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√ Hatch Chiles

it's Hatch Chile time here again in North Texas. I have never tried these chiles. How do you serve them? Are they real hot?

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  1. This probably will get moved to the Home Cooking Board, but here is a link to an article in the Houston Chronicle today and it's all about hatch chiles:


    1. They are not hot....when roasted they have a wonderful rounded pepper taste. There are two versions of the same chile green (fresh) or red (matured or dried). There are only two types of sauce made in New Mexico and there is heated debate over which is the best. They are also sold year round canned under the Hatch label (available at most well stocked grocery stores).

      You typically serve them in a gravy like consistency over whatever you like

      1 Reply
      1. re: LewisvilleHounder

        Okay so I will retract that they are not hot (actually to my tastebuds they aren't). The heat factor of any pepper plant depends indeed on the season whether rainy, dry or long periods of drastic weather extremes. The stress of the plant is the main determination of "heat". The Scofield scale rates the New Mexico Big Jim (one of the varieties of "Hatch" chiles) as 1,000 - 1,400 Scofield units. The Hatch Chili is one or all of the following varities of chile: "Big Jim", "Joe Parker", "Sandia", and others

        Some interesting facts about the Hatch chile

        On a recent trip to Oaxaca, Mexico I took a chili piquin (70,000 - 100,000 Scofield units) right off the bush and popped it in my mouth....now that was hot!

      2. They vary widely depending on the batch. I had some last year from Whole Foods that were almost as hot as a Jalepeno. You have to taste them.

        1. From what my friends in New Mexico say the heat depends on how dry the year was the drier the year the hotter the chile.

          1. Places like Central Market usually offer a mild and a hot. The heat factor does vary from year to year, sometimes widely. Just like you sometimes buy jalapenos and they are sort of mild and sometimes they are pretty darn hot!

            1. Over the last 2 years I have bought lots of roasted hatch chiles from both Whole Foods (plano) and Central Market (dallas). I found CM's to be extremely mild, even the ones they called hot. WF hot were hot.

              This year, I picked up some hot, roasted ones from CM last weekend. They are quite hot. So, my guess is it's a good year for hatch chiles if you like spicy.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Christnp

                I picked up a container of hot, roasted hatch chiles at CM yesterday and they were just mildly spicy, so I think we won't be able to determine the spicyness of this year's batch so easily.

                I think in general you can be assured that those labeled mild will not be hot, but those labeled hot are a gamble.

              2. fyi....Central Market has a hatch's chili bread in their bakery that is delicious.

                2 Replies
                1. re: tlegray

                  I tasted a Hatch Brownie at CM yesterday...

                  1. re: speyerer

                    This is odd to me. I like hatch chiles, but for something like that there's so many more interesting chiles to choose from.

                    i think of them as a cheaper step-up from bell peppers.

                2. Best way to serve them is to make a green chile sauce and put it in and on everything from pork stew to eggs to enchiladas to, well, maybe not vanilla ice cream, but... Or stuff them and make chiles rellenos. Or just use strips of them in quesadillas or burritos or whatever.

                  As to whether they're hot, nobody (including most of the sellers) bothers to distinuish between Sandia chiles, which are most common and are very mild, and the half-dozen or more varieties that are also grown in the Hatch valley, and which can range from medium to quite spicy (serrano spicy, not habanero spicy). If you go to the big festival in Hatch next weekend, you can talk to the growers and ask what variety they're growing. Sandias are the mildest; the next hottest are R Nakys, then 6-4s, then Joe Parkers, then Big Jims, which are a little milder than a jalapeno. After that there's a pretty big jump to Barker's Hot, which are quite picante (15k-30k scoville).

                  To add to the fun, it's nearly impossible to tell these varieties apart by looking at the fruit. So unless you have a high level of confidence in your source, it's best to taste first.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: alanbarnes

                    hi alan, i'm ready to wade in with hatch chiles. i just bought some (variety unknown) yesterday at harris teeter, and look forward to cooking them. these taste like a very, very mild jalapeño plus bell pepper. i think i'm going to stuff them with tuna and potatoes, with sri lankan spices. mr. alka is trying to re-create something from his childhood.

                    1. re: alanbarnes

                      When I used to mail-order for green chile I would get my order split half 6/4ths and half Barker's. They do indeed look similar but once roasted you could definitely tell them apart- the Barker's have a much thinner wall. They also, well, smell hotter at that point. The Barker's are great for adding some zip to your green chile stew- you can roast them separately, peel, seed and puree- then serve it in a separate bowl alongside the stew for those who like it hotter, as a mix-in.

                      1. re: TongoRad

                        Where did you mail order from?

                        1. re: MGZ

                          If you gotta know it was Old Southwest Trading Company, but they are, sadly, out of business. I really liked them, too, a real quality outfit. But I digress...

                          Sorry I can't be of assistance on that end; I haven't done mail-order in a while. Lately I have been growing my own chiles and supplementing them with Poblanos bought at local Mexican markets (although a Poblano is a very different pepper, admittedly). You may be able to find fresh Anaheims here in NJ, which are very similar (the same(?) cultivar, grown in places other than Hatch).

