Hatch Chile
Photo/iStock Photo/Getty Images

Wait until you smell a tumbler of roasting Hatch chiles. You’ll want to follow your nose, but be quick about it. The Hatch chile of New Mexico is a delicacy that is generally available fresh only during August and September. The rest of the year, the chiles—whole, chopped or sauce—only come jarred or canned. The peppers are also geographically exclusive, being grown in and named for the Hatch Valley region that stretches along the banks of a curving Rio Grande in eastern New Mexico about 80 miles north of El Paso, Texas. While 37 varieties exist, to be considered authentic they must be grown in the Hatch region.

What distinguishes the nine-inch-long-by-two-inch-diameter chile is not heat. They register 1,000 to 1,800 on the Scoville pungency scale (between a third of and equal the heat of a jalapeño). What makes the Hatch special is its sweetness. Eaten raw, any heat the green Hatch delivers comes at the beginning. The overarching flavor is rather earthy and is similar to the more common Anaheim pepper. Hatch aromas can include onion and garlic.

What you really want to do is roast them. During the season, you’ll see hundreds of Hatch chiles being put into roasting tumblers over an open flame. (Achieve that at home on your stove over an open flame.) Roasting chars much of the pepper’s skin and brings out the richer, smoky, even buttery flavors. Let the young, green Hatch chile age to a ripe, red color and it will become more mellow and the heat will bloom at the end of your tasting.

Among the best ways to eat a Hatch chile is to take a roasted piece and put it on a burger. Or in pork chile verde. Or in an enchilada. Or in shakshuka with eggs. Or cornbread. In fact, the list of good ways to eat Hatch chile may outlast the season.

Gourmet

More in The Good Life

See all
Cigar Aficionado’s 2022 Father’s Day Gift Guide

Cigar Aficionado’s 2022 Father’s Day Gift Guide

Need ideas for the perfect present this Father's Day? Here's a unique compilation of distinct gifts …

Jun 3, 2022
The Cigar Of The Year Meets The Whisky of the Year

The Cigar Of The Year Meets The Whisky of the Year

The best Cigar of the Year and the most exciting Whisky of the Year will be paired together at the …

May 12, 2022
Cigars for Warriors Celebrates 10 Years

Cigars for Warriors Celebrates 10 Years

Cigars for Warriors (CFW), a nonprofit that ships cigars directly to U.S. troops deployed across the …

Apr 20, 2022
Grant’s Revolvers And More Civil War Items At Auction

Grant’s Revolvers And More Civil War Items At Auction

On May 13, Rock Island Auction Co. is putting up several items of Civil War history on the block, …

Apr 15, 2022
An American Dream

An American Dream

Inna Tuler was broke when she fled war-torn Israel in 1991. Today, she’s the head of a California …

Mar 30, 2022
Sweepstakes Winners Get Their Prize: Full Boxes Of The Cigar Of The Year

Sweepstakes Winners Get Their Prize: Full Boxes Of The Cigar Of The Year

Our annual sweepstakes has ended and three lucky smokers have each won a box of Padrón 1964 Anniversa…

Mar 25, 2022
z