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East Coaster Needs Info on Hatch Chilies

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I'll confess that I have been prowling the boards for a few days now looking for any postings on Hatch Chilies. I live in PA. I've always loved Mexican/Tex-Mex cooking, but when my daughter married into a semi-Mexican Family (Half Mexican, half German/Swiss), that ignited a real passion for the food. The past few days have been most difficult for me, what with reading about Veggo's green chile pork stew, and looking at chef chikklet's pictures of her chile rellenos. Youz guys (as we say in Philly) have fueled an OCCD (obsessive compulsive chile disorder) in me. YOU did this to me, so now your are responsible for helping me out.

When I google "Hatch Chili", I come up with any number of sources for mail order. Assuming that I cannot get them fresh in quantity here in PA , what is the best way to order them? If I go the frozen route, can I still use them to make an acceptable chile relleno? Also, I notice several varieties mentioned, like Big Jim. What is the best variety for a Hatch Chili virgin to start with? When should I mark my calendar for the 2009 crop?

Thanks in advance for your help, and my apologies if I'm bringing up something already discussed elsewhere.

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  1. Anaheim Chilis (aka Green Chilis) are probably the same chili, just not grown in Hatch New Mexico.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Alan408

      Sorry to disagree Alan, but Hatch have more flavor. One might try roasting them before rubbing off most of the burned skin and freezing. Being skinny, you can't pack in as much cheese as you can into a Poblano for rellenos. For really authoritative answers, why not send your questions to those who sell you the chilles?

      1. re: Joebob

        excellent idea to contact the sellers. I noticed that most welcome questions. This will be by winter culinary crusade: buy the chilies and work my way through the many recipes I've found here on CHOW.

      2. re: Alan408

        I wouldn't make that assumption. There are numerous cultivars of the New Mexico-type chile (e.g., Anaheim, Big Jim, 6-4, Sandia, Chimayo). As I understand it, Anaheim varieties are grown primarily in California, but varieties such as the 6-4/No. 6 and Big Jim are the primary cultivars grown in southern New Mexico.

      3. Here's a link to a thread of a couple of months ago discussing the pros & cons of fresh vs. frozen Hatch chiles and links to web sites for ordering them on line.

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/521130

        1. In 'old' Mexico, the preferred chile for rellenos is the darker green poblano, which is widely available. There's a new thread about poblanos served with a creamy nut sauce (Nogadas).

          Until you get your special order of Hatch chiles you could experiment with Anaheims, which are similar, though uniformly on the mild side. If your pork stew doesn't have enough bite, you can always add one of the small hotter varieties (jalapeno, serrano).

          1. Unless you're a real chilihead and are going to buy a 30 lb sack of fresh peppers each fall and roast and freeze your own, you'll get more consistant flavor buying cases of canned Hatches Whole Green Chilies. They'll also keep better in the pantry...