                          1. re: TongoRad


                            BTW - How is your chile grow season going? Worst year ever for me at the shore. I've only yeilded 5 small jalepenos from 4 plants and it doesn't look like there are more to come. Similarly disappointing results from the habaneros and cayenne.

                            1. re: MGZ

                              I only have one successful plant this year, and that's a Cayenne growing in a container on my front stoop in direct sunlight. It's only 'successful' in that it is giving me lots of peppers, though; they don't seem to be as hot as they should be. I've been using them as one would use Serranos, in guacamole, on tacos, that sort of thing, and it hasn't seemed like I'm overdoing it on the heat.

                    2. I got the Hatch Chile version of CM's pimento cheese and I thought it was hot. But, it was so good!

                      1. Year 2 drooling over this thread. Question is can I get some in NJ? Mail Order sites? Have any Central NJ 'hounds seen them?

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: MGZ

                          check your grocery stores. i'm in northern virginia.

                          1. re: alkapal

                            No Harris Teeters here and I had no luck in either Acme or Foodtown. Still have A&P and Shop Rite to try, I suppose.

                          2. re: MGZ

                            There are plenty of mail order sites. Search hatch green chile. I don't have any first hand experience with any of them, but i just did a search, and there are plenty for you to try.

                            1. re: gordeaux

                              I had seen several sites, but had no feedback on any. "Well, what the fu** - Pick one, dumbass, right? What have you got to lose (except money)?"

                              Yesterday, a priority box filled with Big Jims arrived. No inner packaging, just a box full of peppers - odd, but somehow perfect! A few pintado - mostly meaty, green goodness. Here's the source:


                              We had roasted chile burritos - just added queso fresco and a simple pico to a big scoop of the Hatch lovelies . . . Terrific stuff! A great example of how great the belly benefits when Chowhound works the way it's meant to - Thanks to all of you!

                            2. re: MGZ

                              Try the Brazilian Supermercado on Main St or the Mexican one on Ferry St. in South River and ask there.
                              The Mexican grocery at the top of Sudam St. In New Bruns.

                            3. Oh the deeeelicious things you can do with Hatch chilies:

                              Grilled Cheese sandwich with chiles
                              Top burgers, sandwiches with them in lieu of lettuce or pickles
                              Add to any burrito, breakfast burritos, migas, and scrambled eggs or omlettes
                              A Las Cruces tart - think quiche with chilies, jack and fresco cheeses
                              Add to tacos, nachos, of course enchilada's
                              Make Chiles Rellenos
                              Replace any bell pepper any place you'd like a more flavorful slightly hotter pepper option, this is especially true when you aren't crazy about bell pepper. I like to add Hatch chiles in my cajun cooking. Heresey, I know but hey, I'm not completely wild about all the bell pepper.
                              Add to soups and stews, casseroles....the list goes on and on and on.

                              As always, test the heat of the chiles before you commit to them, each chile is wonderfully unique depending on the season, the weather conditions, the location, a whole host of factors will drive how hot they are. If you have whole ones you can clean out the seeds and most all of the membranes inside to cool off the chile.

                              If you can get them freshly roasted at the grocery store, stock up and freeze them tightly wrapped in plastic and ziplock bags,blackened skin and all. Then as you need them, thaw and remove the roasted skin seeds and as much of the membrane as you need. Roasted frozen chiles beats the canned versions hands down. Have fun experiementing!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: aggiecat

                                Don't forget green chile stew -- perhaps one of the best uses of the New Mexican green chile. Onion, garlic, cumin, mexican oregano, browned chunks of pork shoulder, and some potato, and of course lots of roasted and chopped green chile.

                                I find it's best to use mild green, and lots of it, so that you get a more intense earthy flavor, then add some jalapeno or other hot chilie to get the heat right. Last time I made it, it was really hot (spicy) right after making. But the next day, the heat mellowed quite a bit, and it really was better overall.

                              2. does one need to peel the hatch pepper in every application?

                                1 Reply
                                1. last night i used just one of my hatch chilies sliced in my roasted corn custard casserole. boy, it sure was hotter than it tasted in my preliminary taste test. ;-).

                                  was it a dry growing season where they're grown? i don't know from where mine were harvested. spring here in the mid-atlantic was wet, but in july and august -- it was like the heavens shut up (until hurricane bill's drive-by yesterday) . that creates more "heat," right -- a dry growing season?

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: alkapal

                                    Chiles vary individually. In a green chile sauce, one does not notice,. I make chille rellanos w/ Hatch chiles and it is a gamble. My wife and I switch if she get a real hot one. Water and alkalinity of soil affect heat, so I am told.
                                    I got my Ma of 4 bushels of Hatch and 130 lbs of pintos at UNM.

                                    1. re: alkapal

                                      If your chiles are Hatch green chiles, they were grown in Hatch, NM.

