hatch green chile

Chile Relleno you didn't...

While away on vacation, I missed one of my favorite culinary seasons...those short two weeks when Hatch green chiles are in abundance and being roasted at North Texas grocery stores. I grew up in New Mexico and have learned to love that time in August when the smell of blistered peppers saturates the air with a burnt pungency. To clarify, we did not eat New Mexican cuisine in my Kansas-white-boy-meets-Taiwan-girl influenced home on Clancy Street. Simply because my mother could not stomach anything spicy so although I lived in Albuquerque I did not partake of Hatch chiles until I left my childhood home.

And once I tried a specific Hatch dish...Chiles Rellenos...there was no going back. I'm not referring to the soggy ‘deep fried poblano stuffed with meat and cheese’ that Tex-Mex restaurants offer here in Texas. Oh no. (head wags vehemently) The dish that calls to me late at night and causes me to whisper in my mate’s ear that "we should visit our parents soon" is very different. 

Imagine a smoky, roasted Hatch chile that has been skinned, stuffed with gooey cheese, coated in a fluffy-eggy batter, deep fried until crispy then smothered in your choice of red or green chile sauce, and finally topped with shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes. Oh my goodness. It's heartburn on a platter, sometimes so spicy that your nose runs, your eyes tear and your throat burns, and yet you can't stop, won’t stop, shoveling bite after bite into your gaping mouth. And don't forget to wash it down with a Mexican cerveza con limón or maybe a Margarita on the rocks. 

On one visit to the Land of Enchantment, I endeavored to eat Chiles Rellenos as many times as possible. I will share two of these experiences with you. The first was at Sadie's, that famous 60-year old institution, known for big plates and hot, hot spicy salsa. Lunch is the best time to eat a heavy meal like Chiles Rellenos; a midday serving ensures time for an afternoon siesta before heading into evening cocktails and your supper. So we visited the Fourth Street location in the Rio Grande Valley where the lunch entree featured a single relleno served with beans and potatoes. It was a huge portion, spicy and cheesy but the chile flavor was a bit bland. I don't regret my lunch at Sadie's but I don't need to go back anytime soon.

Our second research lunch was at a relatively new restaurant, Cocina Azul. Not a member of the roster of famous New Mexican restaurants, but the online reviews were compelling so we gave it a try. It's a weird space, where chips and salsa must be ordered (most eateries, as here in Texas, automatically bring C & S to the table for your complimentary enjoyment) and the floors were sticky with decor that features tables & chairs reminiscent of those found in a Furr’s cafeteria. The bartender was also unprepared…”what? you don’t know how to make a simple margarita concocted of lime juice, tequila and cointreau?” But the rellenos. Oh the rellenos. At lunch service the chiles are a la carte, no platters offered. So I stepped out of the norm and ordered one brisket filled relleno with green sauce and one regular, cheese only, again green sauce. (I’m strictly a green-only girl, no red or Christmas style for me!) The brisket was meltingly tender and generously portioned; the sauce earthy and spicy. All of the rellenos brought to our table were A++.

We dined on the same dish at two restaurants and have not even begun to scratch the surface of the Chiles Rellenos summit. So I’ll just have to make time to go back and maybe we’ll swing up to Santa Fe to see if the offerings will differ up north? And maybe next trip we will endeavor to also sample as many fluffy sopapillas as will fit in my tummy….:)) Please share in the comments below where you have enjoyed delicious chiles rellenos on your travels!

 

Hatch here, Hatch there, a touch of Hatch everywhere...Menu for August 10-14

If you haven’t seen the chiles roasting at Central Market or caught a whiff of their warm, smoky char in the air at Market Street, you must be out of town! Tis the season for Hatch green chiles and I have looked forward to this time of year ever since the tradition started about 20 years ago. We moved away from New Mexico in 1989 and the thing I miss the most about the southwest is the abundance of and access to Hatch green chiles.
Hatch chiles represent comfort food to me. The first dish I ever crafted using this amazing pepper was Green Chile Stew. Years ago at a family reunion, a group of us took a cooking class in Santa Fe and a version of this recipe was included in the demonstration. Several of my husband’s family members and I took the recipe back to our home states (Wisconsin, Illinois, Colorado and Texas!) and tweaked it, making our own versions. i think I am the lone beef supporter as the others used chicken. If you have not tried my Green Chile Stew, put it on your bucket list. It is deep, savory and so delicious with a fried egg on top and hot flour tortilla alongside.

To be honest, I can never stock up enough on the chiles during the festival; my mother-in-law kindly replenishes my supply when either she visits Texas or we visit New Mexico. But it is nice to have a fresh supply each August. This week on my menu, I am serving the chicken version of green chile stew and the beef version in a pot pie, as well as a version of my personal favorite, Chiles Rellenos. Of course, you will have to supply your own “Red or Green?” Do you get this reference? Have a great week! 2015 Menu for Aug 10

Spice up your life a little...go green! The Hatch Menu 8/11-15/2014

I absolutely love Hatch green chile! I grew up in New Mexico, but didn’t discover this flavorful pepper until adulthood. Although I always have chiles in my freezer, they are harvested in August so when you order off my menu this week, there will be freshly roasted peppers in every bite.
To order, please use the Contact tab (or email butterfieldgourmet@gmail.com) and state which items you would like and what day you would like to pick up at the Preston Commons location. Please order by noon for pickup the following day. Pick up is from 4-6 pm, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday at 8115 Preston Rd, Suite 140, inside the Cafe Gourmet on the Go shop.

Salad:  Green salad with Greek Goddess Dressing – a light version of an old favorite that promises low-fat and low-calorie creaminess. $12/serves 2-3

Soup: Green Chile Stew - what else? Our recipe includes beef and potatoes and while it makes a hearty supper, many green chile aficionados love it in the morning with a fried egg on top! Serve with fresh flour tortillas. $20/quart serves 3. GF

Quiche: Green Chile Egg Soufflé - technically, it’s not a quiche.  It comes without a pastry shell but it is cheesy with a little green chile punch; serve with a fruit salad on the side to complete a wonderful lunch or breakfast. $20/pie GF avail.

Pot Pie: Homestyle Chicken ($25) or Southwestern Chicken (the chicken version of our green chile stew) ($25) or Green Chile Stew Pot Pie ($30) GF avail.

Entree: Pulled Pork Carnitas – although this taco filling is lacking green chile, the chipotle chiles in the marinade give it a really nice kick. So tender – I will provide the flour or corn tortillas, you add refried beans, salsa and sour cream. $30 serves 4-6. GF

Dessert: Fresh Blackberry Pie – a double-crust pie that celebrates the last berries of summer.  Serve with vanilla ice cream for tonight’s dessert and then sneak into the kitchen the next morning and have a slice for breakfast! $25/pie GF avail.

We are happy to create any of our pies and quiches with gluten-free products. Please note that we do not operate a fully gluten-free kitchen and some cross-contamination is possible.