The Green Chile Ode
Okay, so poetry wasn't ever my favorite form of communication, but I can appreciate an inspirational form of expressing love and all other emotions. This little ode gives you a glimpse into my love affair with the Hatch Green Chile. I, too, like New Mexicans can't get enough. It's even something I sample in my own cooking from time to time. Beware of putting it in everything. It's definitely magic that only works in New Mexico.
Why Hatch Chiles? It's the chile you will most likely taste in every New Mexican cuisine. Hatch is a village south of Albuquerque where the largest chile production is grown and when they are in full chile season mode, you can smell the crisp scent of roasted chile in the air. They are touted to be the real deal. And yes, I agree a Hatch anywhere else simply isn’t a New Mexico Hatch.
There is a window to the art of the Hatch Chile growing process. It begins in August and continues through October. Those future red gems, if they make it to the ornamentation and adornment of the ristra misses the honor of going through 'the process.' Yes, there is a definite process to making this Green Chile sing in food. Chiles are fire-roasted, peeled, and chopped and turned into the coveted sauce used by most everyone in this region for cooking glory. It's the preferred way and it is amazing.
When in New Mexico, you experience this appreciation of chile up close and personal. Although dried red chiles are ripened to an almost wicked looking red and braided into ristras to hang from awnings, exterior and interior walls, and used in the most inspirational ways in the way of fashion...it's almost a call to the divine. It's easy to forget they were once green. They, too, are used in cuisines and taste just as good.
Which brings me to green chile, used in everything from toppings, garnishes to main ingredients in enchiladas to surprising ingredients in pies. Below is a cookbook with amazing Hatch Green Chile recipes which include favorites of mine I came home and experimented with. Also, you can see links to other favorites in the Recipes that Speak to me tab. I've even had a Green Chile Margherita. Oh, it's different, but it is really delicious.
The Hatch Green Chile is inspiring, beautiful, and weird all at the same time. Hey, that is not a bad thing. Weird is what sets the special things of this world apart-to making them almost immortal-classics. This is what sets New Mexico apart and drives a huge part of its identity and commerce.
There is something so perfect and honest about the homage this state gives its chile. It's not just an emblem they are recognized for, but they use this staple not only to give spice to their foods, but to commemorate a past, a present, and future that I rarely see across this nation. Like the Natives and many other global cultures, food is a propeller of spiritual things. It brings together family and friends, recipes shared and tweaked, and festivals are born. Leaving it out of normal everyday life is almost wasteful.
I can understand why. The time spent in harvesting this crop in some of the harshest and dry dessert-like terrains in the hottest part of the summer is I believe what gives it the magic of all its spicy deliciousness.
When proud of something you show it, you love on it, you cook with it, you bring it into your everyday lives. That's the Hatch Green Chile way.
HEB Central Market Hatch Chile Dark Chocolate
Gotta Love Some Chocolate
Dare you to try it....