The Goodness of Hatch Chiles
Hatch chiles – those chiles that are grown only in the valley along the Rio Grande River near the small town of Hatch, New Mexico and make their appearance each year only in the months of August and September – are on the menu tonight.
You might be wondering how that is possible since it is February now, and Hatch chiles are only harvested in August and September. Well, there’s an easy answer to that.
As the song says, Love will find a way… People love the flavor of Hatch chiles so much that they have found a way to package and preserve the chiles so that they can be enjoyed year-round.
“Our frozen hatch green chile is the best way to stock up on delicious, authentic New Mexican green chile. We do all the hard work for you (roasting, peeling, and packaging) then flash freeze it to ensure your produce stays fresh and ready to use for as long as you need. You’ll find that our frozen hatch green chile is just as tasty as our fresh products but twice as convenient!”
The Hatch Chile Store uses the traditional New Mexican method of flame roasting the chiles and peeling them by hand. Then the chiles are vacuum-sealed in 2.5 lbs. batches in freezer bags and flash frozen, guaranteeing the quality and freshness of the one and only Hatch chile.
You might recall that I wrote about Hatch chiles last August and September. I stumbled upon a huge sale at Whole Foods in Metairie, LA, and I stocked up on the chiles. Over the following week, my family both loved and hated me. It was all delicious, but they may have thought that I went overboard with all the Hatch chile dishes that I prepared. Two of those recipes made it to CatholicFoodie.com: Hatch Chile Chicken Tortilla Soup and Cream of Hatch Chile Soup with Corn, Tomatoes, and Sausage.
It was because of those recipes that Preston Mitchell of The Hatch Chile Store in Hatch, New Mexico contacted me a few weeks ago. He asked if he could send me some samples of the flash frozen Hatch chiles that he ships year-round. He just wanted my honest opinion about them. I was under no obligation to write or post anything about his chiles. But, guess what. I am writing about them because I was very impressed.
When it comes to produce, I believe that fresh is always best. However – and we see this particularly with a short-lived crop like Hatch chiles – sometimes fresh is impossible. And, depending on the intended use, fresh is not always best.
I’ll give you an example. My wife and I love to roll Lebanese Grape Leaves, and we get our leaves from my mother-in-law’s grape vine. Typically, if you are going to use fresh leaves, you need to blanch them first in boiling water. But we don’t like to do that. Instead, we clean the leaves, remove the stems, and roll them in plastic wrap in groups of 20 leaves. The process of freezing and then thawing the leaves blanches them. When we thaw 80 to 100 leaves, at whatever time of the year, they are perfectly blanched and ready for use.
It’s the same with these flash frozen Hatch chiles. Preston sent me a couple of different types. whole and chopped… and hot and medium.
I used the whole chiles for this recipe, and everybody loved it!
What’s a Frittata?
I guess I was just in the mood to make something with eggs and milk. A frittata is Italian in origin. It’s egg-based, and it is much like an omelet.
This particular frittata can be thought of as Hatch chile and chorizo “lasagne” of sorts… with the addition of eggs and milk. There are repeated layers in the pan of Hatch chiles, chorizo sausage (without the casing), and cheddar cheese. Once the layers are complete, a mixture of milk, eggs, and seasonings is added to the pan. Then the pan is baked until the mixture cooks through and the top is golden brown and bubbly.
Chorizo and Hatch Chile Frittata Recipe
- 12 Hatch chiles, roasted, peeled, and seeded
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- ½ bunch green onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes
- 1.5 lbs. chorizo sausage, without the casing
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup milk
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet on medium heat and add coconut oil. Sauté onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to sauté for another minute. Add the diced tomatoes and chorizo and cook thoroughly. Since the sausage is loose, you will need to use a spoon or spatula to break of the sausage. You want it to cook evenly. Sometimes, chorizo can be overly greasy. If this is the case, then you can drain the grease. Once the chorizo is cooked, set the mixture aside.
- In a glass mixing bowl whisk the eggs and add the milk. Season with salt, pepper, paprika, and chile powder. Set aside.
- Cut the hatch chiles in half lengthwise and place a layer of chiles on the bottom of a deep skillet (I used my 10 inch All Clad skillet). Add an even layer of the chorizo on top of the chiles. Add an even layer of shredded cheddar cheese on top of the chorizo. Repeat these layers until you are out of ingredients or out of room in the skillet.
- Pour the seasoned egg/milk mixture over the top of the layers of chiles, chorizo and cheese. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the eggs are set and the top is golden brown.