This post has kindly been sponsored by The Hatch Chile Store. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Have you recently been introduced to Hatch Green Chile peppers? Whether they are new to you or you’ve been eating them since you were a baby, their popularity is soaring throughout the U.S. and abroad. Thanks to my ongoing partnership with The Hatch Chile Store, and living in New Mexico for 30+ years, I have learned TONS about these amazing chile peppers and I want to answer ALL your questions in this article; including how/where to purchase them, how to roast/prepare them for eating, plus storing them, and recipe ideas.
Are Green Chiles the same as Hatch?
Hatch chile peppers are peppers that are grown exclusively in the Hatch Valley of Southern New Mexico. The region produces particularly tasty chile peppers that can’t be replicated anywhere else. Many varieties are grown in this special location ranging from mild to extra hot and red or green. Peppers grown outside of the valley legally can not be labeled as “Hatch Chile”, just “green chile”.
I can clearly taste the difference between a chile grown in the Hatch Valley, and one grown elsewhere. In fact, the popular “Anaheim” green chile peppers that you can find in most produce sections at the store were created by some Hatch chile seeds that were taken from the Hatch valley and grown in southern California. Anaheim chiles look very similar to Hatch chiles, but they taste different. They also have thinner ” flesh” inside than true Hatch chiles do.
Do you have to Roast Green chiles?
Yes. Most of the green chile that you eat is ROASTED first because green chile has a very tough outer peel that is difficult to chew. Roasting is highly recommended for this reason, and also adds a smoky flavor to the chiles that complements their unique flavor very well. Roasting the chile peppers over extremely high heat chars the skins off without burning the flesh underneath, so the peels can be removed easily and the flesh of the pepper can be eaten.
I recently received a large 25 lbs. box of fresh Hatch Green Chiles shipped to me from The Hatch Chile Store. Green Chile is quite prevalent in New Mexico, but how do you get delicious REAL Hatch chile if you live out of state???
Thanks to The Hatch Chile Store, which specializes in shipping chile products all over the U.S., you can live anywhere and still get fresh green chile shipped right to your doorstep! It’s simply fabulous! I was able to roast and process my own authentic Hatch chiles in the comfort of my own home (which happens to be Idaho currently).
It’s tradition to gather family and friends together to roast and process green chile in bulk. This way everyone has green chile to last through the year until harvest time arrives once more.
The 6 Steps to Roasting Green Chile and Processing For Storage
- Purchase fresh chile online through The Hatch Chile Store or at your local grocer.
- Roast quickly with very high heat ~500o F, using a charcoal grill, gas grill, oven broiler, or barrel roaster, until chile pepper peels are charred and very dark all over.
- Cool in an ice bath, then remove peels while wearing gloves.
- Remove stems, and chop if desired (I chop some, and leave some whole for Chile Rellenos).
- Seal smaller portions (8 to 16 ounces) in freezer bags, removing as much excess air as possible.
- Place in the freezer to keep for up to 1 year. Once thawed, chile can be kept refrigerated for 3 days. Do not refreeze.
How long do you roast Hatch chiles?
If you are able to roast chiles at the proper temperature, around 500-550 degrees F, they will char very quickly, within about 2-4 minutes if laid out in a single layer on a charcoal grill (turning often), or under an oven broiler. Gas grills take longer, about 7-10 minutes. If you are roasting a large quantity in a barrel roaster, it will take about 5-7 minutes.
It is essential to roast fresh green chiles over extremely high heat. This will quickly char the skin without charring the flesh underneath.
For my most recent batch of chile peppers, I tried using a pellet smoker that happened to have a char broil function so I could place my Hatch chiles directly over the flames. This worked beautifully, quickly charring the tough skins! However, I was only able to roast about 4 chiles at a time, which really slowed the whole process.
Charcoal grills are actually the best for grilling green chile at home. You can get them extremely hot and use the entire surface grate to roast a lot of chile at one time. Please wear oven mitts and use tongs when roasting chile!
