The 38th Annual Hatch Chile Festival was held Labor Day Weekend, in Hatch, N.M, the self-proclaimed "Chile Capital of the World." Not actually a variety of its own, the world-famous "Hatch" chile is a the tag given to a number of chiles grown in the rich Rio Grande region of New Mexico, with names like "Big Jim" (medium hot) and "Barker" (extra hot), among others. The season is short for Hatch chiles, now through about mid-October, so if you're contemplating a purchase, now's the time to make your plans. A press release just received on behalf of the Greensboro, N.C.-based The Fresh Market stores states that during Saturdays in September, The Fresh Market stores across the country will be hosting their own kind of Hatch Chile Fest by roasting fresh New Mexico Hatch chiles. (Stores' schedules vary so be sure to check the company's web site for each location's dates and times, at www.thefreshmarket.com, where you'll also find chile roasting and handling tips, recipes, and more.) For folks who prefer using recipe-ready chiles, The Fresh Market stores also carries Hatch canned chiles, along with several other Hatch chile products.
One 27-ounce can of Hatch Whole Green Chiles contained about 18 waste-free, mild fire-roasted chiles, more than enough to make a large casserole to feed six to eight people. Fresh Hatch chile season is here, but not for long. Seek them out, take them home and
Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 (27-ounce) can mild Hatch Whole Green Chiles, drained
4 cups (16-ounces) finely shredded Colby & Monterey Jack cheese
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 (5-ounce) can evaporated milk
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce, or equal amount of enchilada sauce
Non-stick cooking spray, for greasing pan
Optional for garnish: sour cream, minced fresh cilantro
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a round 2-quart baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Open chiles so they lay flat. Using half of the chiles, spread them evenly onto the bottom of the baking dish. Sprinkle chiles with half of the cheese, then cover cheese with remaining chiles. In a bowl, whisk the eggs with flour until a smooth paste forms, slowly whisk the milks into the flour mixture, whisking until mixture is smooth and no lumps remain; pour mixture over the top of the chiles. Bake for 25 minutes or until top looks set. Remove casserole from oven and pour tomato sauce over the top, spreading sauce lightly with the back of a spoon. Return casserole to the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Carefully remove casserole from oven and sprinkle with remaining cheese; return to oven until cheese melts and turns a light golden brown. Remove casserole from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before cutting into wedges. Garnish with sour cream and minced cilantro, if desired.
Makes 8 servings.
Recipe courtesy Tracey Nadeau, Bluffton, S.C.
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups granulated sugar, plus more for making cookies
2 large eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups Dutch-process cocoa
2-ounce bar dark chocolate infused with chile peppers, melted in a double boiler
Lightly grease cookie sheets. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl, cream butter, spices, sugar, and melted chocolate. Add eggs one at a time until mixed well. Add vanilla. Sift flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture, 1/2 cup at a time until well mixed. Chill dough for about an hour, then roll into balls and flatten with a sugared glass.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until edges are brown. Yield: about 70 cookies.
Adapted from a recipe by Hatch Chile Company, www.hatchmexicanfood.com
1 (27-ounce ) can mild Hatch Whole Green Chiles, drained
2 (14-ounce cans) Hatch enchilada sauce, green or red
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
3 cups shredded cooked chicken
2 cups (8-ounces) finely shredded Colby & Monterey Jack Cheese
8 large flour tortillas
Olive oil, for oiling baking dish and brushing tortillas
Optional for garnish: sour cream, chopped black olives, minced cilantro
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spoon a thin layer of enchilada sauce on the bottom of a lightly oiled 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Lay 4 tortillas on the bottom of the dish. (It's OK if the tortillas overlap each other.) Lightly brush enchiladas with olive oil. Layer chiles evenly over the tortillas. Spoon the tomatoes over the chiles. Top the tomatoes with the chicken. Spoon another layer of enchilada sauce evenly over the chicken. Sprinkle 1 cup of the cheese evenly over the chicken. Cover the top of the casserole the remaining tortillas. Brush tops of tortillas lightly with oil, then spoon some more of the sauce over the tortillas. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until bubbly. Carefully remove casserole from oven and top with remaining cup of cheese. Return casserole to oven and bake 8 minutes more, or until cheese melts and top is golden brown. Allow casserole to set for 10 minutes before cutting into squares for serving. Garnish with sour cream, chopped black olives, and minced cilantro, if desired. Makes 8 servings.
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