Monday, August 13, 2012

HOW TO ROAST AND FREEZE HATCH CHILES PART 1

Hatch Green Chiles
OH, it's a glorious day down here as I just went to the store and got about 15 pounds of Hatch Chiles.  Above is just one batch of them (a Hatch batch?).

Grocery Store Hatch Chile Festival
Several grocery stores here have some sort of Hatch-Fest, or Hatch-a-palooza going on for a couple of weeks.  Whatever they call it, we are happy.  Hatch Chile peppers come from Hatch, New Mexico and areas around those parts. They are delicious.  While they do come in mild or hot, we buy mild, those are the more commonly used varieties in recipes.  They have a great flavor and are so versatile, they add a great flavor to all sorts of dishes, from appetizers to main dishes to desserts.  Yes, desserts...we have had Hatch chile brownies and Hatch chile ice cream!  We didn't make them but we might try this year!

I noticed in the photo above, there is no frame of reference as to their size.  Bell peppers?  Jalapenos?  No.  As you can see in the photo below, they can be huge!  Can you imagine seeing a bush full of these growing?  I bet it is an impressive sight to see in New Mexico.

Sadly, like a fleeting Summer love affair, they are gone as quickly as they arrive, only available for a small window of time each year.  Since their season is so short, in order to keep them around for use in recipes the rest of the year you must roast them and freeze them.  Roasting them brings out their flavor and then freezing them makes them last a bit longer. They can, of course, be roasted over an open flame on your gas stove top or outside on a grill, but there is another way that is more convenient.  In this first part, I'll go over how to get them easily roasted in your oven.

A huge Hatch green chile




The first step is to quickly rinse and dry them.  Then just lay them on a baking sheet, trying not to crowd them.  You want the heat to circulate around them.


Put them in your oven, on the top rack, under the broiler.  Use the highest setting.
Broil for about 8-10 minutes.





Remove them from the oven when they look like this, with brown and black charred spots on one side.  Don't worry, they aren't burned, you WANT this look!





Then, using tongs, flip them over so that the other "unroasted" sides are now facing up and place them back under the broiler for another 8-10 minutes.


They should look like the first roasting, brown and charred.  You can, if you have particularly large peppers, turn them on their sides and give them a few more minutes but I've found this to usually be plenty to get the desired results.  Overcooking can sometimes make them slightly mushy.
As soon as you get them to the right charred state, immediately pop them into a container.  Some people use a bowl and throw a towel over the top, or put them in a bowl covered with plastic wrap.  I like things easy, so I use a gallon Ziploc bag.  As you can see, they start steaming immediately.  That's an important part of the process.
TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW...

9 comments:

redhorse said...

In New Mexico and Arizona they have big drums of them roasting outside every grocery store. I love that smell.

2 Tramps said...

Okay, we have never done this... Would this method be good for other peppers? We have a good crop of Anaheims and Italian roasters coming on.

Annabanana said...

I just bought some and was telling my husband that he needed to fire up the grill. It's 110 outside, he was less than thrilled. I think he'll be happy with this, thank you.

Bee Girl said...

So glad you can enjoy a bit of Hatch in your neck of the woods! We usually buy 3 huge sacks, get it roasted in the big drums onsite and then bring it home and bag it up in quart sized bags for freezing. Can't live without the stuff, for real! 'Tis the season!

1st Man said...

Isn't the smell wonderful? Of course I like the smell of just about anything cooking, roasting, etc. I love the smell of fireplaces in the Winter. There is one store here that has a big roasting drum but I always seem to miss it, ha.

1st Man said...

Oh my gosh yes, I should have mentioned that. In fact, I think I've got some pics of some red pepper roasting, I'll see if I can find them. But yes, any peppers you want roasted. Larger (i.e. thicker such as "Bell") would need the broiler rack down one level.

1st Man said...

Yes, fire roasted is always going to be the most authentic, but doing it inside in the oven it great in hot weather (if you don't mind firing up the oven of course). Enjoy!!

1st Man said...

Ah, I'm jealous! People don't understand who haven't had it. Yum! THREE huge sacks? Sigh.... :-)

Patent Attorney said...

Yum, I've never tried roasted chillies before!