The Hatch Chile Festival in Hatch, New Mexico is Aug. 31 and Sept. 1. If you can’t make it up to Hatch, have no worries… Porter’s on 2nd Street in Alpine will also be celebrating on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, starting at 10 a.m., with their 5th annual Hatch-Fest, selling freshly roasted Hatch chiles straight from New Mexico.
It’s always Hatch chile season in our house. Thanks to last year’s wonderful encounter with the Chile Man of Marfa, Mr. Mac White, our freezer is stocked with Hatch chiles that we watched him roast, just for us.
Forty pounds of chiles goes a long way for two people, but I might need to get in touch with Mr. White before this year’s supply is gone. It would be shameful to have to go without.
Hatch is located between Las Cruces and one of my favorite New Mexico towns, Truth or Consequences (the mineral baths in “T or C” are some of my favorite places to soak). Hatch is known for producing some of the finest green and red chile peppers available.
The Hatch Valley also grows bountiful crops of onions, pecans, alfalfa, lettuce, cabbage, sweet potatoes, wheat, cotton and “experimental” crops. The New Mexico Chile Pepper is the state’s vegetable, and there are many varieties of peppers grown in New Mexico. Only peppers grown in the Hatch Valley are true Hatch chiles. They come in mild, medium and hot so you can pick your peppers’ heat.
Once, my husband and I were traveling through New Mexico and bought a bag of dried Extra Hot chiles. He made a wonderful, bright red sauce and drenched our tortillas for stacked enchiladas with it. It was so hot that neither I or our teenage daughters could eat it… and I’d never seen my husband sweat so much at the dinner table. But, he cleaned his plate. Extra Hot is not a misnomer. Last year, we got the Mild chiles from Mac White in Marfa, and they were perfect.
I make my own green and red chile sauces. No more canned or jarred red or green sauce for us, it’s homemade or not at all. I keep a supply of dried red Hatch chiles that I clean, reconstitute, cook and create an authentic sauce for enchiladas at home, and the fresh Hatch chiles in the freezer are always ready to be used. I know they’re going to be good if they make me sneeze while prepping and cooking them.
Did you know that just one fresh medium-sized green chile has as much Vitamin C as six oranges? And that one little teaspoon of dried chile powder has your daily requirements of Vitamin A?
Hot chile peppers burn calories by triggering a response in the body, which speeds up metabolism. Does that mean that enchiladas are a diet food? Wouldn’t that be wonderful?
Capsaicinoids, the chemical that make chile peppers hot, are used in muscle pain relieving creams patches.
Peppers are related to tomatoes and potatoes and are in the nightshade family. Nightshades cause some folks with digestive sensitivity and other health issues problems, so please eat peppers at your own risk. And stock up on them while you can.
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Hatch Green Chile Sauce
(Add the flavor of New Mexico to your meals with this green chile sauce – it’s my favorite sauce for chicken enchiladas)
2 tablespoons light flavored olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
4 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 packed cups of green chile, roasted, peeled, seeds removed and finely diced (about 1-1/2 pounds roasted chiles)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (make it gluten-free with brown rice flour)
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
2 cups water
In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil and add onions and garlic, stirring often and cooking until onions are soft. Add flour and seasonings and stir to coat the onions. Add one cup of water to the mixture in the pan, and stir to dissolve the flour. Add green chiles and the remaining water. Bring to a boil, reduce to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Keep refrigerated. Best used within 3-4 days, but can be frozen. This recipe makes just under five cups of sauce.