Hatch peppers are the key ingredient needed to make authentic New Mexico green chili (chile verde), a hearty and spicy-hot stew with roots firmly planted in traditional Mexican cuisine. Made with pork or chicken and not as heavily seasoned as "red" chili (i.e., Texas style and other beef/bean chili), New Mexico green chili usually has no tomatoes--although some cooks do add tomatillos--and is made from a deceptively simple list of ingredients. The secret to its complex and yet comforting flavor is in the long, slow cooking, and in the unique flavor of the hatch peppers: Similar in size and shape to Anaheim peppers, Hatch chilies are paler in color, with a subtle tang and "fruity" brightness, and with heat ranging from mildly piquant to as hot as a hot jalapeno. When roasted, their flavor deepens and rounds out, with an earthy richness that's a natural with pork or chicken. Hatch peppers are excellent in many Mexican and Southwestern recipes including chile con queso and in verde sauces, stuffed as chile rellenos, roasted or used raw for salsa.
|New Mexico Hatch Peppers|
1 Tbs plus 1 Tbs vegetable or canola oil (not olive oil)
1/2 cup chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
2 Tbs flour (whole wheat will work)
4 large Hatch chili peppers (approx. 1/2 lb), diced (approx. 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp Mexican oregano or Marjoram (don't use Mediterranean oregano)
2 cups water
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
Optional garnishes: Lime wedges, thinly sliced radishes, chopped avocado, chopped fresh cilantro
|Simmering Chile Verde (Green Chili)|
Note: My late-season hatch peppers were definitely on the hot side, and my green chili turned out to be quite spicy. If, however, your Hatch chilies are too mild for your taste, you can bump up the heat by adding a few splashes of a jalapeno hot sauce like El Yucateco Jalapeno Hot Sauce or Blair's Heat Jalapeno Tequila Hot Sauce. Another excellent hot sauce choice, especially if you like tomatillos and cilantro, is Under the Influence Tomatillo Hot Sauce.