It’s Almost Time for Hatch!
It’s almost time! It’s almost time!
Every summer, I look forward to August. I don’t like summer in Texas; I’m not built for the heat. But there is a consolation. August brings Hatch chiles! If you’ve read my other posts (here, here, here, and here), you will know that I have a possibly unnatural affection for these lovely, yummy chiles. They spark my culinary creativity and let me play with my food. So I’ve jumped the gun a bit and come up with three more recipes for you to try, including a dessert! I hope you enjoy them.
A quick note: This is the 25th anniversary of the Central Market Hatch chile festival. Central Market was responsible for introducing Hatch chiles to Texas way back in 1995. This year’s festival runs from August 5 through August 25, so go and stock up!
Hatch Chile Calabacitas
Calabacitas (“little squash”) is a traditional side dish in New World Latino countries that combines summer squash or zucchini, onions, tomatoes, and corn. It’s an easy, healthy side dish for grilled meats or seafoods and is utterly delicious.
2 zucchini, yellow squash, or 1 each, diced
1 small onion, diced (I like a red onion in this, but you can use whatever you have!)
2 roasted Hatch chiles, peeled and chopped (you can use hot or mild or both)
1 fresh Hatch chile, stem removed and roughly chopped (I use hot for this)
2 Roma tomatoes, roasted in a 425° oven for about 15 minutes
2 to 4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
2 ears of corn, husked, de-silked, and kernels removed from cob
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon Mexican oregano (available in most supermarkets, can substitute regular oregano if need be)
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan or skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions and sauté for about 5 minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent. Add in the zucchini, cumin, Mexican oregano, salt, and pepper and sauté.
While the zucchini is sautéing, plop the roasted tomatoes, garlic, and fresh Hatch chile into a blender. Blend into a sauce, adding a bit of salt and pepper for seasoning. (Be careful when you blend hot items; the lid can explode off. Better to use a clean, folded kitchen towel as a lid.)
Add the now liquid tomato mixture to the zucchini and onions, along with the fresh corn kernels, and cook for about 2 to 3 more minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. If you like, you can top with some crumbled panela, queso fresco, or fresh goat cheese. Serves 4 to 5 as a side dish.
Hatch Chile Shakshuka
Shakshuka is a Middle Eastern dish of eggs poached in a tomato chile sauce. It’s a wonderful, spicy dish that’s great for any meal, especially when served with lots of warm pita or tortillas to mop up the sauce.
1 egg per person (this is a recipe for 4)
1 pound roasted Hatch chiles, peeled and seeded (I use a mix of hot and mild for this)
2 fresh hot Hatch chiles, seeded and roughly chopped
4 to 6 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 shallot, peeled and roughly chopped
4 fresh tomatillos, husked and roughly chopped
½ bunch cilantro, rinsed
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons Mexican oregano (see note in preceding recipe)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 375°.
In a food processor, combine all ingredients except eggs and pulse until the mixture is finely chopped. Pour the sauce into an oven-proof, 10-inch sauté pan or skillet set over medium-low heat. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until the sauce is warm. Using the back of a large spoon, make indentations in the sauce and crack an egg into the indentions. Season each egg with salt and pepper. Cover the pan with foil and place in the preheated oven. Bake for about 8 to 12 minutes, checking frequently after 8 minutes. You’re looking for the egg whites to be opaque and slightly set and the yolks to be jiggly. (The eggs will continue to cook after you remove the shakshuka from the oven.) Remove the pan from the oven and serve immediately.
Hatch Chile and Pineapple Pound Cake
Hatch chiles? In POUND CAKE? Yes! I love chiles and sweet things. The sweet and the heat play off each other so well.
2 whole pineapples, leaves and skin removed and cut into chunks
1 ¾ cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
3 large eggs (these are best if you let them come to room temperature)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup milk (you can use whole or 2% in this recipe)
3 to 4 roasted Hatch chiles, peeled, seeded, finely chopped, and dried in a kitchen towel or paper towels
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Place the pineapple chunks in a blender or food processor. Blend until very smooth. Strain the pineapple through a fine-mesh sieve, removing as much of the liquid as possible. (Don’t throw away the juice – it’s delicious!)
Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and set aside. In a large bowl using a hand mixer, or in the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides frequently! One at a time, beat in the eggs until combined. Add in the vanilla extract, half of the pineapple puree, half of the milk, half of the chiles, and half of the flour mixture and combine with the mixer on low speed. Add in the remaining pineapple, milk, chiles, and flour and continue to beat on low speed until the mixture is combined.
Pour the batter into a greased 9×5-inch loaf pan. Bake in the preheated oven for about 50 minutes, or until a knife or skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and cool on the rack for at least another 30 minutes. This is delicious served with vanilla ice cream!