Hatch chile season is one of the most magical seasons of all. The little green chile that could comes from New Mexico and is the backbone of so many wonderful New Mexican and Southwestern dishes. Hatch season starts at the end of summer and goes into the beginning of fall and if you’ve ever visited the Southwest, you’ve definitely seen the well deserved love for Hatch green chiles.
It’s a strangely famous pepper considering how small the growing season and region is. They’re actually just like the grapes of the Champagne region in France – if the grapes aren’t grown in Champagne, what you make from them isn’t really champagne, it’s just sparkling wine. Similarly, you can grow Hatch chiles elsewhere but if they’re not grown in the Hatch Valley of New Mexico, they’re not real Hatch chiles and they won’t taste quite the same.
What are Hatch chiles?
Hatch chiles are a green chile pepper grown in the Hatch Valley of New Mexico. They’re sweet, smoky, long green peppers that taste amazing fresh and even more delicious when roasted. Hatch chiles come in both red and green. The red Hatch chiles are chiles that have been left to ripen longer than the younger green chiles. They come in mild, medium, spicy, and x-hot varieties.
Where are Hatch chiles from?
Hatch chiles are grown in the Hatch Valley of New Mexico. If it isn’t grown in Hatch, it isn’t a Hatch chile. There are actually several varieties of green chiles grown in Hatch: Big Jim, Sandia, Barker Extra Hot, and more!
Why are Hatch chiles special?
The limited season of Hatch chiles plus the incredible flavor has turned the humble Hatch into one of the most hyped peppers in the world. The thing is, they live up to the hype! There’s just something about Hatch chiles. They’re magic – once you taste one, especially if you have a chance to taste one in New Mexico, you’ll know. As the kids like to say, iykyk.
When is Hatch chile season?
Hatch chile season is pretty short and you’ll see lots of grocery stores saying, “Hatch season is here, it’s now or next year!” Typically they harvest in August and September. When Hatch chile season comes around, it’s time to celebrate! All the grocery stores get their roasters out and roast chiles out front and the smell of roasted chiles is incredibly enticing.
What do Hatch chiles taste like?
They’re earthy, crisp, spicy, and have a bit of onion when eaten raw. When they’re roasted, they’re smoky, rich, and slightly buttery. Green chiles tend to be spicier and the red ones slightly sweeter. They have the ideal balance between heat and sweet. When they’re roasted they’re smoky, delicious heaven.
Are Hatch chiles spicy?
Hatch chiles come in mild, medium, hot, and xtra hot. They go from milder than a jalapeño to pretty darn spicy.
What can you eat with Hatch chiles?
You can enjoy Hatch chiles raw or once they’re roasted you can use them in stews, chile relleno, enchiladas, salsas, sauces, dips, on tacos, as pizza toppings, on burgers, with eggs, or with noodles. They’re incredibly versatile and add smoke, flavor, and spice.
Where to buy Hatch chiles
They sell and ship fresh chiles online! There are also whole dried hatch chiles, jarred, or canned that are available at most grocery stores or online. Sometimes they even sell them fresh for a really short window at Whole Foods or other speciality food stores. If you’re lucky enough to live in Southern California, Colorado, or Texas, you’ll probably easily find them in your local grocery store. You can also get Hatch chile powder in both red and green.
Hatch chile substitutes
If you can’t find fresh Hatch chiles you can always use any other green chile of course, but you won’t get that awesome subtly sweet spicy crisp smoky taste. A good choice would be Anaheim peppers. You can also use canned/jarred Hatch chiles.
Hatch chile recipes
Regardless of where or how you get your chiles, here are 5 recipes to make using Hatch chiles right now.
- Slow Cooked Hatch Chile Verde Stew – A warm and comforting hearty stew full of roasted Hatch chiles, tomatillos, chunks of tender pork, and onions and cilantro to brighten. Seriously so good with tortillas, stuffed in a burrito or enchiladas, or even on its own.
- Oven Baked Hot Hatch and Honey Chicken – This is a little riff on hot chicken, but New Mexico/Southwest style with hot Hatch chiles (get the “hot” variety). There’s a little bit of heat, a little bit of sweet, and a whole lot of deliciousness. Serve it up with some avocado for some extra over the top goodness.
- Easy 4 Ingredient Hatch Chile Salsa Verde – Chips and salsa here you come! You haven’t lived unless you’ve had Hatch chile salsa. It’s smoky, buttery, and so so delicious. This is a super versatile salsa – eat it with chips or use it as a topping for any sort of roasted or grilled meats.
- Green Chile Cheeseburger Fried Rice – Cheeseburger fried rice is one of the best things in the world, and green chile cheeseburgers are the best cheeseburgers, so: maybe the best fried rice in the world?
- Creamy Green Chile Mac and Cheese – Green chiles and cheese just go together like, well, mac and cheese. Smoky roasted Hatch chiles and creamy, dreamy stovetop mac are a match made in heaven.
- Double Green Chile Cheeseburger – You haven’t lived until you’ve had a green chile cheeseburger! They’re beloved in the Southwest and there’s even a green chile cheeseburger trail through New Mexico that’s sanctioned by the New Mexico tourism board.
- Green chile wontons – Green chile wontons are a thing in New Mexico, there are green chile wonton at all the Chinese food places. You can make them 2 ways: in wonton soup or deep fried with CHEESE. They’re addictive and so good.
Hatch chile season, why do you have to be so short!? I will love you forever,