How to roast Hatch Chile in the Oven?
If you don’t have an outdoor grill, you can roast Hatch green chile in the oven using your oven’s broiler feature. Place your fresh chile peppers in a single layer on a baking sheet or broiler pan and place them extremely close to the broiler element, about 2 inches away. Using tongs, turn the chiles often until they are charred over most of the surface. Roasting chiles with a broiler usually takes about 3-5 minutes per single-layer batch.
I didn’t have time to roast my entire box using my friend’s special grill. So I took the rest home and roasted them with my broiler. This worked but was definitely less-effective. It took longer and I found that the chile flesh was burned in some places. But it mostly turned out fine and I finished roasting my 25 lbs. box of fresh authentic Hatch chile!
My Hack for Easy-Peel Roasted Hatch Green Chile
I recently had my eyes opened to the fact that I’ve been peeling green chile the hard way my whole life. I am not yelling, just strongly emphasizing how important this is. DO NOT STEAM FRESHLY ROASTED CHILES. Take them straight off the grill/roaster and put them in an ice bath. Let them sit in the freezing water for a few minutes to cool, then just wipe the skins right off! This worked soooooo much better than steaming for me.
If you are barrel roasting your chile in bulk– bring a couple of large coolers filled with ice water and ask the roaster to dump your chile directly from the barrel roaster into your ice-bath-filled coolers. FYI- did you know it’s customary to tip the barrel roasters? It’s a very nice thing to do :0)
Before you yell HERATIC at me for straying from the steaingm tradition, hear me out. We’ve all been taught to steam freshly roasted chile thinking that the steam helps to release the skins from the flesh. This kind of works, BUT, shocking the chiles with ice water is much much better for two reasons:
After removing the peels from the chile I bagged most of the chile whole in quart-sized freezer bags. If I need to, I’ll remove the stems and chop when I need to use the chile. For the rest of the chile, I removed the stems and threw the chiles in a food processor. I pulsed the chile a few times until I got that great chunky chopped consistency. Chopping by hand is soooooooooo slow. Seriously. Use a food processor. You’ll thank me.
How long does Hatch Chile Last?
Hatch chiles last for about 6-7 days after being picked right off the plant. That is why we pick and ship our Fresh Hatch Green Chile every Tuesday, This way our customers can receive the chile and roast it over the weekend when the chile is at peak freshness. Once roasted and frozen Hatch Chiles last at peak freshness for about a year. After a year the peppers are still safe to eat but the flavor is not quite as strong.Diana Cook COO, The Hatch Chile Store
Are Hatch Green Chile Peppers Hot?
Authentic Hatch green chile peppers are grown in mild, medium, hot and extra hot varieties. If the hotness level is not advertised or indicated, ask the grocer or produce clerk what hotness level the chiles are. Since everyone’s tolerance for capsaicin (the chemical that gives chiles their “hotness”) is different, ask how the chiles compare to a jalapeno, a benchmark that most people have experienced.
Is Hatch Green Chile good for you?
Yes, Hatch Green Chile is very good for you. One green chile contains 5-6 times as much vitamin C as an orange, also contains vitamins A, B, K and E, Iron, Potassium, and is high in Beta-Carotene (an anti-oxidant). Green chile is calorie free and helps block the absorption of cholesterol.
Capsaicin (the chile’s “hotness”) helps support the metabolism and actually releases a small amount of endorphins when consumed. This is why people enjoy eating spicy foods, and can build up a tolerance to capsaicin over time. Green chiles are a superfood!
Did you know I have a full-color cookbook with lots more easy and delicious New Mexican recipes? You can learn more about it here!
Hatch Green Chile Recipes
I will be using my Hatch green chile to make lots of recipes from my signature hit cookbook New Mexican Food Made Easy, like Green Chile Sauce, Green Chile Chicken stew, and Green Chile Enchiladas. The cookbook is currently for sale on Amazon and in select bookstores in Albuququerque!
Looking for more fantastic green chile recipes? Check out the gallery below!