The Hatch Green Chile: It’s As Cool As It Sounds
If you’ve been to a grocery store in the Southwest recently, you’re sure to have seen an advertisement or two (or four or five) for the “Hatch Green Chile.” In fact, you might not even need to be in the Southwest to find these precious, spicy jewels. The New Mexican Hatch Green Chile is legendary in our region, enough so that the rest of the country is clamoring for it.
Much like imported products like Champagne, Gruyere cheese, and Kobe beef, the Hatch Green Chile is named after and noted for the properties granted to it by the region in which it is raised. A strain of pepper cultivated over many years by horticulturists known as the “Rio Grande” was preferred and adopted by the farmers living in and around the small town of Hatch, New Mexico. Since then, New Mexico (Hatch, specifically) became globally-known as the ultimate source for green chiles.
Products like the aforementioned imported foods are named after their region of origin because of particular qualities imbued by the conditions of the area. In the case of the Hatch Chile, experts tell us the particular soil conditions of the Hatch region, combined with a specific climate and the generations-old growing experience of the farmers in the area make for a superior green chile. Hatch green chiles are known for their complex flavor and a unique meatiness when roasted. True Hatch aficionados warn the public against impostor chiles and urge consumers to ask on which Hatch-based farm their chiles were raised to ensure authenticity.
A Local Phenomenon and an Economic Essential
In addition to the exceptional flavor, Hatch Green Chiles possess a rich history of tradition and pride. The small town of Hatch hosts their annual Chile Festival each year in September, bringing in around 30,000 chile-loving attendees. This festival is an engaging, fun-filled event complete with the bright colors of the season, mouth-watering samples, and the ever-present aroma of chiles roasting in their traditional cylindrical roasters.
The Hatch Chile, in addition to many other varieties of green chile, represents an integral cornerstone of New Mexico’s economy. This powerful pepper packs a one-two punch of tradition and economic growth, and we’re proud to be a part of its legacy.
Green chiles are perfect for far more than simple salsa… although they are delicious that way, of course! The substantial meatiness of this chile combined with its sophisticated flavor make it an extremely versatile addition to your meals.
If you’re simply looking for added flavor, the Hatch Green Chile is a fantastic way to add a punch of mid-level spiciness to any dish. Try stirring it into stew for added warmth, or even pesto to incorporate a Southwestern kick to an Italian classic.
We, of course, love the Hatch chile enough to make it the star of the show. One of our favorite ways to enjoy our favorite pepper is by making Chiles Rellenos. By stuffing the chiles with cheese, breading them, and deep-frying them to golden perfection, you can elevate your meal to a truly memorable level.
So the next time you walk by that flyer advertising Hatch Green Chiles, we encourage you to grab a bag and try something new. You won’t be disappointed!