Sometimes I am sent something so unique it requires some creative thought to really do it justice. Hatch Chiles from New Mexico were just that. This year Melissa’s Produce sent me these scary green guys that send most people into a frenzy at this time of year. I am undeniably attracted to them, but afraid their heat will fry my tender insides.
Now I can embrace their heat because I’ve discovered the Mild Hatch chile. This chile has all the complex flavor yet none of the extreme firepower of their stronger cousins. Thank you Lord, (since I am a spicy chile wimp).
Authentic Hatch Chiles are named after the original growing area in Hatch, New Mexico a small town 85 miles north of El Paso, TX. It is said that the intense sunlight and cool nights in the valley result in a uniquely flavored chile, that I think when roasted tastes intensely smoky and edgy green.
They’re in most grocery stores or you can order them online by CLICKING HERE. Don’t delay as they will be gone by mid September.
These distinctive peppers are the simplest to use, because once roasted they willingly shed their outerwear so they can be redressed in a variety of ways.
Some local grocery stores are roasting them in large barrels over fire in their parking lots. This is great if you don’t want to roast them yourself. For dates and locations of Hatch Chile Roasting’s for 2014 CLICK HERE
D.I.Y. roasted Hatch Chiles is simple. Lay them out on a baking sheet & broil for about 5 minutes per side.
Place them in a paper bag for 20 minutes to sweat, then slip off the peel with your fingers.
I wanted to do something special with these chiles and thought I would give them a French twist. Why French?
Since the early 1500s, the French have been part of New Mexico’s culinary past and French ancestry is quite common there. Families with French ancestry abound in New Mexico. So today I am creating a new cuisine, I call it “Nouvelle Mexi-Nuevo French Fusion”. I expect this, by the way, to be the next culinary trend and buzzword.
The vegetables can be made in advance to help cut down on the time. Once your vegetables are cooked, mix them together with the cheese.
Roll the pastry into a 12×14-inch rectangle. Cut the rectangle in half lengthwise to form two 6×14-inch rectangles. Place one of the dough rectangles onto the parchment-lined baking sheet.
Brush with beaten egg, pierce all over with a fork, and bake for 10 minutes until lightly golden and slightly risen.
Lightly dust the remaining piece of puff pastry with flour and then gently fold it in half lengthwise; don’t crease the fold. Using a sharp knife, cut 1-1/2-inch-long slashes at 1-inch intervals along the folded side of the dough; leave at least a 1-inch border on the remaining three sides.
Pile the filling onto the partly-cooked base leaving a 1-inch border. Brush the border with a little beaten egg and carefully lay the uncooked pastry, atop the filling on one side, then unfold it to completely cover the filling, pressing down the edges to seal. Glaze top with a little more egg and bake for 30-35 minutes until the pastry is golden, risen and cooked through.
Watch this closely at the end as it can burn quickly.
You will be rewarded with this impressive dish that is a wonderful main course for Meatless Monday or your vegetarian guests.
- 4 mild (or hot) Hatch Green Chiles, roasted, peeled and chopped
- 1 medium butternut squash, chopped into small chunks (12 ounces/340 grams)
- 4 garlic cloves, unpeeled and smashed
- salt & pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 6 ounces (170 grams) mushrooms, chopped
- 4 ounces (114 grams) goat cheese, crumbled
- ½ teaspoon ground Hatch Chile pepper (omit if you are using hot green chiles)
- 1 sheet frozen packaged puff pastry, thawed
- 1 egg, beaten
- Position an oven rack 4 to 6 inches below the heating element of your broiler and preheat to high or 450°F. Arrange the Hatch Chiles in a single layer on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet.
- Place the chiles under the broiler and roast until the skin is charred and blistered, about 5 minutes. Using tongs, flip the chiles over and broil on the other side until the skin is charred and blistered, about 5 minutes.
- Place chiles in a paper sack or plastic food-storage bag, close it tight and let the chiles steam for 20 minutes. Take the chiles out of the bag and rub off the skin. Remove seeds and stems and dice.
- Heat oven to 400°F. Toss the squash in a roasting pan with the garlic. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil and season well. Roast for 30 minutes or until soft and starting to brown. Flip squash over after 15 minutes. Remove and squeeze the garlic out of its skin, mash and gently mix with the squash, set aside to cool.
- Heat remaining oil in a small pan and fry the onion until soft and lightly golden. Add the mushroom and fry for 3-4 minutes more. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a large bowl stir in goat cheese, ground Hatch Chile pepper, Hatch Chiles, onions, mushrooms and squash. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F.
- Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment. In a small bowl, make an egg wash by beating one egg with 1 tablespoon of water.
- Unfold the puff pastry dough on a floured surface. With a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 12x14-inch rectangle. Cut the rectangle in half lengthwise to form two 6x14-inch rectangles. Place one of the dough rectangles onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush with beaten egg, pierce all over with a fork, and bake for 10 minutes until lightly golden and slightly risen. (Save the remaining egg wash.)
- Lightly dust the remaining piece of puff pastry with flour and then gently fold it in half lengthwise; don’t crease the fold. Using a sharp knife, cut 1-1/2-inch-long slashes at 1-inch intervals along the folded side of the dough; leave at least a 1-inch border on the remaining three sides.
- Pile the filling onto the partly-cooked base leaving a 1 inch border. Brush the border with a little beaten egg and carefully lay the uncooked pastry atop the filling on one side, then unfold it to completely cover the filling, pressing down the edges to seal. Glaze top with a little more egg and bake for 30- 35 minutes until the pastry is golden, risen and cooked through.
- Cut into slices and serve.
Hatch Chiles and vegetables can be made a day in advance.
You can substitute Anaheim, Banana Wax or Poblano peppers if you don't have Hatch Chiles in your area.
If you need more Hatch Chile inspiration, there is a whole cookbook dedicated to this unique pepper. CLICK HERE to order.
I challenge you to leave your comfort zone and try these chiles, but you’ll have to hurry as their season ends in mid-September.
This year I stayed in my comfort zone with the mild Hatch Chiles; next year I just might try the hot variety. I figure I’ve got twelve months to wrap my head around that searingly spicy idea!
… and then, she paused for thought.