Get 1 Year of Cigar Aficionado for Just $24.95 + A Free Gift!

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
Milwaukee Bucks Celebrate NBA Finals Victory With Cigars

Milwaukee Bucks Celebrate NBA Finals Victory With Cigars

The team smoked up some Cuban Romeo y Julietas while spraying champagne in the locker room.

Jul 22, 2021
Driving The McLaren 620R

Driving The McLaren 620R

The new McLaren 620R is the first car in its class to offer true motorsports credentials in a fully …

Jun 4, 2021
Cigar Aficionado’s 2021 Father’s Day Gift Guide

Cigar Aficionado’s 2021 Father’s Day Gift Guide

Say “Happy Father’s Day” with one of these gifts.

Jun 3, 2021
S.T. Dupont Line D Fire-head Guilloche Pens

S.T. Dupont Line D Fire-head Guilloche Pens

Firing up S.T. Dupont’s new luxe pens.

May 11, 2021
On Sale Now: Tickets To Big Smoke Meets WhiskyFest

On Sale Now: Tickets To Big Smoke Meets WhiskyFest

The day has come to get your tickets to the inaugural Big Smoke Meets WhiskyFest.

Apr 13, 2021
Macanudo Sponsoring Barstool Sports Golf Tournament

Macanudo Sponsoring Barstool Sports Golf Tournament

General Cigar Co. is sponsoring all 26 Barstool Sports events across the country.

Mar 30, 2021