great way to steam tamales and keep tortillas warm… clearly we’re not worried about chemicals because everyone does it. BPA who?)
But if you’re worried about hot plastic, use a brown paper bag. The idea is to let the peppers sweat so the skin comes off easily. Let them chill in the bag for about 15 minutes or until they’re cool enough to handle.
Then, take them out of the bag and peel. The skin will come off easily. Slice them in half, remove the tops and scrape out the seeds with a spoon and discard. I recommend using gloves for this. I didn’t and my hands were burning the rest of the night (granted I roasted and peeled about 30 chiles so I wasn’t messing around).
Once your chiles are peeled and seeded, they are ready to use!
At this point, you can store them in the fridge or freezer in an airtight container until you’re ready to use them. Or you can heat up some tortillas and queso fresco and enjoy right away!
Confession: Jesse and I had this for dinner twice.
Seriously. Tortilla + Roasted Hatch Chile + Queso Fresco + Avocado and a bit of salt. Delicious.
Hatch chiles are a good spice level for me. Less spicy than a jalapeno (with the seeds removed) but full of flavor! If you’re worried about the spice level, mixing them with cheese, cream or sour cream will help bring down the heat level.
I have a few more recipes to come using Hatch Chiles. I can’t wait to 1. take pics and tell you about it and 2. eat the delicousness that is to come. Stay tuned for the goodness!
Have you tried Hatch Chiles before? What’s your favorite way to enjoy them?