                                      1. re: gordeaux

                                        well, that's what the grocery store called them. i wonder if it is a protected "certified" name for regional chilies, like "vidalia" for onions? i don't see that they've done that for the hatch green chiles, which i learn are a variety of anaheim peppers, mostly grown in hatch: http://www.newmexico.org/cuisine/chil...

                                        here is info on how the chimayo growers have applied for a "certification mark" with the trademark office. http://www.newmexico.org/cuisine/chil...

                                        here's an online site, for anyone interested: http://www.hatch-chile.com/default.as...

                                        1. re: gordeaux

                                          Not really. Hatch is a tiny little place. It's home to the annual chile festival, but you're going to find more growers headquartered in Deming. And no chiles to speak of are grown in either town; the fields are scattered around the Hatch and Mimbres valleys.

                                          1. re: alanbarnes

                                            Up in the Rio Grand Valley near Alb. too and as far north as Chimayo, the Holy Grail of chiles

                                        2. re: alkapal

                                          Heat level is influenced more by the variety of the pepper than by its growing conditions. An R Naky looks exactly the same as a Big Jim, but the former will always be fairly mild, while the latter will always be fairly hot. (Well, almost always. The folks at NMSU in Las Cruces keep trying to breed plants that will produce predictable results, but nature keeps throwing wild cards into the mix.)

                                          Unfortunately, employees in grocery store produce departments aren't always aware of (or don't always pay attention to) the fact that Hatch chiles come in a wide variety of heat levels. They just grab a couple of boxes from the back of the store and put the peppers out on the display. So the home cook has no idea whether the sauce on tonight's green enchiladas is going to be bell pepper mild or jalapeno spicy until just before dinner is on the table.

                                          The simple solution is to buy chiles by the case, identified by heat level or (preferably) variety. Roast 'em, wrap 'em, and freeze 'em. 50 pounds is a year's supply for my family so long as I keep my green chile cravings under control.

                                          1. re: alanbarnes

                                            Lol - I'm only at about 30 lbs a year. You must be right about the pepper names.

                                        3. this a.m., i have tingling fingers (& mostly fingertips) on my left hand (where i was holding my hatch chile for fine slicing). either i need to adjust my blood pressure meds, or that little hatch chile from yesterday did a number on me. ;-).

                                          1. i think i'm going to make some jam from the hatch green chiles and some peaches and plums. or just use the hatch green chiles to make the popular jelly (like jalapeño jelly).

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: alkapal

                                              Alkapal - you're killing me with that one.
                                              I've never really understood the draw of chile jams/jellies, but I admit, that's probably just my closed mindedness.

                                              I can't wait from my csa guy to give me that call this year when my chiles are harvested. Should be soon. I have one last freezer bag of green chile in the freezer left from last year - I've been kinda hoarding it...Maybe it's time to break it out and get it over with. Green Chile (the sauce,) crispy hash browns, over easy eggs, and a few warm corn tortillas... If I go to the good place when I pass on, that will be my regular breakfast there.
                                              That's a plate that will warm your mouth, tummy, blood, brain, and soul.

                                              1. re: gordeaux

                                                oh gordeaux, please don't let my cooking "kill" ya! some people don't like hot and sweet or fruit together, but i like the condiment with meats -- especially pork -- or with cheese on savory sandwiches (like asiago, arugula, pork loin or prosciutto, and chile-fruit jam).

                                                i intend to buy more hatch chiles today in order to roast some for a sauce, and also to make the condiment aji.

                                            2. Go to newmexicanconnection.com, I prefer pintado chiles (means painted, they were turning from green to red when picked).

                                              Hooray chiles...!!

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: ghammers

                                                All this chile talk made me go to the downstairs freezer and break out my last quart of green chile this am for breakfast. TOO good for words. warm tortillas covered with hash browns covered with eggs over easy, smothered with green chile. I do it forkless - pinching everything together with a bit of tortilla, and shoveling it in my pie hole. Heaven, I tells ya!

                                                1. re: gordeaux

                                                  >>"I do it forkless - pinching everything together with a bit of tortilla, and shoveling it in my pie hole. "<<

                                                  That's the way to do it. There's an old aphorism that "in New Mexico, we are so rich that we use a new spoon for every bite."

                                              2. Hatch, NM is one of the greatest little towns in the country. Driving through the small town is interesting this time of year...the town is busy with their chili harvesting and roasting...done right on the side of the road as you drive through.
                                                The entire town is defined by their sacred chile.
                                                I buy 20 pounds at a time, roast and blacken them and freeze them for use all year round. The chili is frozen, after roasting them, and then the skin is removed before use.
                                                I bake with them; they're a wonderful addition to chocolate chip cookies, brownies, etc.
                                                I stuff them with different cheeses and make chile rellenos and I will use them for whatever else I create.
                                                This year's crop is hot so I've made a wonderful green chile sauce....used on eggs or whatever else I can think of.
                                                Their growing season is very short and you've got to get them while they last.