Need more to experiment with in the kitchen this season? If you’re in the American Southwest, you’re in luck. Since early September Hatch Chiles from New Mexico have been making their seasonal debut in farmers markets, grocery stores, and restaurant all over the region. Their season doesn’t last long, though–only until about the end of October–so get ‘em while they’re hot.
Three recipes for inspiration
Below are two recipes I have experimented with using Hatch Chiles which I bought from Bryce Farms at the Gilbert Farmers Market in Arizona. The third recipe is one my husband tried as a sauce on grilled cod.
This is a blend of two recipes: one I picked up from Bryce Farms, and the other is the cornbread recipe I use all the time from Mark Bittman.
The simplicity of using a cast iron skillet to make this cornbread is hard to beat. I plop the butter into the skillet, stick it in the preheating oven, and then, when I’ve mixed everything up, I pour the mixture into the hot skillet and let it cook in the oven. I barely have to think about it!
My preferred skillet is Le Crueset’s enameled cast iron because I don’t have to season it, but any seasoned 10-inch cast iron skillet will do the trick.
4 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups medium-grind cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups milk, more if needed
1/2 cup green chiles, peeled and chopped
1 cup cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or in an 8-inch square baking pan. Place pan in oven.
Meanwhile, combine dry ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix eggs into milk, then add the chiles and cheese. Stir this mixture into dry ingredients, combining with a few swift strokes. If mixture seems dry, add another tablespoon or two of milk.
When butter and oven are hot, remove skillet or pan from oven, pour batter into it and smooth out top. Return pan to oven. Bake about 30 minutes, until top is lightly browned and sides have pulled away from pan; a toothpick inserted into center will come out clean. Serve hot or warm.
Polenta and Pinto Bean Pie
This is a staple recipe for me. It is fast and easy to prepare, which is key. It is also packed with good things like protein, fiber, and necessary minerals. Kids love it. I eat it year round, but it is particularly good as the temperatures drop and you’re looking for more hearty fare to warm your tummy.
1 (16-ounce) package precooked polenta
1 (16-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 (16-ounce) jar tomato salsa or picante sauce (mild, medium, or hot)
1-2 mild to medium Hatch Chiles, roasted, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup shredded soy (or regular) Cheddar cheese
½ cup crushed tortilla chips
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cut the polenta into 1/2-inch-thick slices and arrange in the bottom of a lightly oiled 9- or 10-inch square baking dish. Set aside. In a bowl, combine the pinto beans, salsa, chiles, and chili powder, and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper and spread over the polenta. Top with the shredded cheese and the tortilla chips. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 minutes more to lightly brown the top.
Southwestern Style Chimichurri Sauce
My husband used this sauce as a topping for grilled cod. He mixed up the concoction using roasted and peeled Hatch Chiles and then he layered it on top of the fish before putting it on a salt slab on the grill. When he bit into the cooked fish, his eyes lit up. “I think I’ve found a new favorite,” he said. Too bad Hatch Chiles aren’t available year round!
Sorry I didn’t get any photos of his triumph. It was gone before I knew it!
1 cup chopped Italian parsley
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano (or 2 teaspoons dried)
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons minced fresh chiles (mild and/or spicy)
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until well chopped, but not puréed. Use for basting and dipping with everything from beef to chicken to seafood steaks. Keeps in refrigerator up to 1 week.
Hubby layered this over his cod before putting it on a heated salt slab on the grill.
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How do you like your Hatch Chiles–mild, medium, hot or extra spicy?