PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Hatch chile season is usually from August to early September every year. The chiles come from a region of New Mexico known as the Hatch Valley region. Hatch chiles are a big deal around the country specifically in the more southern states including Arizona.
In Arizona, you can find them at grocery stores like Sprouts, Trader Joe's, Fry's, Safeway, and so forth. Yet, one of the best places to find them is at a farmer's market. Often times, you will be able to smell them a mile away because at least one vendor has them spinning in a roaster. They may even offering them up fresh.
How to make hatch chile guacamole from scratch
Who doesn't love a good guacamole? All the tomatoes, avocados, lime, cilantro coming together to an amazing burst of taste. Some like it with no spice and some like to add more than enough spice. Adding roasted hatch chiles to it, mild or medium or hot, takes guacamole to a level you didn't realize was possible. It gives it this rustic and savory flavor that will make you not want your guac any other way after this.
Some people would say hatch chile season is even better than pumpkin spice season because there is a southwestern craze to it. You can find everything from salsas, chicken, sausages, corn bread, stew, soup, and popcorn. You name it and you got it; the possibilities are endless.
One of the most popular ways to use hatch chiles is in salsa like other peppers such as jalapenos to give your onions and tomatoes a little bit of spice. It can be used roasted or used raw. But roasting would take your salsa game to the next level by adding a little smoky flavor.
Hatch chiles come in three varieties for the most part - mild, medium, and hot - depending on your level of heat. So if you can handle some spice, the hot variety might be up your alley.
Other traditional dishes and treats include enchiladas, chile rellenos, corn bread, salsas, stew, and more.
Make hatch chile relleno casserole just like the kind you get at a restaurant
Chile relleno is a very popular Mexican dish where a green chile is stuffed with minced meats and cheeses. Then it's battered and fried and rests in a sauce before devouring it. It has been made into different variations depending on the culture, restaurant, and families but the idea has always been the same. This recipe is a bit different. It takes the idea of the chile relleno but takes out the batter/frying part to be a bit healthier.
How to pick them:
- When you head to the store to get some hatch chiles, you will want them to be right green.
- The skins should be smooth.
- Make sure they are firm. If the chiles are older, you will notice a wrinkle or two and they will be a bit squishier.
How to roast them in your oven:
- Pre-heat the oven to about 400 degrees. If you have a broiler, you can use that instead.
- Place foil on a pan and spray it. Then place the chiles on the pan.
- It takes about 6 to 8 minutes depending on your oven to roast them. If you want a more even color, you can flip it at the halfway mark.
- You will notice the skin of the chile get blistery and turning a brownish color.
How to grill:
- To make it on the grill, depends a lot on what type of grill you have. What you will want to do it turn it to medium-hot.
- Place either the chiles straight on the grill of a grill basket.
- Place the chiles side by side so each one can be exposed to the flame.
- You will start noticing a black, blistery appearance. Once you do, turn the chiles until it's on all sides. Then they are done.
- Once they are, take them off the grill, let them cool on a plate or tray.
- Then peel the chiles.
How to peel:
- Wait to peel to the chiles have cooled down a bit.
- Then you can remove the skin slowly with a knife or peeler.
- Like other spices, make sure when handling that you don't touch your eyes.
- You will also want to remove the seeds and stem too.
How to freeze:
For most people, hatch chile season, which runs from mid-August to early September, isn't enough time to consume all the flavors and dish offerings. Many choose to either jar or freeze the chiles to have access to them all year long.
- Once you roast them either in the oven or the grill, and you have peeled the skins, seeds, and stem, you can cut the remainder of the chile.
- Then place in either a Ziploc bag or Foodsaver bags. Then tend to last a bit longer in Foodsaver bags for roughly a year to year and a half. Ziploc bags they are good for about four to six months.
- Make sure the air is out of the bags before placing in the freezer.