One of the most wonderful things about Southwestern US cuisine, are Chiles. Beautiful, wonderful chiles. From the heat of the serrano to the mildness of the poblano, there is something for everyone. If you live in the US, especially in the Southwest, you are sure to have seen Hatch Chiles in grocery stores around this time of the year. These wonderful chiles come from New Mexico and have a very short season – late August to early September. They get their name from Hatch Valley in New Mexico, where they are grown. Ranging from mild to hotter-than-a-hot-jalapeno, they have a wonderful flavor that is enhanced by roasting.
You can do a search on recipes for Hatch Chiles and I will post a recipe soon. Suffice to say though, you can use them in place of Bell Peppers in most Southwestern recipes among other things.As I mentioned before, the season for these chiles is short and it is now. This is your opportunity to get them, roast them and then freeze them. You can enjoy them the rest of the year. So with that in mind, I went to buy some at my local grocery store.
My local store, like many others, was selling chiles both raw and roasted. Tempted though I was, to buy the pre-roasted variety, the cheap Desi (financially astute person of South-East Asian origin aka people from Southeast Asia that have a hard time parting with a dollar) in me rebelled against the markup of having somebody else do the roasting for you. Plus roasting is easy as you will see. So I bought a pound of Hatch Chilis and roasted them at home. Haven’t quite decided what to do with them yet but I will figure something out. Right now, they sleep with the veggie dogs in the freezer.
HOW TO ROAST HATCH CHILIS (OR ANY OTHER TYPE OF CHILI)
1. Using a high flame on a stovetop, put a few chilis on the flame and turn them around periodically till they start to blacken and blister.
2. Make sure you turn the chiles around to have uniform blistering.
3. Put them in a ziploc bag and close it. You can use a bowl covered with cling wrap as well.
4. Let the peppers sweat for a while till they cool down.
5. At this point the burnt skin will be very easy to peel off by hand and you are done.
6. Use the chiles for cooking. NOTE: Add the seeds if you want more heat in the cooking or leave them out if you want just the flavor.