My trip to the grocery store last week almost brought me to tears. An old friend caught my eye as I entered the store. The beautiful, glossy green pepper I look forward to every year was back. I knew that my weekend would revolve around roasting and enjoying these deliciously warm, smoky, and mildly hot Hatch chiles.
If you’re new to Hatch green chile peppers then let me introduce you. These beauties pack the most amazing flavor and you basically can’t enjoy Tex-Mex food without tasting them.
They’re one of a kind because of the special soil and perfect climate where they grow in New Mexico. The Hatch Valley is the only place that grows authentic “Hatch” chiles. One taste and you’ll see why they’re one of a kind!
If you’d like to learn to enjoy these New Mexican specialties you’ll want to first pay close attention while selecting the peppers.
- Bright green chiles are the very best. The brighter the better if you want them at their peak maturity.
- Lots of the peppers are going to have wonky shapes. Skip those. Try to find the peppers that are the most symmetrical because that is a good sign of quality.
- When handling the peppers make sure that your selection is firm and solidly built. You want it to definitely not be wimpy or limp. It should feel heavier than it looks.
- Definitely avoid Hatch chiles that are obviously blemished, bumpy, or wrinkled. The freshest peppers have smooth skin.
Now that you’ve found some good ones stick around the produce department a while longer. Since Hatch season is only late summer / early fall, stock up now.
You can freeze roasted chiles for up to a year (more on that below). If you don’t get enough to last, you’ll be back to the canned varieties. So get your truckload now and let’s go get the oven ready to roast!
(My grocery store has these for $.78/lb right now…lowest I’ve seen them!)
It’s easy to learn how to roast hatch chiles in the oven. I always consider grilling them but then the crazy heat drives me back inside.
How to Roast Hatch Chiles
- baking sheet
- aluminum foil
- clean kitchen towel
- 8 hatch green chiles
- Wash and pat dry the hatch green chiles.
- Move the oven rack to the highest position near the heat source.
- Heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cover baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Place chiles on sheet. If you have a lot, make sure they are positioned in a single layer.
- Place pan in the oven. Bake for 4 - 5 minutes or until skin is blistered and 75% blackened.
- After the first 5 minutes, remove the pan and use the tongs to turn the peppers.
- Return to the oven.
- Take the clean kitchen towel and get it moist. Try and wring out most of the water. Set aside.
- After 3 - 5 minutes the peppers will be completely roasted. Remember to take them out before they’re completely black.
- Use the tongs to move the chiles onto the prepared damp towel.
- Roll the peppers in the towel to allow them to steam. This will be very hot so be careful not to burn yourself and to keep out of reach of children.
- After 15 minutes, unwrap the chiles. This steaming will have loosened the skin.
- You can peel and discard the skin. Also remove the tops and stems.
- Now use the spoon to gently split open the chiles. Use the spoon to scoop out the seeds and discard them.
- Chop the green chiles flesh, and store to use for recipes. See note below about freezing.
A photo tutorial on how to roast green chiles
You’re peppers are ready to enjoy!
Directions for Freezing Hatch Chiles
- Dice the peppers and freeze them in ½ cup portions in a small plastic container or freezer baggies. This will give you just the amount you need for recipes that call for 4 oz. canned green chile peppers.
- Make sure to label the freezer bag and date it. The chiles will be good in the freezer for up to 12 months.
My Recipes that Use Green Chiles
- Green Chile Burgers
- Stuffed Green Chili Chicken
- Slow Cooker Homemade Refried Beans
- Any recipe that calls for ‘diced tomatoes with green chilies’ – use a 15 oz. can diced tomatoes plus 4 oz. (1/2 cup) of green chilies, such as…
- Slow Cooker Sausage and Peppers
- Sour Cream Enchiladas
Wonderful directions for roasting Hatch chilies. A couple of observations–protect your hands by wearing gloves because the juices can burn your hands. Keep hands away from eyes, nose, and mouth! Also, the green chili is not mature. The ripe (matured) chile is red. I live in northeastern California and have bought frozen Hatch chile from New Mexico for years (I am a New Mexican) and just learned that Raley’s in Reno has fresh Hatch chile. Reno is 90 miles from me, so guess a short road trip is in order. Every food tastes better with Hatch!!!! And I don’t get a kickback.
No need for the towel wrapping. Just toss the roasted chilies into a plastic grocery or trash bag and close the bag with a twist tie.
Because I also make recipes with whole chilies I don’t bother peeling them. Just lay six whole chilies in a quart freezer bag, force the air out and seal the bag then toss into the freezer unpeeled. Great on cheeseburgers or the centerpiece for a great omelet. Chilie rellenos are fabulous!
Jenn K says
Terry – we recommend towel wrapping so you aren’t leaching chemicals from the bags into your food since those plastic bags aren’t food grade plastic. Also, paper bags can break once the steam softens it, so towels are one of the safest and easiest ways to do it, in our opinion. 🙂
Jenn K says
One more quick thought – rolling and unrolling the peppers in a towel is much more gentle than removing them from a bag of any kind. They are more like to stay whole and intact with the rolling method, if that is important for a recipe.
Not everyone can buy Hatch Chiles where they live either. They just started making their appearance on a regular basis a few yrs ago in Oregon. And coming from New Mexico we were thrilled with that. I’m not sure you can get fresh Hatch east of the Mississippi though.
Cyd Miller says
The Fresh Market, a highish-end chain based in North Carolina, has fresh Hatch chilies in season. I’m in Florida & look forward to the season each year. Up until this year’s Covid restrictions, they actually had a roaster on site!
I think it’s probably safe to put hot chiles in a ziploc plastic bag. They most definitely are food safe.
Easier method. Throw them on the grill and then into BROWN PAPER shopping bags to steam. Peel off skin using plastic gloves. I leave them in tact umtil ready to use. Individually freeze 2-3 peppers in sandwich baggies so you only need to grab a few over the year.
I just bought Hatch chilli’s in TN. Kroger’s had them. Bought a big bag.
Doug Rapp says
Good recipe,great photos,make it easier for newbies to chile. I myself have always grilled them and tossed them into a big brown paper grocery bag to stea. Been known to drink beer during this festivity also. Never had a broken bag and have 3 to 5 lbs at a time on the grill. However you do it,roast them,works on anaheims also for those with a tender palate. I roast tomatoes,tomatillos,bell peppers and anything that don, tfall through the grill. Being in AZ the kitchen doesn’t need anymore heat. Nice job on your recipe.