Fire Up with Hatch Chile
Hatch, New Mexico
Hatch chiles are the star of many dishes in the cuisine of New Mexico. Green chile pork and chicken are so versatile, the robust recipes may be incorporated in stews, burritos, layer dips, enchiladas, breakfast dishes and much more. There will be more to come in our Hatch Chile recipe voyage, but let’s start with a basic side dish using fresh chiles: Hatch Chile Refried Beans.
MAPPING THE DAY
Some foods simply can’t be duplicated outside the place of origin. Is it the moist, salty air in San Francisco that produces the best sourdough? Is it the water in New Orleans that results in the best Leidenheimer French bread for Po Boys? Is it the climate in Parma, Italy that produces the world’s best Parmesan and prosciutto? How about the rich volcanic soil of Mt. Vesuvius that feeds the tomatoes dubbed San Marzano?
Once you taste the best, you always long to go back to have it again. And some wonderful products are successfully distributed beyond the local market.
Our RoadTrip to New Mexico in June 2012 was highlighted by the discovery of robust Hatch Chiles. Real Hatch Chiles only come from the Mesilla Valley of New Mexico and are harvested in a short window of time in August and September. Is it the fertile soil of the valley, the water of the Rio Grande, the hot days and cool nights that make Hatch Chiles the best? Absolutely.
We are fortunate to have a local produce wholesaler, Melissa’s Produce of Vernon, dedicated to distributing the prized crop. Since the Hatch Chile harvest season is so short, the chiles are traditionally fire-roasted and then frozen for use throughout the year. And, Melissa’s is committed to fire-roasting the fresh chiles at locations all over Southern California and other areas of the U.S. for eager customers.
VIEW FROM THE TABLE
The Hatch Chile roasting event in Newport Beach last weekend lured us to taste the seductive flavor of the New Mexico chiles again.
We met with the great people from Melissa’s Produce. (A special shout out goes to Oscar who could not have been more friendly and enthusiastic about Hatch chiles.) We bought about 4 pounds of mild and hot fire-roasted chiles and about 1/2 lb. of fresh ones. We have been experimenting with them every day since, so look forward to some amazing Hatch Chile recipes coming your way. Today we start with a dish that can be a side or a base ingredient in other dishes: Hatch Chile Refried Beans. And yes, we use lard!
P.S. We are going to another Melissa’s roasting event this coming Saturday to buy a whole case of fire-roasted Hatch Chiles. See you at Bristol Farms in Newport Beach on Saturday!
HATCH CHILE REFRIED BEANSRECIPE